Deaf Deaf World

One of the greatest impacts on my life has been the opportunity to learn ASL (American Sign Language) and to get to meet the wonderful Deaf community of Stillwater. Now, I am not the best signer and I am still learning, but this community has welcomed me and my other classmates with open arms and I want to extend this opportunity to you. On April 24th, 2019 at the Wesley Foundation the ASL department is hosting an event called Deaf Deaf World.

I know that is a Wednesday and classes/work may interfere BUT they are having multiple times for the event. They have events at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30, but if you can go please make sure to get there at the start time because they will go over the procedures before they begin. Please be courteous to not interrupt this event after it has already begun. Also, if you do come know that voices will be turned off after the event has started.

You’re probably all wondering what it’s about, right? Well, this event is an opportunity to allow hearing people to step into the shoes of many Deaf/deaf/hard of hearing* people for an hour. This event will walk people through the different modes of communication such as ASL (American Sign Language), PSE (Pigin Sign Language), SE (Signed English), fingerspelling, miming, and reading lips. You do not have to be versed in any of these to come and learn! As you navigate your way through these different ways to communicate you will be interacting with people acting as a judge, a bank teller, a teacher, and others you may regularly interact with.

Deaf Deaf World is one way to get to know the Deaf community, but there are so many more opportunities; OSU offers an ASL minor, monthly Silent Dinners held at the Presbyterian Church, Deaf Coffees, and many other events. My life has been deeply impacted by the stories I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, the conversations I have had, and the genuine laughter I have shared with my new friends. Even when I could barely sign my name, or when I signed the wrong thing (throwback to me accidentally signing that I binge drank growing up instead of saying I played soccer), and so many more things that could have hindered my experiences. Every time I messed up, everyone I met waved me on, asked again, waited on me, and I kept trying to learn and know them. They wanted to know me, and they wanted me to know their language. I have learned more than I ever expected to in the last year over advocacy, injustice, untold history, the pain that comes from denial of access to language, and the resilience of the Deaf community.

I invite you to come and experience this for yourself.


*Deaf with a capital 'D' signifies that a person is within the communtity and the culture, deaf is just a term to state hearing loss.