In 1913, George W. Veditz, president of the National Association for the Deaf at the time reflected, “As long as we have deaf people on Earth, we will have signs, and as long as we have our films, we can preserve our beautiful sign language in its original purity.”
102 years later, not only the films, but the literature, television, folklore, athletics, poetry, celebrations, organizations, theaters, dance, even music that make up Deaf culture live on.
With Fulton’s location of the Missouri School for the Deaf and its ASL and Interpretation Studies programs, William Woods University is surrounded by Deaf cultural happenings all of the time. William Woods University regularly hosts films and events for the celebration, education and cultivation of Deaf culture.
A few examples of events within the last months:
- Deaf City
- Deaf Literary Nights, where students are exposed to different language play art forms in the Deaf community and work on creating their own.
- Speaker events, like Opeoluwa Sotonwa, the new Executive Director of the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) and Gracia Backer, a Missouri State Representative for 18 years, who worked to establish the MCDHH and obtain funding for the Missouri School for the Deaf.
- Deaf Film Night: The Hammer, a story of a deaf UFC fighter
- Deaf Awareness Week
ASL Interpretation Studies students, and others interested can also join Hands Up!, a signing club who works within the William Woods University campus and also with the Deaf community in Fulton. Hands Up! facilitates a positive, non-threatening environment where people can easily join. They provide signers at every level of interaction and involvement within the deaf community through direct interaction.