Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Celebrate IDSL !

Hello. AFA wishes to make a special announcement to all. One of AFA’s values is to cherish Deaf people and our language—ASL—which shows we are truly ‘People of the Eye.’

We are thrilled to notify everyone about an important event next month, in September. It is the IDSL celebration!

A French Deaf man named Bruno (opps!) Moncelle invented the idea that Deaf people from all over the world should come together celebrate sign language—IDSL, International Day of Sign Languages. Over the years, folks in Europe have gathered together on the International Day of Sign Languages, holding rallies and marches. This celebration has only recently made its way to America. Over these past few years, there have been IDSL celebrations in a number of places in America: California, Rochester, NY, and Michigan. People who have joined these celebrations have been Deaf, hearing, hearing parents of Deaf children, teachers and a diversity of people have gathered to collectively celebrate: our precious sign language, our history, the literary arts inspired by our language (poetry, storytelling, ABC stories, folklore, humor, jokes, plays, etc.).

Really ASL is awe-inspiring and beautiful! These feelings of appreciation for our language need to be spread throughout the land. We will not let these feelings die away.

We encourage you in your communities to take up a local celebration of some kind—big or small—on September 26th the last Saturday of September. One suggestion of how to celebrate: Friday night organize a ‘Blue Ribbon Ceremony” (see information about this ceremony in the back of Paddy Ladd’s Understanding Deaf Culture book or see http://www.joeybaer.com/?p=142). The purpose of the Blue Ribbon Ceremony is to praise Deaf people of the past who have struggled through the dark ages of oralism, a rejection of sign language, and the oppression caused by audism. The Blue Ribbon Ceremony can end with an evening candlelight vigil to remember these dark times. As the day dawns on Saturday, it is time to celebrate the light and the warmth that ASL/the sign languages of other countries and the freedom to sign has brought into our lives---spreading festive feelings in our own communities, our country, and throughout the Deaf World. Saturday, September 26th you are encouraged to take up an event, which will serve to continue the growth of this tradition of celebration.

Next year, the year 2010 we can dream --of a huge march blocks long, with an enormous group of people--held on International Day of Sign Languages. Hearing people will take notice and recognize Deaf people on Earth as their equals—humans with their own unique language---sign!

AFA wishes to thank the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) for promoting the vision and idea of IDSL. AFA values all People of the Eye.