On Wednesday three brave young deaf seventh-graders faced a council in Washington, D.C. to testify during a public hearing on Bill 23-0147.
The bill would establish an Office on Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) in D.C. to advocate for the adoption of laws, policies and programs that benefit the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind communities.
The bill, which was introduced in February by six Democratic council members, would amend the current Disability Rights Protection Act of 2006.
Parts of the amendment include the mayor of D.C. appointing a person from the deaf, hard of hearing or deafblind community to serve as director ODHH and hiring qualified members from the deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind community to work there.
ODHH would also work with government agencies to ensure all deaf children have access from birth to all services necessary to ensure language access and support as well as workforce development opportunities that address the needs of deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind community.
Gallaudet President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano testified along with three students, who she called “young scholars and future leaders.”
Here is the video from the testimony in D.C., courtesy of Gallaudet’s Facebook page.