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Starbucks to open first-of-its-kind cafe for disabled people

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The deaf community is cheering the plan for a new coffee shop this fall in Washington D.C.

Starbucks is all about the changes lately. In addition to their decision to become more environmentally friendly by going plastic-straw-free, the famous coffee chain has also decided to promote diversity by opening their first ASL-fluent coffeehouse.

Though Starbucks has previously opened an ASL-friendly branch in Malaysia, this branch, which will open near Gallaudet University, will require all employees to be proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).

Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin tweeted out her support for the decision, saying that she “can’t wait to order my hot chai latte (non fat) in sign!”

Starbucks has said that they hope the new branch will also promote increased employment opportunities for individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Howard Rosenblum, executive for the National Association for the Deaf in the US, said to the Washington Post, “Starbucks has taken an innovative approach to incorporating deaf culture that will increase employment opportunities as well as accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.”

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