Deaf History Month takes place annually from March 13th to April 15th. Deaf History Month is a chance for communities and employers to come together to improve their understanding and support the deaf community.
The history of Deaf History Month
Originating in March 1996, when two deaf employees of Washington DC's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library taught sign language to their colleagues, the library recognized the positive impact of this gesture and decided to create a week of events celebrating deaf culture.
This annual event quickly grew in popularity and has evolved to a monthly holiday that is now celebrated across the country.
Deaf History Month can be attributed to three major dates:
- March 13th: The Deaf President Now protest movement succeeds in March 1988. Irvin King Jordan becomes the first deaf president of Gallaudet University.
- April 8th: President Lincoln signed the charter in 1864 establishing a college for the deaf. This event is known as Gallaudet Charter Day and is marked with a luncheon and awards program at Gallaudet University.
- April 15th: American School for the Deaf, the first public school for deaf students, opened on this date in 1817.
The month marks a celebration that continues to support a more inclusive mindset in all areas of society for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
How can businesses get involved?
- Reach out to your local library. During this month, libraries across the United States host events to raise awareness around deaf and hearing loss.
- Create an Employee Resource Group for the deaf or disability community.
- Get creative! Emails, newsletters, social media channels, infographics with facts and figures etc. can be used to share more information.
- Connect with your disability partner. Contact your Getting Hired Account Manager to learn more on how your company can get involved.
- Reach out to Gallaudet University to learn more about the University’s history and if you’re in the area, schedule a tour of the museum and campus.
“I really appreciate our partnership with Getting Hired as they’re assisting our students with finding employment with their employer partners” – Karen Cook, Director of the Career Center at Gallaudet University.
Organizations hoping to better engage with individuals with disabilities across the country should contact our team and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date with what’s trending in the disability space.