Invest in People!

ASL Transcript (click here)

I saw a post on LinkedIn this week that really moved me. I wonder how many people – and by people I mean the people who work with any sort of influence, including those who make decisions or influence decisions, in a company, community, church, school, non-profit, wherever – yes, how many people actually understand what she is saying. Her P.S. at the bottom notes that not every deaf person has the same need but for so many, I’m saying it again, SO MANY people the need is sign language. 

Eva Skovli, M.S. 


"Just a sign language appreciation post and for me - without sign language I wouldn’t be able to graduate with a Master degree from Rochester Institute of Technology as a deaf international student. 

Without sign language I wouldn’t be able to learn 5 different languages. Without sign language I would have a hard time picking up social skills and make friends. 


So, I’m ethereally grateful for my parents learning and providing me access to sign language and the deaf community.


PS. Deaf and hard of hearing people have different language preferences- some sign, some don’t, some speak, some don’t, some have hearing aids/CIs. Just ask how they prefer to communicate. I have never met anybody regretting learning sign language."

Why are we celebrating the ADA’s (Americans with Disabilities Act) 32nd year anniversary when we struggle tremendously to provide EQUAL access? Why have we not moved the needle in a greater way in THIRTY-TWO whole years? We are in the fastest moving age of all times with the greatest gross and net dollars of any time and in any place on earth, and yet we still put people last, regardless of a law that seems many are unaware of or don’t even care about!

 

I saw a few gratitude posts this week like Eva’s and it made my heart so grateful. But I have seen countless others that just beg, literally beg, for language. Language and communication are a human right!! Why do we ignore this? In fact, one of my connections got fired this week because ‘she was too expensive’, I mean really?! We (each person who has the ears functioning to hear without the need of assistance) have all this luxury to communicate how we want and where we want and with whom we want, to get jobs, to go to school, to run for any office we desire, to walk in any place and enjoy whatever it is that comes without hesitation or the thought to think twice. But totally naive to think the world revolves around us and our glorified ears. I’m in the same pool – I constantly have to think what are my choices today? Who do they affect? How can I make a better difference? Where will I put my time and invest my money to make communication available to someone besides me?

 

I know one person in my life who would feel quite offended by what I am saying. But I’m not talking to her. I hope I’m talking to you. I hope you will support, with full support, what this all comes down to! I mean, money comes and money goes. Everyone and every business has money. It’s where you put your money that is in question. I struggle seeing places (companies and businesses) that are like, “We totally needed new carpet (or whatever! you can fill in the blank). Phew, so glad we invested!” But when asked about serving a community who needs and wants access to their products and services they complain it’s too expensive or somehow don’t have any funds. Why not expand your reach and really invest in inclusivity first? Carpet will come, it will! And heck, put carpet AND people first! Cuz you probably have money to do that! But first and foremost, INVEST IN PEOPLE!!!!!  

 

There are ways to do this. There are strategies to start the process. There are certain areas that need to be taken care of and then great ways to invest in long-term support. The resources are available to you. We are one of those resources. But if anything, do something. Start the discussion today. But remember that discussions mean absolutely (and tirelessly) nothing and is time wasted if you don’t put something together and into action. 


Invest … in … people! And start today, already. This – investing in people – is something your organization will never regret!

About

Access Simplified is a leader in the deaf and hard of hearing accessibility industry, having created an offline communications access app. 

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