With the first International Day of Sign Languages coming up on September 23, it is worth recapping Starbucks’ plan to open a new sign-language store in Washington, D.C. next month. It will be the company’s first disability-friendly coffee shop in the US, following the successful inauguration of their first-ever Signing Store in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2016. The D.C. store will be equipped with various accessibility features and will employ individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. It will offer customers a “distinctive retail experience,” per their press release.
Mozzeria, a deaf-owned and -operated Italian pizza restaurant in San Francisco, is the only other US store where all employees are proficient in sign language.
Globally, there are over 300 different sign languages for about 72 million people who are deaf or have hearing challenges. These languages vary from their spoken counterparts and have their own grammar and vocabulary.
In December last year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to observe September 23 as the International Day of Sign Languages. It will be a historic day for deaf communities worldwide, given that we are in the midst of a global movement toward greater inclusion of people with disabilities.
We at Rangam are committed to providing career development opportunities to individuals with disabilities through our SourceAbled program. In honor of the International Day of Sign Languages, we ask you to take the Inclusion Pledge and tell us if you know someone looking for employment. Please leave a comment below, and one of our team members will respond at the earliest. Thank you!