UK Happenings

CI Honors Virginia Moore, Communicator of the Year and Kentucky’s COVID-19 ASL Interpreter

Virginia Moore
Virginia Moore

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 4, 2021) ­— The University of Kentucky's College of Communication and Information's (CI) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and American Sign Language & Deaf Culture Club (ASLDCC) will welcome certified sign language interpreter Virginia Moore — Kentucky's Communicator of the Year for 2021 — on Tuesday, Oct 5.

The event, “Virginia Moore: Communicating For All Kentuckians,” will begin at 5 p.m. in the UK Athletics Auditorium at the William T. Young Library. Moore will speak about accessibility and inclusivity during a global pandemic. An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will be provided.

Moore is the current executive director of the Kentucky Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (KCDHH). For many Kentuckians she became a familiar name, and sight, as she appeared on screen interpreting Gov. Andy Beshear’s daily COVID-19 briefings. Moore advocated for the nearly 700,000 Kentuckians who are deaf and hard of hearing and requested the governor utilize an interpreter at his briefings, marking the first time that any Kentucky governor had done so.

The governor’s briefings were a steadfast component of Kentucky’s fight against coronavirus and Moore’s presence was an unmissable addition to the effort. The Kentucky District of the National Speech and Debate Association recognized Moore as Communicator of the Year for her commitment to ensuring deaf and hard of hearing Kentuckians had equal access to coronavirus updates at a most critical time for the state.

Born into a family with deaf parents and siblings, Moore learned ASL as her first language. She graduated from Indiana State University and holds the highest level of interpreter certification from the National Association of the Deaf as well as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf National Interpreter Certification. Moore joined KCDHH as the executive director’s interpreter and has worked with the agency for 25 years. In that time she has witnessed the enhancement of resources and implementation of new technologies for deaf and hard of hearing Kentuckians, including captioning services for all state agencies.

Moore continues to be involved with DeaFestival - Kentucky, a biennial event and cultural program that celebrates the diversity, art and language of the deaf and hard of hearing community. She has also provided interpreting services for the USA Deaf Sports Federation, the United States Deaflympic Committee and the Kellogg Foundation.

“Not only did Ms. Moore help bridge the gap in accessibility, she was an advocate and a voice for others. She brought forth much awareness to interpreting services; with many individuals desiring to learn ASL, pursue careers as interpreters, be advocates for the deaf community, among so many others,” said Courtney Martin, president, ASLDCC. “We cannot thank her enough for not only what she has done during COVID-19 but what she continues to do each and every day. She is and will continue to be an inspiration to us, and so many others.”

The event honoring Moore is a capstone of CI DEI’s programming to highlight deaf awareness in line with Deaf Awareness Month, which is celebrated annually in September, and is a collaboration between CI DEI and ASLDCC that highlights UK’s ongoing commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

This event is free and open to the public. A Zoom link will be provided here.

For more information and accommodation requests please contact Kyra Hunting at kyra.hunting@uky.edu.

The CI DEI Committee also thanks UK College of Education’s Kentucky Deaf/Blind Project.

About American Sign Language & Deaf Culture Club (ASLDCC)

ASLDCC is an organization on campus focused on promoting ASL proficiency while also educating members about deaf culture and raising awareness about issues facing the deaf community. ASLDCC partners with organizations on campus and in the Lexington community to share their mission and help others expand their knowledge of both ASL and deaf culture.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.