Friday, September 28, 2012

Promote Sign Bilingualism During International Week of the Deaf

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) celebrates International Week of the Deaf (IWD) of the deaf this week from September 24-30, an event observed by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international organization composed of 130 national associations of the deaf. The WFD has designated “Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right,” as the theme for this year’s IWD. IWD is celebrated annually during the last full week of September.
WFD international week of the deaf logo
“The WFD theme of ‘Sign Bilingualism is a Human Right’ represents a basic concept of linguistic access for deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide. This right is absolutely necessary to ensure their empowerment and self-determination. The NAD supports this year’s International Week of the Deaf theme and asks everyone to join in celebrating IWD across the country,” said NAD President Christopher Wagner. “The NAD thanks all organizations and individuals who have taken the time to recognize and celebrate IWD (also known as Deaf Awareness Week), including state associations of the deaf and community organizations across the nation.”

In the United States, the NAD is committed to ensuring that sign language is a human right.  The NAD and numerous other organizations, including the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) have advocated for the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (“CRPD”). The CPRD recognizes sign language as a linguistic right of the deaf and hard of hearing community and the cultural values of this community,  as well as the importance of complete visual access to information. The United States has signed but has not yet ratified the CRPD, which is awaiting a vote in the Senate. If you haven’t taken action, please take action now at:

The International Committee, one of seven committees overseen by the NAD Public Policy Committee, put together a guideline and information on how to best promote IWD and help individuals and organizations across the USA develop ways to celebrate this important week of recognition and pride. Please review this guideline and celebrate deaf culture and heritage, as well as the many sign languages of the world including American Sign Language at: