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Gallaudet University Launches New Guides in Apple Maps; New Guides Connect the Deaf Community to the Global Signing Ecosystem

May 12, 2021


Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind students, today announced that it is bringing new Guides to Apple Maps to help connect users to businesses and organizations that value, embrace and prioritize the Deaf community and signed languages. Apple launched Guides last fall with iOS 14 to provide users a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, find popular attractions, discover restaurants, and explore new recommendations.

“The global signing ecosystem is a vast and powerful engine driving economies, innovation and entrepreneurship…There are millions of Deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide who actively seek businesses that value them, embrace their language, and provide a truly inclusive experience.”

Gallaudet’s creation of Apple Maps Guides aligns with its bilingual mission and will serve a critical role in advancing American Sign Language (ASL) vibrancy and equity for the Deaf community, and in promoting the use of signed and tactile languages. These Guides will also amplify the importance, cultural significance, and economic strength of the Deaf community for the larger hearing population.

The new guides are titled The Gallaudet NeighborhoodDeaf-Owned Businesses in the D.C. AreaAll About Gallaudet; and Deaf Schools and Programs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The Gallaudet Neighborhood guide features more than 30 businesses, including:

  •     Mozzeria, a Deaf-owned and operated Neapolitan pizza restaurant;
  •     Busboys and Poets, a restaurant that features ASL Poetry and ASL Slam nights;
  •     The first U.S. Signing Starbucks;
  •     Chase Bank with employees who can support financial needs through ASL or interpreters; and
  •     Apple Store at Carnegie Library with Deaf and hard of hearing staff, in addition to onsite interpreters for consultation and training.

“We are pleased to once again partner with Apple, building on our Connected Gallaudet initiative,” said Roberta J. Cordano, president of Gallaudet University. “We are especially delighted to debut our first four guides here in Washington, D.C., where we have a thriving Deaf economy. The global signing ecosystem is a vast and powerful engine driving economies, innovation and entrepreneurship. These new guides show the world what leading companies like Apple, Chase, Target, and Starbucks already know. There are millions of Deaf and hard of hearing people worldwide who actively seek businesses that value them, embrace their language, and provide a truly inclusive experience.”

“At Apple, we believe technology at its best can enable everyone to create, learn and stay connected,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility. “We’re thrilled that Gallaudet’s introduction of these new guides will bring greater awareness of the vibrant Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind communities, and showcase a wide range of Deaf-owned and Deaf-friendly organizations for Apple Maps users.”

An all-Deaf team of content curators and researchers worked with Apple to develop the guides. Curation of guides, present and future, will be driven by criteria that qualify locations and businesses to be part of the Signing Ecosystem. Over time, Gallaudet plans to expand its reach to all 50 states and showcase the evolving Signing Ecosystem nationally and internationally. The guides will automatically update when new places are added to a list, so users always have the latest recommendations.

The Signing Ecosystem (social media hashtag #SigningEcosystem) encompasses the Deaf Ecosystem and its allies, united through their rich socio-cultural origins and backgrounds, and conscious empowerment of each other. Members of the Signing Ecosystem work together for the socio-economic, ethical and political betterment of Deaf, hard of hearing, Deafblind, deaf-disabled, and late-deafened people globally. However, the guides are for everyone, deaf and hearing. To learn more, visit Gallaudet’s Signing Ecosystem webpage.

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors and many master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in various fields, including brain imaging, educational neuroscience, education, linguistics, psychology, Deaf history and culture, and Black Deaf history and culture.

12 May 2021


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Robert Weinstock

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