Governor Mills Proclaims September 18-24th Deaf Culture Week Bookmark and Share

September 12, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 12, 2022

Governor Mills Proclaims September 18-24th Deaf Culture Week

Annual Tea Celebrating Deaf Culture Held On September 15

AUGUSTA - In celebration of Deaf culture and the heritage of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf literature, art and folklore, Governor Janet Mills has issued a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 18 through 24, 2022, as Deaf Culture Week.

"The Deaf community has its own language, culture, history and traditions which have shaped our state for generations. The many contributions of Deaf people to the State of Maine should be celebrated," said Governor Mills. "I am honored to declare September 18 through September 24 as Deaf Culture Week and to recognize the achievements of Maine's Deaf community."

The Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened will hold its 31st Annual Award Ceremony and Tea on Sept. 15, 2022, from 2 to 4 p.m., virtually on Zoom:

*Note: the Zoom will be opened for attendees at 1:45PM.

This year, the commission will present eight awards to individuals who have contributed to Deaf culture in Maine. Award recipients are:

  • Citizenship Youth Award Sherry Foster
  • Promoting ASL, Deaf Culture and Deaf People Sandra K. Wood
  • Special Recognition Award Annette Arsenault
  • Ginny Hewes Advocate for the Needs of the Deaf Community Award Sitara Sheikh
  • Outstanding Citizenship Award Kevin L. Bohlin
  • Special Commendation Award Eileen Carroll-Walker, Rosemary Ford, and St. Joseph Healthcare
  • Dr. Toni H. Rees Interpreter Award Margaret A. Haberman
  • Clifton F. Rodgers Lifetime Achievement Award Laurel A. Kelly

Marlaco Bethune and Melinda Smith Meyers will give the keynote address.

The Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, part of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) in the Maine Department of Labor, works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

"The Maine Department of Labor works to connect employers with the skilled employees they need to grow their business, and job seekers with meaningful work. This includes talented people who have often been left on the sidelines, such as those with disabilities," said Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. "I encourage businesses to have equal and inclusive hiring policies, to re-evaluate hiring barriers that have often prevented applicants from consideration, and to consider working with our Department. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services can assist both workers and employers through vocational rehabilitation, training assistance, and advice."

For more information about hiring people with disabilities or identifying job training resources for people with disabilities, visit your local CareerCenter.