Serving as the keynote speaker for the first Binational Forum of Deaf Culture, I met many passionate advocates working to increase accessibility in Mexico. Some things I learned:
The state of Sonora officially recognized Mexican Sign Language (LSM) as a language in 2022, thanks to the Deaf community’s awareness campaign.
There is an extreme shortage of interpreters. Encourage more people to study sign language interpreting and become certified.
While institutions accommodate hearing people by providing microphones and speakers, they often require Deaf people to pay for their interpreters. This is ableism. And because of systemic barriers, many students and job seekers can’t afford the cost. How can one earn money to pay the interpreter when they need communication access for the job interview or training course? It’s a vicious catch-22. The Forum inspired a new scholarship program to cover interpreting fees in Hermosillo. It’s my hope that one day Mexico will have a system liberating Deaf people from having to pay for interpreters.
Thank you to the Secretary of Education and Culture, the State University of Sonora, the Youth Council of the U.S. Consulate in Hermosillo, and the Deaf Community of Hermosillo! May there be many more binational forums of Deaf culture!