Every last full week of September, Deaf Awareness Week is observed. A nationally recognized week, we celebrate and focus on how to promote the positive aspects of deafness. This week is about encouraging social inclusion, and raising awareness of human rights, sign language, and the organizations that support those who are deaf.
International Week of the Deaf is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WDF) and was first launched in 1958 in Rome, Italy. It is celebrated each year by the global Deaf Community on the last week of September to commemorate the same month the first World Congress of the WFD was held. Respective Deaf Communities celebrate International Week of the Deaf through various activities.
The week kicks off on Monday, September 23rd, which has been declared by the UN General Assembly as the International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL). This specific day is to raise awareness on and strengthen the status about sign languages around the world.
“This International Day recognizes the importance of sign languages for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfilling its core promise of leaving no one behind. It also offers an opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all sign language users.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres
The 2019 theme for Deaf Awareness Week is “Sign Language Rights for All!” Each day of the week has a sub-theme:
- Monday, September 23rd: Sign Language Rights for All!
- Tuesday, September 24th: Sign Language Rights for Children
- Wednesday, September 25th: Sign Language Rights for Deaf Senior Citizens
- Thursday, September 26th: Sign Language Rights for Deaf/Blind People and Deaf People with Disabilities
- Friday, September 27th: Sign Language Rights for Deaf Women
- Saturday, September 28th: Sign Language Rights for Deaf LGBTIQA+
- Sunday: September 29th: Sign Language Rights for Deaf Refugees