Rowan, R-Hampshire, was one of the recipients of the Governor’s Civil Rights Day Award, which specifically honored her for her work sponsoring legislation to help deaf and hard-of-hearing children, legislation aimed to help families of children with Multiple Sclerosis, and legislation recognizing Moyamoya Day in West Virginia.
Rowan received a medallion and a certificate from the governor’s office during the 15th Annual Civil Rights Day ceremony, hosted at the Beni Kedem Shrine Temple in Charleston on Aug. 2. The event was hosted by the Governor’s Office, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, and the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.
Rowan is passionate about bringing awareness to the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind and since she was first elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2004, has invited students from the school visit the Capitol to perform for the Legislature.
“When I was younger, we would pass the school and I would think, what a beautiful place,” Rowan said. “Now, I realize that the beauty is within with the students who go there. My fight has been to protect and enhance the lives of those children and for the entire deaf and blind community.”
Rowan has sponsored legislation including House Bill 4223 during the last legislative session, which aimed to develop a resource for parents of deaf and hard-of-hearing children regarding the best path to follow when deciding the best means of communication for their children including technical devices and sign language.
Rowan also was the lead sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 19, designating May 6 as Moyamoya Awareness Day. Moyamoya is a rare neurovascular condition affecting children and adults where the walls of the internal arteries that supply blood to the brain become thickened and narrowed, reducing blood flow to the brain and increasing risk of transient ischemic attacks and strokes.
Rowan said a West Virginia Schools of the Deaf and Blind student who had Moyamoya informed Rowan of the condition, hoping to bring awareness.
“I wanted awareness of her disease,” Rowan said. “Now, this something that will be recognized every year.”
Last year, Rowan was awarded the 2017 President’s Award from the West Virginia Association for the Deaf.
Nine were honored during the 15th Annual Civil Rights Day ceremony, including two other delegates—Delegate Barbara E. Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, and Delegate Jill Upson, R-Jefferson.
Fleischauer was honored for her work sponsoring legislation affecting women, children, civil rights, veterans, health care, and disabled West Virginians.
Upson was honored for her work on issues including education reform, ethics reform, addiction, and criminal justice reform.
“The Human Rights Commission is honored to be able to recognize these people for their contributions to human rights and in setting an example,” said Cameron McKinney, acting executive director of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission.