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What’s Your Sign? Delta Loves on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing The women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. have been their sisters and com-munities’ keepers for over 100 years. Even still today, they are taking that responsibility to a dif-ferent level as they focus their attentions on the deaf and hard of hearing community. Launched during the 2016 Regional Conference Cycle, Delta Sigma Theta instituted an identifying logo for its deaf and hard-of-hearing members. The logo – a red solid triangle with a hand forming the phrase “I love you” in American Sign Lan-guage – was distributed to sorors to wear on their badges and printed on reserved signs posted in those areas designated for those sections where ASL interpreters could be easily seen. The leadership saw the need for the identifier not only as a way for hearing members to honor reserved seating 26 • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. areas but also to reassure deaf members that Delta Sigma Theta wants to make their experiences during formal meetings and events enjoyable and all information disseminated accessible. “In a world full of auditory stimuli, it may be hard for someone with perfect hearing to fathom what it is like to not be able to hear sounds,” said Dr. Paulette C. Walker, National President. “We want to let our sisters know we hear them, we see them, and they are not forgotten.” The Census Bureau estimates (based on American Community Survey 1-Year Esti-mate data for 2012) that two percent of the population ages 18 to 64 have a hearing disability. In a report created by the Gallau-det Research Institute (which includes ages younger than 18 and older than 64), it was estimated that 13 percent of the U.S. pop-ulation has hearing problems. It should be noted according to the institute, the deaf community has not been counted in the U.S. Census since 1930. The last census of the U.S. deaf population was privately con-ducted in 1971, sponsored by the National Association of the Deaf. For figures since then, only estimates are available. Gallaudet University in Washing-ton, D.C. has led advances in education of deaf and hard of hearing students and deaf rights worldwide. As the world’s only university designed to be barrier-free for deaf and hard of hearing students, they are a perfect resource for Delta Sigma Theta to gain perspective and insight. The Soror-ity has received sound advice from deaf members and those who have worked and trained at Gallaudet. “We are partnering and listening,” said Soror Donna Lucas, human resource manager for Delta Sigma Theta’s National By Bernadine Williams Stallings Delta Sigma Theta’s national leadership join headquarters staff and American Sign Language interpreters as they sign “I love you” launching the Sorority’s logo identifying deaf and hard of hearing members. PICTURED (L-R): Soror Dionne Walker, Houston Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter; Soror Beverly Smith, National First Vice President; Dr. Paulette C. Walker, National President; Soror Lorraine Williams, Los Angeles Alumnae Chapter; Soror Donna Lucas, HR manager, National Headquarters staff. PHOTO BY CASSANDRA BROOKS


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