DEAFestival Los Angeles is the product of Bertha Velazquez, a single mother who, after witnessing the lack of services and social opportunities for her deaf daughter, was inspired to create an event where all members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community are invited to celebrate their uniqueness. Through arts and cultural programming, deaf and hard-of hearing individuals of all ages are given a venue to network with their peers also helping to educate hearing members of their community so they can better understand the deaf culture.
This event also helps facilitate, encourage and discover the potential of the more than 400,000 individuals that make up the deaf community in Los Angeles County alone. The significance of this mission is that it enables all deaf individuals to strive for full participation in their mainstream community. With our community’s support, DEAFestival has become an important tradition that celebrates the power of a very special community while it enhancing the cultural experience in the City of Los Angeles.
Over the past 14 years, attendance at DEAFestival Los Angeles has grown impressively. What started as a small gathering of some 200 people at a local parking lot has become a major event, attended by over 5,000 people annually. The event is held in September in celebration of “Deaf Awareness Month” and has a number of educational and networking events associated with raising awareness of this important event.