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Over the past several years, efforts to diversify library collections and provide resources that reflect the authentic experiences of individuals from historically marginalized groups have resulted in prioritizing #OwnVoices literature. But readers seeking titles grounded in a firsthand D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, or Deaf-Blind (DHHDB) perspective are unlikely to find many offerings. Why aren’t we, the DHHDB community, writing our own stories? The answer is complicated. American Sign Language (ASL) has a rich tradition of storytelling, but it’s a visual language with no written equivalent. Additionally, as a result of a long history of discrimination against DHHDB individuals, stigma around hearing loss, and harmful and inadequate educational policies, including the prevalence of oralism and the practice of forbidding sign language in many schools for decades, some DHHDB people have low English proficiency. Still, our imaginations soar. Simply do an Internet search for “Deaf poetry” to experience the breadth and artistry of DHHDB creative storytelling.
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