Photo by Luca Galuzzi - www.galuzzi.it
As an advocate for those with hearing loss, I have become most aware of the issues they face. How many times have you been in a large gathering of UU's when someone stands up to speak and refuses the microphone? "I'll speak up," they say not considering those who can only hear with the help of the sound system. How many UU churches have acoustics so bad that it's hard to understand even for those with mild hearing loss? Often people avoid those places. How many are under the misconception that FM headset systems in our sanctuaries are the solution for those who have trouble hearing services? Headset systems don't address the some of the most basic requirements to help people hear. So many of us never realize that there are countless members of our congregations who struggle to hear everyday.
UU's should be on the forefront of inclusion not only for those with hearing loss but for all who face disabilities of any kind. It's not that we don't care. It's just that we don't know. That needs to change. We need to step up our efforts and bring awareness to these problems. We must strive to pay closer attention to those around us. We should never assume that because its easy for us to participate, that others share the same experience. All of us can raise our level of empathy for our neighbors. To that end, I'd like to promote a workshop "Reaching Out To Those With Hearing Loss" that EqUUal Access, Carol Agate and I will be presenting at General Assembly. I hope many of you will join us Thursday, June 26 between 4 and 5:15 pm in the Rotunda. Let us all take BIGGER steps to include those of all abilities into our UU family.