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Deaf Jam; Raising awareness towards the deaf community

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By Michael Aaron Coopersmith | mcoopersmith@radford.edu

Deaf Jam could be best described as an event where powerful words did not fall on deaf ears.

Deaf Jam took place in front of the Bonnie on April 5, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In these four hours, it was full of 15 performances that encompassed from interruptive dance to poetry translated into sign-language to the finale consisting of a group song done by the members of the American Sign Language Club.

At the beginning of Deaf Jam, a few performances were of hit songs interrupted into sign-language. This was an interesting strategy to make sign language more familiar to the present crowd, and it kept up an energetic vibe which is crucial for events to keep their current crowd entertained.

Meanwhile, a variety of games were placed around the Bonnie to pass the time during the breaks in-between the ASL Club member’s performances. The club also sold food and t-shirts to raise money.

The ASL Club had a small table that was full of information on the club and future events. Each member working Deaf Jam was amiable and made the event more efficient with their hard work.

Overall, Deaf Jam’s whole atmosphere created a certain feeling of energy that would attract any passers-by to it. Even during the breaks, the same energy that I felt during the past performance did not leave the crowd.

This effect was most appreciated by the club members running it since they had done these prior several times during the spring semester with not the same results. The vice president of the ASL Club, Jordan Bennett, was most pleased to have a much more massive turn out for Deaf Jam.

After an interview with Bennett, she explained the importance of the event and how it is the first step to battling the stigma that may follow those who are deaf or partial hearing loss. Bennet, herself is partially deaf which gives her a better understanding of the sigma that deaf or partially deaf people are of lesser intelligence or capability to take care of themselves.

With the success of this event, the students of Radford might now see those that are deaf or partially deaf in a different light.

Deaf Jam’s success was significant to the club and introduced people to those that might be overlooked. This event shined a light on them, and their passionate voices were heard and will be remembered.

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Photo Credit: (Jordan Bennett – Staff Photographer)

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