Published in the March 29, 2017 issue of The Bells
Deaf Awareness Month is here and the campus’ Sign Language program will be hosting Deaf Awareness Week (DAW), March 28-30.
The week of events promotes awareness of the deaf community, what deaf culture looks like, and what the deaf community values.
It also encourages students on campus to get involved by taking American Sign Language classes and going out to personally interact with deaf people.
“There is a group of people that the world forgets to recognize as a community,” said Dr. Parker Kennedy, the ASL professor here on campus. “The deaf community is one of the most unreached people groups— that right there says a lot, and should be especially important to a community like UMHB.”
In the past years the sign language team has gone to deaf churches, Deaf Expo, deaf chats, and visited a deaf-owned business in Austin called Crepe Crazy.
Throughout the week, the team will have a booth in Bawcom from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. for any students who have questions about the deaf community or culture.
On March 28, there will be an ASL movie night showing the story of the deaf wrestler, The Hammer. The movie will show the hearing what it is like growing up deaf in a hearing world.
On March 29, during the ONE service, a music interpreter will be on stage signing throughout the session.
Lastly, they will be hosting a wax museum on the second floor of Bawcom about significant people in the deaf community from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on March 30.
Senior speech communications major, Briana Hennington, has participated in DAW for the past four years. She is now a teaching assistant in ASL and helped coordinate this year’s event with the other two TAs.
“It’s important for everyone to know about the deaf community. They aren’t just a group of people who can’t hear,” said Hennington. “They have their own culture, language, values, and tradition just like any other people group. I think students can get a better understanding of that from Deaf Awareness Week.”
In the past four years, Hennington found a passion in the deaf community.
“I always look forward to DAW because I get to spend time talking about what I love, and I also get to advocate for them, which is just as important,” she said.
Organizers of Deaf Awareness Week hope to spread an understanding and acceptance of the deaf community, and encourage students to learn new things about deaf culture.