Thousands March For Celebration and Legislation Articles

The Federation of Deaf People
Press release

8th July 2003

On Saturday 5th July, almost four thousand Deaf people and their allies marched through London for British Sign Language (BSL).

This march was partly in celebration of the Government's recent announcement that it recognised BSL as a language in its own right, which was seen as an important step forward in the FDP's five-year campaign. However, this announcement has no force in law, so the march also pushed for a British Sign Language Act to ensure BSL is protected as a language, and give BSL users the legal right to use it, including within education.

The day's atmosphere was extremely lively, including a samba band, dancers and a huge 16-metre long BSL banner made by Deaf volunteer Millie Vadgama. Marchers arrived at Trafalgar Square for a rally featuring hard-hitting speeches from Deaf people, as well as BSL poetry and drama performances. The day came to a celebratory end when the samba band was joined on Trafalgar Square's plinth by Deaf people waving flares containing orange smoke, then many other Deaf adults and children alike got up too and danced.

"Thank you to all those who joined us on the day, especially the hard working volunteers who made the event happen," said FDP Chair, Lesley Knight. "We still need to keep pushing for legalisation of BSL, remembering the words 'united we stand, divided we fall.'"

It ain't over yet!

Notes for Editors:
More info/photos:
Lesley Knight: