IM this article to a friend!

September 20, 2004

Deaf Heritage Week kicks off

From: The East Carolinian - Sep 20, 2004

Spreading awareness to ECU

JoAnna Waldhour, Staff Writer
September 21, 2004

Pat Dunn, a council member for Deaf Heritage Week, declared the start of Deaf Heritage Week at the Colonial Mall in Greenville on Sunday, Sept. 19. The presentation by Dunn was followed by an opening celebration of entertainment and socialization. Deaf Heritage Week will last all week, ending on Saturday, Sept. 25.

"Deaf Heritage Week is a good awareness event to help fellow students and teachers of ECU to learn how to communicate and feel comfortable about their deaf classmates," said Misti Shaub, a deaf student that attends ECU.

Deaf Heritage Week, an event that is held every year, is celebrated by many people who are deaf and by various people who are interested in learning more about the deaf.

"It is celebrated during the last full week of September. The timing is significant in that it coincides with the first World Congress of the Deaf which was held in 1951 in Rome, Italy," said Liz S. Johnston, director of Disability Support Service.

The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) was established at the first World Congress of the Deaf. WFD works hard with determination to promote the human and social rights of Deaf people everywhere.

According to WFD, "WFD is dedicated to achieving equal opportunities, better education for people who are deaf, strengthening and improving the access of information to people who are deaf, improving the status of the varied sign languages from different countries and focusing on the human rights and equal opportunities for deaf people in third world countries."

WFD holds a World Congress every four years. More than 3,000 deaf and hard of hearing attend the World Congress from all over the world.

Debates, sharing information of education, human rights, culture, health and discussing educational opportunities for the deaf people living in developing countries are all presented at the World Congress.

During the week of Sept. 19 - 25, the organizers of Deaf Heritage Week in Greenville hope to spread the awareness to anyone that is interested in deaf culture and the significant accomplishments of deaf people, and to explain the varied and unique languages and communication methods used by people who are deaf.

"I hope to learn more about signing and cochlear implants during this week's events. I think it is good for people who can hear to have the exposure of Deaf Heritage Week. The more hearing people learn about deafness, the more deaf people and hearing people will be able to communicate effectively and work together," said Alison Williams, a hearing ECU student

This event will be the third year that ECU has celebrated Deaf Heritage Week. Vocational Rehabilitation, the Wilson Regional Resource Center and ECU have collaborated together in order to bring Deaf Heritage Week to the people of Greenville so they can be exposed to deaf issues and people that are deaf.

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, from noon to 2 p.m., students can go to Wright Plaza to discover information about Deaf culture. Throughout the week, in conjunction with the World Peace Week events at ECU, students will be exposed to sign language interpreters and cued speech translators, which are provided for all the World Peace Week events.

Finally, on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 2 p.m., there is a football game between Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf (ENCSD) and South Carolina School for the Deaf. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the "Deaf Apollo" talent show held after the game.

This writer can be contacted at

© 2004 The East Carolinian