September 20, 2018
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Annual Deaf Culture Awards, Tea on Sept. 20 in Hall of Flags

Community Author: Maine Department of Labor
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AUGUSTA — 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. 23-29, 2018, as Deaf Culture Week.

As part of the celebration, the Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened will hold its 27th annual Award Ceremony and Tea 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, 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.

“Deaf Culture Week in Maine and the annual awards serve as important reminders of the many contributions of our citizens,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “I congratulate and thank all of the awardees for their achievements. Their work benefits not only people who are deaf or hard of hearing but all of our communities.”

Award recipients are: Linda J. Follansbee, Clifton F. Rodgers Lifetime Achievement Award; Kristine D. Gile, Ginny Hewes Advocate for the Needs of the Deaf Community Award; Aaron Nau, Special Commendation Award ; Samantha Bragg, Promoting ASL, Deaf Culture and Deaf People Award; Josh Sheedy, Outstanding Citizenship Award; and Emma Foster, Citizenship Youth Award.

Elizabeth Seal will give the keynote address titled “Empowering Our People and Strengthening Our Communities.”

The Division of the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Late Deafened, part of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services 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 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).

The Department of Labor is an equal opportunity provider. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.