AUGUSTA, Maine – In celebration of deaf culture and the heritage of American Sign Language and Deaf literature, art and folklore, Gov. Paul R. LePage has issued a proclamation designating the week of Sept. 21-27, as Deaf Culture Week.
“I am pleased to recognize Deaf Culture Week in Maine,” said Gov. LePage in a prepared statement. “This special week and the annual awards serve as important reminders of the diversity of our citizens and their achievements — achievements that benefit not only people who are deaf or hard of hearing but also all of our communities.”
The Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened will hold its 22nd annual Award Ceremony and Tea from 2-4 p.m. on Sept. 19, in the Hall of Flags at the State House. This year, the commission will present six awards in six categories to individuals who have contributed to Deaf culture in Maine.
Award recipients are:
- Clifton F. Rodgers Award ~ A Lifetime Achievement Award — Lois Morin, Sebago
- Ginny Hewes Award ~ Advocate for the Needs of the Deaf Community Award* — Clayton Marr, III, Westbrook
- Special Commendation Award — 2013 Maine Deaf Timberfest Committee, Standish
- Promoting ASL, Deaf Culture and Deaf People Award — Regan Thibodeau, Washington, D.C.
- Outstanding Citizenship Award — Josh Seal, Hollis Center
- Citizenship Youth Award — Josh Larrivee, Standish
Michael Krajnak will give the keynote address on the theme, “Putting Compassion into Action.” Krajnak, a New York City native now living in Boston, grew up as the only deaf member of a hearing family and learned American Sign Language when he was 18 years old. He attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Gallaudet University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sign Communication. Currently the referral service supervisor at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Krajnak has had a varied career serving in various communication roles involving ASL in New York, Ohio and Massachusetts.
The Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, part of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) in the Department of Labor, works to bring about full access to employment, independence and community integration for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
“I encourage employers to diversify their workforce by including people with disabilities,” said the Governor. “The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services can facilitate that through vocational rehabilitation, training assistance and advice for employers.”
For more information about hiring people with disabilities or identifying job training resources for people with disabilities, visit your local CareerCenter, call 1-855-ALL-HIRE (TTY users call Maine Relay 711) or visit http://employmentforme.org .