“Can it be done? Can I be a deaf medical professional?” First-time attendees told me they came to the conference to find this out for themselves. They joined nearly 300 attendees—a record for AMPHL, doubling our previous attendance.
To our hosts at RIT/NTID who outdid themselves: we are so grateful you wanted to take on our conference and show our community what’s possible. To co-Chairs Scott Smith and Kathy Miraglia who shouldered so much, to Gerry Buckley who said yes, and to all the other conference volunteers and staff who made the magic happen—we felt the love (and the tears and sweat) you put into making this weekend on your campus a home for 300 dreamers.
To the city of Rochester: it was a neat experience visiting the city with the highest deaf population per capita, to walk into a café or a restaurant to be greeted by staff who knew some degree of sign language and who were always eager to learn more… Thank you, Rochester, for the welcome.
To the presenters: those 300 attendees came for you, and you rose to the task. We are grateful for the time you put into preparing your talks, and for standing on the stage in the spotlight, answering difficult questions. You are inspiring role models.
To the interpreters and captionists who volunteered their time and their hands to provide accessibility for all of us—we love seeing you at every conference, and your faces help us feel like we are coming home to AMPHL. Thank you for all you do for us, and for cheering us on.
To the conference attendees: thank you for showing up, for asking questions, for networking, supporting each other, for socializing, for making friends, for all the laughter, for sharing your fears and hopes and dreams… Thank you for the incredible bond. Thank you for making AMPHL your community.
“Can it be done?” Look around. It’s already being done.