Dare to Dream of a Future
With Full Access to American Sign Language!
by Chris Wixtrom © 1998
American Sign Language - ASL - has a place in history. Developed by deaf people, daring to speak for themselves in the silence of the long struggle for dignity. Carried forward over centuries of conflict in educational circles. Strong and free in the air of secret opposition. Passed hand to hand and eye to eye across the land. A hidden vision.
ASL has a new place now. Deaf people choose to use ASL in the light of truths that prove its value. Quiet signs speak out: Equality!
What's next? With their own hands, deaf people shape a future for themselves. The revolution has begun. Signs slice through foggy philosophies, sculpting a dream.
Access makes it happen. ASL finds its way into family communication, education, and the work world. Once hidden behind dorm doors and under desks, ASL is moving to podiums and public places. No longer limited to exclusive school communities, ASL has gone public. As a matter of fact, the public library is becoming a forceful agent of change in the access movement. With ASL videos showing up on public library shelves, ASL at last comes within reach of every American.
ASL instructional videos in public libraries put visual communication in the hands of hearing parents of deaf children. Teachers of deaf students and sign language interpreters find sign-refining tools, insight, inspiration and humor through public library access to ASL linguists, storytellers, poets, and comedians. Deaf people discover a history and a culture that some may choose to claim as their own. Information is power. ASL videos in public libraries offer this power to those who have finally won the right to see it for themselves.