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memorial in sign language

January 16, 2010

Tags: Virginia McKinney, ASL, deaf community

I'd never been to a sign language memorial before. 8th of Jan, an appreciative community-- mainly deaf adults-- gathered to honored the memory of Dr. Virginia McKinney, founder of the Center for Communicative Development. Her great legacy was there, in person, her students and former students. These are deaf adults that were cast away, abandoned by the educational system. Virginia would not take NO for an answer. She didn't give up on people. Thanks to her persistence, her students told us, they were out in the world, working, married, raising kids, earning a living.

One of the speakers, a deaf Russian gentleman named Vladimir, said, that when he'd walked in that day, Viriginia's office was dark, her desk chair empty. "But she was there."

Documentary filmmaker Jessica Yu is finishing a documentary about Virginia (whom, we all agreed, would have been played by Bette Davis in a feature film.) and her son Walter is working hard to ensure that the legacy of CCD continues. "What would Virginia say?" was a common refrain and the answer was clear: "Don't take my school away."
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Great Horned Owl, Benson's Grove, Malheur Sept 2010

Scotty Mitchell www.scottymitchell.com

Buster in our kitchen

Lloyd's sculpture "Capsize" at Cardwell Jimmerson Gallery

last glow, Chatham Cemetery, Jan 4, 2010