(Fond du Lac, WI)
All have a place earned in History. And to choose ONE is very difficult. I choose Helen Keller. Not only for the fact that she was blind and deaf. But, because she accomplished so much. She brought a lot of attention to the plight of the deaf community.
Because of her fame, the hearing took notice. They started to realize that Deaf does not mean dumb. Many people started to see Deaf people as “normal”. And so many hearing people, me included, started to learn sign language. Helen Keller not only brought attention to the “problems” here in America but, all over the world. Deaf can learn and are not dumb like they had been labeled for centuries.
I am very glad to have been inspired at an early age to learn such a beautiful language. I just wish I would have learned more than the alphabet and a few simple signs then. I am learning much more now. And am teaching sign language to my young nieces and nephews, family and friends. I am watching people of all ages, 15 – 72, come to class to learn. Each have their own reasons for learning. They range from just wanting to learn, to learning because a family member or friend is Deaf or hard of hearing. Some want to use in their jobs. But, no matter the reason, I am thankful that more and more people are wanting and willing to learn.