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WHEREAS, Deaf Awareness Week was first celebrated by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) in 1958; and
WHEREAS, this event is also known as the International Week of the Deaf, commemorating the first congress of the World Federation of the Deaf, which took place in September 1951; and
WHEREAS, the last full week of September is now internationally recognized as Deaf Awareness Week; and
WHEREAS, approximately 863,000 Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing individuals reside in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing residents contribute toward the vitality of the Commonwealth, and all of Virginia is enriched by the diverse and rich heritage, language and culture of the Deaf community; and
WHEREAS, the purpose of Deaf Awareness Week is to increase public awareness and understanding of the communication barriers and the culture of the Deaf community; and
WHEREAS, Deaf Awareness Week is an opportunity to promote equal access opportunities for children and adults in Virginia who are Deaf, Deafblind or Hard of Hearing, and to learn about the programs and services available to them; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides services so that Deaf and Hard of Hearing residents may fully participate in programs, services, and opportunities throughout the Commonwealth;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 23-29, 2019, as DEAF AWARENESS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.