DSDHH celebrates Black History Month
The Division of Services for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing held two events to celebrate Black Deaf History.
The first was a staff luncheon on Feb. 7 with culinary delights from Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria and the U.S.A. This program also provided highlights of Black Deaf Achievers. On Feb. 22, a lively panel presentation, “Celebrating Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow,” showcased a dynamic group of speakers of all ages.
Exploring the historical impact of segregated education, Mary Herring Wright, a native of Wallace and the author of “Sounds Like Home,” Lillie Jones, a native of Fayetteville, and Roxie Clark another native of North Carolina, discussed their experiences attending Garner School for the Deaf. Despite an education environment that did not encourage the pursuit of higher education, teach them about black history or connect them with their community, these ladies have each made outstanding contributions to their community. Mary Herring Wright’s second book “Memories of World War II and Afterward” is scheduled to be released in March.
Stephanie Scott, deaf services specialist from the Wilson Regional Resource Center and a graduate of North Carolina School for the Deaf, spoke about the need for role models for black deaf and deaf-blind individuals. Valerie McMillan, interpreter support services consultant from the Wilson Regional Resource Center, spoke about growing up hearing in an all-deaf family. Her grandparents, parents and siblings are all deaf. Valerie spoke about her culturally rich upbringing as well as the responsibility of being the communication facilitator for family members. Valerie’s early experiences have given her the motivation to become a sign language interpreter and to encourage other children of deaf adults and minorities to become qualified interpreters.
From a community perspective, Pamela Lloyd, program administrator for the Telecommunications Access Program and former president of National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA), spoke about the history, value, and goals of NBDA in reaching out to black deaf youth and families with black deaf children.
Carlos Martin, president of North Carolina Black Deaf Advocates (NCBDA), spoke about outreach to black deaf individuals in the state. Pat Stivland, communication access coordinator, spoke about cross-cultural interpreting issues and the challenges in recruiting interpreters of color as well as providing appropriate cultural competency training for all interpreters. Linda Carr, office assistant at the Wilmington Regional Resource Center, also contributed to the discussion.
Special thanks to committee members Pamela Lloyd, William Olubodun,
Linda Harrington, Lawrence Shockey, Amy Markin, and Jan Withers,
coordinate these programs.
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