By Jesse Lewis, Project Director/ Deaf Bee Editor
This is an invitation to ASL students all across the country. Wherever you are, you are more welcome than you realize.
You know our Deaf Community loves social events. We set up pizza socials, movie socials, ice cream socials, game nights, and more. We create flyers and vlogs to invite everyone to join us.
This usually includes ASL students! If it’s not the type of event that would be appropriate for an ASL student to join, such as one where no voice interpretation is available for a complicated discussion, then usually there will be a mention of that fact on the flyer.
Most of the time, though, ASL students are welcome. We want you there because we want you to be inspired by our community and inspired by our American Sign Language.
We see you come to our events and so often hide in the corners, huddled together. Perhaps it is fear that keeps you in the corner, or perhaps you think you’re not welcome.
We understand the fear, but we welcome you anyway. We invite you to leave the false safety of your corners, where you talk with each other in voices, and join our tables. Let us get to know you. You can ask us questions and we can answer them.
Some of us will be patient and some of us will not. If you learn to pay attention to body language and facial expressions, and you notice who is trying to draw more conversation out of you, then you know who to chat with. If you’re sitting with someone who seems impatient because you’re a beginner, find another person to meet. Meet as many of us as you can.
When you’re really looking for that connection, you’re going to find those of us who are patient, and you’re going to build friendships through this shared language. We are there, but you won’t find us if you stay in your corners.
If you are really interested in learning ASL, then you’ll practice it whenever you have an opportunity. An ASL student coming to a deaf social and not socializing with a deaf person is someone who has let an opportunity pass by. Grab these opportunities.
We welcome you because we desire a world where we can communicate with most people. We wish everyone could sign. The fact that you signed up for an ASL class hopefully shows that you really are interested in our language. Show us by using it with us, instead of sitting on your hands in the corner. Don’t let fear cause you to hesitate. Don’t let doubt stop you.
Come on over to our tables.