April 4th, 2012
For the second year we joined in the fun of April Fools’ Day. Last Sunday we posted this video (captioned) on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter:
With over 5,000 views in just two days, here’s what some of you had to say!
But this year’s announcement had roots that you may not expect: We had wanted to do it for real. For months we thought of working with a small town in either Oklahoma or Maine and renaming it to Deaf, OK or Deaf, ME.
However, we figured it wasn’t going to happen by our doing. But we need to recognize that this idea has had a long history in the Deaf Community’s discourse, which often begins with the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard, where in the 1700’s nearly everyone signed.
However, our video announcement is probably closer to Deaf Smith County, where we don’t know of a “deaf” presence other than its name. This Texan county was named for Civil War hero Erastus “Deaf” Smith, and there’s even a brand of peanut butter named after it.
The example of Martha’s Vineyard has often been the basis of our vision of a deaf-friendly town, where all citizens are equal and sign language is the key that unlocks civic participation. Another is annexation; this concept appeared in Islay, a now out-of-print 1986 novel by deaf author Douglas Bullard.
We hope to see a signing town someday, and you can bet we’d open an office there! We’re glad many of you enjoyed our April Fool video. Deaf, thumbs up! :)