September 2021: Deaf Awareness Month

WHEREAS, the deaf population includes a wide range of individuals, from those who were born profoundly deaf and use American Sign Language (ASL) as a primary means of communication, to those with a degree of hearing loss who use hearing aids or other forms of amplifications and communication modes; and,


WHEREAS, according to the Michigan Division on Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing, at least 7.4%of the Michigan population identify as Deaf, DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing; and,


WHEREAS, the state of Michigan benefits from the many contributions of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing residents throughout the state; and,


WHEREAS, all of Michigan is enriched by the diverse and unique heritage, language and culture of the Deaf community; and,


WHEREAS, people who identify as Deaf belong to a cultural and linguistic community with shared language, social norms, rules of behavior, and history; and


WHEREAS, it is important to ensure that Michigan's Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing individuals have equal access to the many benefits and opportunities available to hearing individuals to live, work, play and communicate in Michigan; and,


WHEREAS, to commemorate the first Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, which was held in September of 1951, the state of Michigan recognizes the entire month of September as Deaf Awareness Month; and


WHEREAS, the purpose of Deaf Awareness Month is to increase public awareness of the issues and the culture of people who are Deaf; this is an opportunity to promote equal access to information and services for Deaf individuals and to educate the public about the misconceptions of being Deaf; it is also an opportunity to learn about the types of educational programs, support services, and resources available to Deaf people as well as to individuals who are DeafBlind or Hard of Hearing; and


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim September 2021 as Deaf Awareness Month in Michigan and commend its observance to all citizens.