ASL workshop features poetry signing to encourage deaf awareness

By Jorge Vasquez

The Modern Language Lab hosted an American Sign Language (ASL) poetry workshop last Wednesday.

The workshop featured poetry signings and insight on Deaf culture from ASL professors Marc Bowman, Tomás Garcia and interpreter,            Rorri Burton.

Bowman signed the poem “So Happy and So Proud” by Scott Sabatini while Burton relayed his emotions to the room full of students, staff and faculty.

After, Bowman played an older video of him signing his poem “Courage Through Tough Times”.

The poetry served as “access to a new world for hearing people who may or may not have been exposed to the deaf world before. It provides something positive, written and visual as artistic expression for these people who perhaps have never seen a deaf person and ASL poetry,” said Bowman.

“We hope this gives them some awareness of what’s going on in the community and encourage them to learn ASL.” continued Bowman.

Bowman and Garcia provided hand-outs which answered frequently asked questions, such as “What is ASL?  How does ASL compare to spoken language? Is lip reading a better option for Deaf people?,” and contained visuals for the signs of letters and numbers.

Bowman and Garcia also established the difference between “deaf” and Deaf”; the former being someone who loses their hearing and has difficulty integrating into deaf culture as opposed to someone who was born deaf and has deep roots in the culture, they would be “deaf”.

The workshop ended in a Q & A and participants asked questions in English and ASL alike.

Currently, there aren’t more ASL workshops planned but students can request for another poetry signing at the Modern Language and ESL Lab in E3-170 or email instructional assistant, Yangok Chu at chuc2@elac.edu.

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