Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

National Deaf Advocate Speaks to Students


Dr. Williams (center) with a few of the ASL students who attended his presentation.

April 17, 2017 -- The American Sign Language (ASL) classes hosted Deaf Advocate Dr. Charles Williams on April 6. He talked to the students in ASL and in spoken English. He lost his hearing when he was a child.

Dr. Charles Williams is 86 years old and is an ASL professor at Cleveland State University and Baldwin Wallace College. He is a founding member of the National Black Deaf Advocates and was a member of the Board of Trustees at Gallaudet University for 13 years.

He was the plaintiff in several high profile court cases that ended with verdicts requiring organizations to provide an ASL interpreter for deaf people. These verdicts and the provision of adequate ASL translation made it possible for deaf people to serve on a jury, receive adequate health care at medical appointments and participate in the democratic process by viewing the ASL interpreter on the televised Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

In his presentation to the students, he talked about the barriers that he faced and how he dealt with the challenges.

Students asked him questions, many using ASL to communicate with Dr. Williams.

“We are so lucky to have a Deaf Advocate like Dr. Williams in our community,” said ASL teacher Lori Harris. “His experience and willingness to share his knowledge is a real gift for our students.”

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