Alexandra Shaw reports for BDN from the British Deaf Association Annual General Meeting in York on Saturday, 28th January 2017.
The AGM was attended by 120 members. BDA Staff and Trustees delivered presentations about BDA work in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland, sharing information about Deaf Advocacy and Deaf Access & Inclusion projects.
The BSL (Scotland) Act and pledge for recognition of BSL/ISL in Northern Ireland were highlighted, as well as 36 BSL Charters signed UK-wide. BDA’s hugely successful Deaf Roots and Pride Project – now in its fourth year – is expanding to cover more areas of the UK, providing more deaf children with trained mentors and positive role models.
BDA’s Deaf Heritage “Power in Our Hands” had a successful run in UK cinemas, and a wealth of history is available online in Share: The Deaf Visual, which has attracted interest worldwide. BDA Youth continue to focus on social, cultural and political events, attending EUD, WFDYS and IUK camps and organising the popular Youth Fest.
BDA membership has increased by 28% and a revamped website and social media presence has seen a rise in likes on Facebook and Twitter. BDA are keen to increase membership figures even further as this means greater lobbying power. Members also had an opportunity to see a short video clip showing highlights from BDA’s 125 Year Celebrations.
A Letter of Intent was signed between BDA and Visual Language Professionals (VLP), demonstrating a commitment to work together to ensure the continued improvement of quality of life for deaf people.
Sign Language Week takes place on 13th – 18th March 2017 and BDA is inviting the Deaf Community to “Dream Big”. BDA members watched a clip of deaf professionals and youth talking about their jobs and their dreams at the AGM and BDA is encouraging the Deaf community to upload short videos of their own during the week to inspire the next generation.
Next year’s AGM will be held in London on a Saturday in March 2018.
This will coincide with 15 years of BSL recognition and there are plans for a BSL Pride March on a Sunday in March 2018 – so watch this space!