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McAllen proclaims month of September as Deaf Awareness Month

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During a meeting this week, the city of McAllen proclaimed the month of September as Deaf Awareness Month. 

Twenty-year-old Rodrigo Uresti was born deaf and says growing up in the Valley, he’s faced challenges.

"Sometimes there's no interpreters,” Uresti said through a sign language interpreter. “Sometimes there's no closed captioning on videos."

McAllen District 4 city commissioner Tania Ramirez says months ago, the city implemented closed captioning for their city meetings on their Spectrum channel. Moving forward, the city is now looking to create a disability advisory board.

"Just because it's so important to make sure that we — as the government — we are accessible to everybody," Ramirez said.

Advancements into closed captioning are helpful for the deaf community, but officials say a larger issue is the lack of education for people. That being said, there are resources right here in McAllen.

"We are here,” Marla Martinez, RGV Center Coordinator at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center said through sign language. “We know that there is a need in Hidalgo County and we have over 200,000 people in the Valley with hearing loss. From infants, to senior citizens."

On Thursday, Uresti will be headed to Washington D.C. as an intern for Congressman Vicente Gonzalez.

Officials say the city has been looking toward providing American Sign Language interpreters during public meetings, but nothing has been set in that department just yet.

More information about the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center can be found here.

The proclamation by the city of McAllen comes ahead of The American Sign Language & Interpreting (ASLI) Program at UTRGV announcing the week of Sept. 20 will be Deaf Awareness Week. The following events will be available to the public:

Full Schedule:

  • Monday, September 20th- Virtual ASL/Deaf Culture Trivia at 7pm
  • Tuesday, September 21st- Movie Night at 7pm at UTRGV Campus
  • Wednesday, September 22nd- ASL Loteria at 7pm at UTRGV Campus
  • Thursday, September 23rd- Deaf Actress Sandra Mae Frank at 7pm at UTRGV Campus
  • Friday, September 24th- Virtual ASL Class/Deaf Coffee Chat/Deaf Family Fun Night- Various locations

For more information, contact the ASLI Program’s administrative assistant Neomi Martinez at noemi.echavarria01@utrgv.edu.

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