SASL Journal Vol. 1, No. 1 - Page 4

SASLJ Unveiled Cripps SASLJ Unveiled: A New Frontier Jody H. Cripps Editor-in-Chief As the editor, I am pleased to announce the inaugural issue of the Society for American Sign Language Journal (SASLJ). This journal marks an important milestone by providing a new viewpoint for signers, both deaf and hearing, living in the United States and Canada. American Sign Language (ASL) has been in use for a long time by deaf people, the primary users of this language. 2017 marks the signed language’s 200th anniversary as marked by its origin with the first permanent school for the deaf founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1817. Numerous people have contributed to the study of ASL over the years, and this journal provides a new platform for past and present work related to promoting the concept of linguistic accessibility. ASL is not merely another language for consideration, but it is a signed language that has ramifications for all aspects and functions of society. Deaf people are not only part of their own cultural community, but they also reside in the larger society as well. Including hearing individuals who are signers will help broaden the view as it shifts emphasis on deafness to a more socially enlightened agenda that encompasses differences, diversity, and inclusiveness. SASLJ is an academic peer-reviewed journal that aims to serve researchers, scholars, administrators, developers, assessors, practitioners, and students to impart and share knowledge towards ASL as a human language. The first part of this editorial commentary will include a brief historical account of the steps toward creating the Society for American Sign Language (SASL) and its first symposium in 2015. The second half will cover the establishment of SASLJ. History of SASL as an Organization The initiation of the SASL organization occurred at Deaf Studies Today! Conference in Orem, Utah on the evening of April 2014 at a hotel with approximately 20 to 25 people (scholars and conference participants). There was a discussion on the need for creating an organization that focuses on ASL and its role in current society. A small number of attendees (Drs. Samuel Supalla - Arizona and Jody Cripps - Maryland, Mr. Ronald Fenicle – Maryland, and Harvey Nathanson - Texas) volunteered as the working group to implement the establishment of the organization. This included planning the symposium for the Fall of 2015, and inviting all interested supporters across the country to consider becoming Executive Council (EC) members for this new organization. From this response, nine founding board members emerged (see names in the next paragraph). On September 11, 2015, SASL was formally recognized in the state of Maryland. SASL’s first symposium was given the theme and title: Celebration of Sign Language: Revisiting Language, Literacy, and Performing Arts. It was held at Towson University in Towson, Maryland on November 14, 2015. The symposium began with the first EC meeting in the morning with the following members: • • • Mr. Gabriel Arellano (Georgetown University) Dr. Patrick Boudreault (Gallaudet University) Dr. Andrew Byrne (Framingham State University) SASLJ, Vol. 1, No. 1 – Fall/Winter 2017 4