Highlights of the National Conference Held at CSI
By: Philip Sanzone
The DeafNation Expo and Conference is the place to be for “knowledge, inspiration, and networking with others who are dedicated to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.”
Taking place in 1R at our very own CSI campus was a two day DeafNation event that invited people from all across the country.
The first day was an educational conference, and the second was more hands-on with different booths and vendors.
After hearing from some people who went to the first one, they said how lovely it was and each topic that was touched upon had such an impact on the deaf community.
Having people who talk about diversity in the community as well as workplace is amazing. Even speaking about the changes in the STEM workforce and how STEM should change along with that is enlightening to hear.
Mostly it was the booths that caught the eye with handcrafted items such as purses or necklaces. There was even wood with burned in designs; one being a starbucks design with signed letters.
There was even electronics booth showing off hearing aids as well as clocks. The venue even had music with a lot of bass; doing this helped them feel the music.
For someone who just got into asl with basic knowledge, many deaf people were understanding. They helped and tried to teach me along the way; one person gave me a wooden shaped heart with a sign on it.
The event served as a testament to the strong community deaf people have, and even for hearing folk it was a good learning experience as well as social environment. There was a booth full of amazing movies based on deaf characters or ideals.
They had learning books for young kids or just beginners, as well as a dictionary full of signs. There was a lot to choose from.
One even had exquisite art beautifully made and paintings framed wonderfully to boot. There was a lot to look for.
Plus, a religious booth as well as other organized booths that furthered the community were present. Even Sprint was there with a showfloor showing off accessibility for deaf people.
There was even a deaf history game show present at the event that had wonderful prizes. On top of that there was a traveler quiz that was run by Joel Barish the CEO of DeafNation, which ran the whole event.
It was an eye opening and exciting experience, in all honesty with just basic ASL skills it didn’t even feel like I wasn’t part of the conversation. Everytime I conversed it was a fluid and natural experience.
Even with low skills in a language or culture, by doing just a little research beforehand you can dive into the community.
If you can open your mind to something unique as this expo, you may be able to find something to cherish at the end of it.