Signing in Black America

(Rochester, NY) – Signing in Black Americais the first documentary about Black ASL: the unique dialect of American Sign Language (ASL) that developed within historically segregated African American Deaf communities.  It airs Friday, July 17 at 8:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV and is part of WXXI and the Golisano Foundation's Move to Include initiative that uses the power of public media to promote inclusion. The special repeats on Saturday, July 25 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Black ASL today conveys an identity and sense of belonging that mirrors spoken language varieties of the African American hearing community.  Different uses of space, hand use, directional movement, and facial expression are ways that Black ASL distinguishes itself as a vibrant dialect of American Sign Language. The African American Deaf community is now embracing their unique variety as a symbol of solidarity and a vital part of their identity. 

More about Move to Include: 
Move to Include was launched in 2014 as a local partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation devoted to supporting programs for people with intellectual disabilities. The Foundation has provided more than $1 million in funding to date for Move to Include in Rochester. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) awarded the initiative a $645,000 grant to help expand the multimedia initiative to these five public media organizations over 16 months. The stations are creating programming to meet their community needs while expanding awareness regionally and nationally.

With more than 15 years of experience in programming and producing disability-related content, WXXI is leading a collaboration of partner stations: WFYI (Indianapolis), OPB (Oregon), WGCU (Southwest Florida), WCNY (Syracuse), and Iowa Public Television. Each station will work to organize community partnerships, acquire and create content, and provide outreach, engagement, and promotion for the initiative. They will also contribute content to the PBS LearningMedia collection used by teachers, families and students free of charge.

The national project kicks off July 2020 in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To learn more about the national endeavor, visit MovetoInclude.us

Photo: ASL student
Credit: Signing in Black America

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WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and programs.

 

WXXI Media Contact:

Kristin Tutino

Creative Services Department

585-258-0253
pressroom@wxxi.org

 



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