UCR Should Offer ASL!

For almost 20 years I have been a part of a culture that no one really talks about, and not because they can’t hear or speak, but simply because they do not receive the recognition I know they deserve. 


Since the day I was born, I was raised into the world of sign language and silence. With my mother being deaf, it was difficult for me to speak at school and I was constantly being made fun of for being the weird girl who couldn’t talk. I only knew how to talk with my fingers and that made my classmates uncomfortable. They were weirded out that I was able to communicate with my body and not with my mouth like a “normal” person. 


(Photo courtesy of Fresno State)


I grew so ashamed of myself and the community I was born into, that I decided to hide that ability. For years, whenever I went out with my mother in public I would just smile and nod because I didn’t like the pity stares that everyone gave me because they thought I couldn’t speak. 


But I refused to be pressured into denying myself an enormous part of who I am, so I just did it anyways- whenever, wherever. I made sure everyone knew I could sign. 


It was hilarious to go into the grocery store with my mom and have the cashiers point at things and slowly mouth one bag or two? And each time I responded, the look on their faces would always make my mother and I laugh. 


Sign language is such a proud feat for me. It's similar to those who dance and tell a story with their bodies, only I dance with my fingers. It’s a great feeling that I think more people should experience. 


(Photo courtesy of Spiderum)


With such an immense pride for my culture, when I heard that the ASL club at UCR was petitioning for official courses to be established, I knew I had to lend my full support. 


All UCR students know the famous R’ symbol around campus. We use it to show our support at games and rallies. It is our tartan soul! But yet the school does not recognize where that most famous R’ symbol came from: ASL.


(Photo courtesy of UCRiverside)


Even acclaimed basketball player, who we all knew and loved, who just recently passed away, Kobe Bryant, used this famous R’ sign at the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four back in 2018. The R’ sign is the school’s very soul, and so it should be recognized for what it truly is, a part of deaf culture. 


And so here I am rallying the troops to, at the very least, sign a petition, it can go a long way! So sign the petition, for the heart and soul of UCR, and why not join the ASL club while you’re at it!