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WHEREAS, Helen Keller was one of the most accomplished, respected and renowned American who was Deaf-Blind; and
WHEREAS, a combined loss of vision and hearing, a unique multi-sensory disability, is estimated to affect between 34,000 and 68,000 Virginians’ ability to live independently, travel freely, and communicate with others to obtain information and access to services; and
WHEREAS, encouraging the full participation of Deaf-Blind Virginians in our communities by promoting their education, employment, housing, and recreational options will maximize their opportunities for a productive life; and
WHEREAS, there are Deaf-Blind people attending college, participating in social activities, managing their everyday life and actively engaged in their communities through employment and civic activities; and
WHEREAS, it is highly appropriate and necessary to publicize the abilities and potential of our fellow citizens who are Deaf-blind, and to recognize them along with Helen Keller as guiding examples of courage, hope, determination, and achievement; and
WHEREAS, in commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of Helen Keller on June 27, 1880, and at the request of Congress in 1984 through Joint Resolution 261, President Ronald Reagan issued the first proclamation designating the last week of June as Helen Keller Deaf-Blind Awareness Week; and
WHEREAS, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, and the VA Deaf-Blind Project at the Partnership for People with Disabilities join the Helen Keller National Center in promoting awareness, understanding, and support for individuals who are Deaf-blind;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize June 21-27, 2020, as DEAF-BLIND AWARENESS WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.