[Deb Guthmann appears and begins to sign.]
Deb: Hello, my name is Deb Guthmann. I’m honored and thrilled to be here to accept the award for community advocacy with this amazing group of people who work hard, fighting a strong fight to keep the Minnesota Substance Use program alive. Without all your help and support, we would have not had any program to continue at this time. During the past year, the program served four people. We need to have more accessible treatment options. We need to fight to keep the program in Minnesota alive. So I am honored that this award recognizes the help it has given people from Minnesota and across the United States. To better understand the impact of this program, there are currently four programs in the United States for people who need help with alcohol or drug residency treatment focusing on those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. That is not enough. Please do continue to recognize this group and those who support the fight for more treatment options for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Thank you so much for this. I truly appreciate this, more than you would never know. Thank you.
[Lilly Steinbruckner appears and begins to sign.]
Lilly: I am honored to receive this citizen advocacy award, and am truly touched by the action. When I learned of the closing of the Deaf Substance Use disorder treatment program was closing, I – as an alcoholic, felt that I couldn’t let that happen. I wanted to make sure that the Deaf who are recovering, and the support of the community, all of us pulling up our sleeves and take action. That led to organization and working with community members and stakeholders, making sure to work together to lead the protest against the closing of the Deaf program, St. Joseph hospital, and Bethesda hospital. It was thrilling to see the success that led from that. We were able to schedule meetings with legislators: from the House of Representatives, Ruth Richardson; from the House of Representatives, Kaohly Her; and Senator Jim Carlson; to share our concerns regarding the closings, so that the Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing community’s advocacy equaled treatment access. We want to share our thanks for our group, for your support. Thank you to all the stakeholders, and the community at large. Thank you. I am proud to be sober for 840 days now, and have come out as transgender myself. Thank you.
[Kelsey Dahl appears and begins to sign.]
Kelsey: Hello, my name is Kelsey Dahl. I was moved by the email recognizing the award for the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens, an organization that I am part of. This award recognizes their effort in trying to keep the program running – for the Fairview program. I am awed – I cannot believe it has been over a year since the coronavirus pandemic began. I feel this program is important because we as the Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing community are a minority group, and we truly do need that resource to support and encourage people to receive the treatment for their addictions. I am inspired by this, and thank you so much for doing this. We want to continue to advocate for the community to grow from this. Thank you.
[The full descriptive transcript is longer than the number of character limits allowed. Please access the full transcript at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Wtl1ZGQt2oXSHI4PZ7f57MxpOo6Q8RLlL6NAH3iMXTo/edit?usp=sharing]
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