Editor’s note: Activist Sonny Wasilowski has worked for a long time on legislation requiring that closed captioning be mandated on televisions in public places. He worked with Rep. Brian Daniels, (R-Faribault) on the legislation, which passed the House and Senate and went to Gov. Tim Walz for his signature. The closed captioning mandate in public places takes effect August 1, 2024. And while Access Press typically does not publish poetry, we are making an exception for this very creative commentary.
In silence’s embrace, I dwell,
A poet who cannot hear the knell,
But through my hands, the words arise,
A dance of verses, a gentle surprise.
Long at last, a change does bloom,
In Minnesota’s land, a welcomed room,
Where televisions sing a newfound tune,
Closed captions ablaze, they shall assume.
Oh, Minnesota, radiant and true,
Your heart embraces the deafened few,
No longer shall we strain our sight,
For words shall dance in the glowing light.
In every home, in every abode,
The screen becomes a language’s ode,
Captions unfurled, a bridge of words,
A symphony of silence, soaring like birds.
No longer shall the dialogue hide,
In muffled whispers, our hearts confide,
Expressions unveiled, every line,
Eyes and hands intertwine.
For the deaf and hard of hearing,
A gift bestowed, forever endearing,
Equal access to stories told,
No barriers, no secrets to hold.
With gratitude, we embrace this decree,
Minnesota’s mandate, a victory decree,
Long at last, the captions rise,
In unity, our spirits shall harmonize.
So let us rejoice, with grateful hearts,
For this landmark step, where inclusion starts,
In Minnesota’s tapestry, a thread is sewn,
A world of words, forever known.
Wasilowski is a self-advocate from Faribault.