Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Group rallies in downtown St. Louis for deaf culture

The march covered only eight blocks, but it was meant to carry a strong message that deafness is a cultural identity, not a disability.

"We have a culture," Ruthie Jordan, a leader of a group called Audism Free America, said through a sign language interpreter on Sunday. "We have a language — American Sign Language."

About 50 people gathered near City Hall on Sunday afternoon then walked eight blocks to the Marriott Hotel at Union Station, site of the annual Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Meeting. Nearly 1,000 representatives of local, state and federal programs to diagnose hearing loss among children are attending the meeting, which lasts through Tuesday.

But the walkers object to an emphasis on treatment of hearing loss. Among the participants was Shawn Elfrink, a St. Louis postal worker who said the EHDI meeting does more to promote screening of children for hearing problems and treatment rather than support their use of sign language.

Read more of Tim Bryant's STL Today article HERE.
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