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Mayor Bowser Celebrates National Deaf History Month

Monday, April 1, 2024
Mayor’s Office of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing to curate events highlighting DC’s Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened Community

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing (MODDHH) are celebrating the start of National Deaf History Month and inviting community members to MODDHH’s signature Deaf History Month events, open to people of all hearing levels. Through April 30, MODDHH is partnering with District-agencies and community-based organizations to host events that will showcase the vibrant Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Late Deafened (D/DB/DD/HH/LD) communities across DC, beginning with a roundtable on Tuesday, April 9.
“We are proud that Washington, DC is a leader in creating spaces and providing resources to residents of all hearing levels and abilities, and we work each day to build on that progress,” said Mayor Bowser. “DC is stronger because of our diverse communities, including the countless contributions Deaf Washingtonians have made to advance our DC values and keep Washington, DC the best city in the world.”
National Deaf History Month began in 1997 as a celebration of the Deaf community and in honor of all D/DB/DD/HH/LD people who led the fight for disability and civil rights in the United States, especially those from minority communities. Since 2022, the National Association of the Deaf has designated April as National Deaf History Month.

“A time to celebrate and honor the rich heritage and culture of the Deaf community, this month-long observance recognizes the contributions and achievements of Deaf individuals throughout history, as well as the advancements in Deaf education and advocacy.” said Kari Cooke, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing. “Deaf History Month serves as a reminder of the resilience and strength of the Deaf community. Join us in recognizing and celebrating the important contributions of Deaf individuals in the District all month long.”
Washington, DC has a long history of Deaf advocacy, from the founding of Gallaudet University as the world’s first Deaf university in 1864 to the Deaf President Now movement, which served as a precursor to the Americans with Disabilities Act. In fact, the first National Deaf History Month celebration was inspired by two employees at DC’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library who began teaching their colleagues sign language to increase communication and Deaf awareness.
Today, over 20,000 D/DB/DD/HH/LD individuals live in DC, making DC’s Deaf community one of the largest in the nation and leading DC to be recognized as one of the world’s most deaf-friendly cities. Many residents, both Deaf and hearing, use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, and Deaf Washingtonians have made remarkable contributions to DC’s history and culture.
Throughout National Deaf History Month, the Bowser Administration will sponsor and support the following events:
Community Roundtable
Wednesday, April 10 at 5:30 pm 
Mozzeria (1300 H St NE STE A) 
Join our Community Roundtable to learn about Mayor Bowser’s FY25 priorities as well as share your thoughts on making DC the most accessible city! 
DeafBlind Legacy Week: DeafBlind Entertainment Technology Panel
Tuesday, April 16 at 4 pm
Gallaudet University – Multipurpose Room (800 Florida Ave NE) 
The panel will feature DeafBlind residents who will share their experiences in entertainment with a focus on how DeafBlind Washingtonians can be fully integrated to the entertainment offered in DC.
DeafBlind Legacy Week: DeafBlind/Blind Agency Network
Thursday, April 18 at 10 am 
Serve DC Headquarters (2235 Shannon Place SE Suite 3040)
We invite all DeafBlind and Blind community members to connect with agency staff, learn more about programs, resources, and services, and share your experiences relating to the work they do.
ASL Jubilee
Friday, April 19 at 5 pm 
National Union Building (918 F Street NW)
Celebrate the richness of DC D/DB/DD/HH/LD communities as we wrap up National Deaf History Month! The event will feature district resources, Deaf-owned vendors, and entertainment with Deaf DJ Kazeem.

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