Learn something new in silence at Deaf Celebration Day

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A man having a conversation with a young girl in sign language.

A man having a conversation with a young girl in sign language.

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A man having a conversation with a young girl in sign language.

Siera Matthews, Staff Writer

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If you didn’t know about Deaf Celebration Day before, the small but outgoing community of deaf students at San Diego Mesa College will make sure you will for the next years to come.
March 7 marked the 30th anniversary of the Deaf President Now (DPN) movement. Upon attending the event that took place in front of the Mesa Bookstore, you were directed to tent number 1 that consisted of a brief background and start of the Deaf Rights movement. It was explained in the short film “Deaf Mosaic” that the rally for deaf equality originated at Gallaudet University when students felt they weren’t being represented on their campus. For 124 years, the university had history of a hearing president delegate decisions for a university that was designed for deaf and hard of hearing students. After the outrage, a rally broke out of thousands of students calling for the elected president in 1988, Dr. Elisabeth Zinser, a hearing person, to step down. This movement ended in success and the first deaf president was elected, Dr. I. King Jordan.
Professor and Counselor of San Diego Mesa College, Judy Sundayo, helped put the event together after the suggestion from American Sign Language Professor Leslie Styles- who was also a student involved in the DPN rally. The event was sponsored by the Committee for Diversity Action, Inclusion & Equity (CDAIE), the Student Health Services and the Disability Support Programs & Services Department. Sundayo shared that although the deaf student community is small, they still deserved recognition on campus. “The whole idea was to help hearing individuals understand a little bit about what people in the deaf community go though.”
At the next stations, students were prompted to learn basic sign language and the alphabet to spell out their names. Once you learned the desired words, it was encouraged that you have a conversation with an actual deaf person. Although some students struggled, it was expected. The difficulty in trying to express yourself with someone who doesn’t hear mimicked the same obstacles deaf people constantly go through when trying to communicate with someone who does hear.
The event was also catered by Feast on This, a deaf owned catering company. The business began in 2000, traveling around Southern San Diego producing the highest quality gourmet food by Chef Matthew Baker.
As the event concluded the deaf student population as well as their supportive professors at San Diego Mesa seem hopeful that this event will open new doors to new possibilities. The new awareness to deaf rights and the recognition of deaf students was what Sundayo hoped would be achieved. “I think that their will be more inclusion and I think the next time one of our students encounters another student who is deaf, they can say something like “hi”, “hello” or “thank you”.” Sundayo also said that deaf rights are human rights and that as human beings we all need to work together, for each other and for what is right.

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Siera Matthews, Sports Writer/Staff Writer

Siera is a 20-year old full time student majoring in Journalism with a specific interest in Broadcast Journalism. Since this is her last semester at San...

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Learn something new in silence at Deaf Celebration Day