GUAA Award Day

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So, for my technical writing class, we had this assignment to write a citation, or short bio of a person who was slated to receive an award from the Gallaudet University Alumni Association (GUAA). GUAA has been doing a celebration every year to honor the Charter Day, or the day that Lincoln signed the Charter to make Gallaudet possible. They came up with this idea 39 years ago, so today was their 39th annual celebration of the event.

GUAA teamed up with the Laurent Clerc Cultural Fund and started giving awards to people at the celebrations. They have several awards for various things, but most are for service that is done on behalf of the Deaf community. The award honors those who have worked to better the community, whether it be through education, advocacy, government, etc.

Because our class project was to write the citations for the award recipients, we were invited to go to the event and actually introduce the recipient on stage while they received their award. While this is a great honor, it is also nerve wracking as all hell. It meant I had to get up on stage in front of like 150 people who I do not know, and sign something I wrote all the while not throwing up or passing out. ASL is my second language, so I always get nervous when I have to present something publicly. It just adds an extra layer to an already frightening public speaking situation.

Anywhoo, all fears aside, the event went off without a hitch. I guess I did an okay job. I definitely did not pass out or throw up, so those are two major successes right there.

It was a really nice event though. I have a fondness for old people (there were many of them there), and I think the fondness quadruples when its older Deaf people who I am interacting with. I just love old people.

There was one man, who received his award, he must have been at least 80, who was so touching. When he got up to accept the award, he had very little to say. He only wanted to thank his wife of 61 years for always being there for him. It was so sweet I almost cried.

All in all, it was a really successful day. I got to meet and interact with some real leaders in the Deaf community. Women who are writing books about what it means to be Deaf, Educators who are reinventing Deaf education in America, Lawyers who are actively working to better the lives of Deaf people throughout the world. In a lot of ways Deaf people are in the midst of their Civil Rights movement and it is really exciting to watch and to know that I too can be apart of this huge social change that is happening.

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