Speaking inclusivity through Hear Me Out: The Road to Advocating for Deaf Rights and Inclusivity
To contribute to advocacies that transform and enlighten Lasallians in the process, the DLSU-D Communication and Media Society (COMMSOC) in partnership with the Federation of the Deaf Cavite – Province (FDCP) held “Hear Me Out: The Road to Advocating for Deaf Rights and Inclusivity” at the Luis Aguado Viewing Room on March 13. The seminar-workshop aimed to educate students about the Deaf rights movement and to hold a workshop to teach basic sign language.
According to COMMSOC project head Cherra Yebron, the event aimed to reach out to Lasallians who have the heart and willingness to learn basic sign language and potentially be of help to the community. “It is important na matutunan nila ‘yong basic knowledge, also for us to communicate well with them.” Yebron said.
Deaf awareness for society
Philippine Association of Interpreters for Deaf Empowerment sign language interpreter and dgreenboard creator Rosalynn Garcia was the first speaker. She started her talk by discussing the timeline of the life of Yobbo, a child born deaf due to German measles her mother bore during pregnancy. As the event went on, Mrs. Garcia revealed that Yobbo is her daughter who now lives well on her own with fellow deaf people.
As Garcia spoke, interpreter Ember Parpa performed the sign language for the deaf participants in audience. They also taught the participants the “silent clap” that deaf people do, wherein audience then exhibited the silent clap each time they needed to clap thereafter.
The second part of the event was the basic sign language workshop spearheaded by Mark Kelvin Marcial, the President of FDCP, who first introduced the history of their own non-profit organization through sign language, whilst Parpa was his interpreter.
By using sign language, he told the audience about the deaf awareness, leaving the audience with the question: “What’s your first impression of a deaf person? What do you think of deaf people when you saw or met them for the first time?” He then debunked hearsays about them, reminding the audience what is the right meaning of deaf and what would be the right term for the deaf people, as they have their own language, culture, and identity. He also mentioned the acceptable and unacceptable terms for the deaf, as they be called deaf and hard-of-hearing, instead of deaf-and-dumb, deaf-mute, pipi (mute).
Starting with the basic alphabet, they moved on to numbers from one (1) to 20 and numbers raised to ten.
This event urged the audience to broaden their knowledge and expand their perspectives. As per Yebron, “we should find ways on how we should help these people (disabled) not only to the deaf but also to the others (experiencing adversities).”
Although Hear Me Out taught the audience what they needed to learn about sign language and deaf awareness, the advocacy shouldn’t stop there. As Nery Balatay, President of COMMSOC stated, “They have to see and understand na it doesn’t stop here, na kailangan paglabas nila they also have to learn how to communicate well with [the deaf].”