The fall ASL Lecture Series event will be presented by Tawny Holmes Hlibok, Esq, Associate Professor of Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University.  The title of her presentation is The Juxtaposition of Sign Language Policy.  The lecture will be held on Thursday, November 11, from 5-6:30 as a Zoom webinar.  Abstract and bio are detailed below.


The lecture will be presented in ASL with English interpretation.  It is free and open to the public.  Access to the lecture will open at 5PM on Thursday, November 11.

If you have questions, or for the Zoom link, please contact Dr. Jami Fisher, Director of ASL, Department of Linguistics: jami@sas.upenn.edu



The Juxtaposition of Sign Language Policy

In a world that increasingly recognizes the place of sign languages, we also are seeing increased isolation when it comes to deaf children. This presentation by an experienced attorney and educator, herself a native and third-generation Deaf person, will provide both a quantitative and qualitative perspective on the current status of sign language in the world. From her intensive policy analysis on the local, state, national and international levels, Ms. Holmes Hlibok, Esq. will provide examples of applications ranging from communication access in broader society to inclusive education. It will become clear to attendees that a juxtaposition has emerged for sign language, because while the number of adult users and presence on social media has increased a hundredfold, there is governmental pressure (and from other organizations, as well) to reduce the use of sign language despite proven benefits for young deaf children. In closing, policy recommendations based on the United Nations’ Convention of Rights for Persons with Disabilities and the World Federation of the Deaf, along with others, will be shared along with other relevant resources.


Tawny Holmes Hlibok serves as the Language Policy Counsel at Gallaudet University along with being an Associate Professor in the Department of Deaf Studies. She graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law. In addition to her law degree with family mediation & law certification, she has a Master of Arts in Family Centered Early Education from Gallaudet University. Ms. Holmes Hlibok is a well-known presenter on the local, state, national and global levels when it comes to sign language access, rights and advocacy for deaf children and adults. Her presentations are based on her legal knowledge and a vision building off her rich experience working as the Education Policy Counsel at the National Association of the Deaf for the past 8 years which took her to multiple corners of the Deaf communities with a wide variety of children, families and professionals.