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Delivering News From The Source

Diversity and deaf culture are heard loud and clear on Waldorf campus

By Karissa Vetsch

Imagine wanting to experience music, the emotional and psychological effects, and having a loss of hearing. Amber Galloway-Gallego is an American Sign Language (ASL) concert interpreter for hip hop, rap and rock concerts. Galloway visited Waldorf College for a presentation on Diversity/ American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Culture on Oct. 14.

In the Waldorf Atrium, Galloway-Gallego spoke on ASL and deaf culture and how the opportunities are different compared to the hearing community. An example she gave was that a large majority of deaf people can take up to two hours calling a doctor to see if they have interpreters for them and often are turned away. Another emphasis about the different cultures she gave was as students and future business owners, she asks that those businesses and companies make sure to offer assistance and opportunities to those in the deaf culture.

The students at the presentation seemed most excited to watch her sign to popular songs. She asked for two volunteers to come and help her as she taught the audience about interpreting songs in ASL. She explained that signing is more than just wild hand gestures and rhythm. She had the volunteers use their facial expressions and specific hand movements to mean different things. She asked the audience to plug their ears and just interpret the song based off her and the volunteer’s signs and facial expressions. Even though many students are not fluent in ASL, she taught the audience a little bit of how to sign that night.

After Galloway-Gallego’s teaching on how to sign to music, she showed the audience four songs that she interpreted too. For some, this was the highlight of the night. For others, the education on hearing impaired culture was what they enjoyed the most.

“I personally went to the presentation because it was the first time in a long time here at Waldorf where actions would speak louder than words during a presentation,” said senior communications major Kristen Wilke. “Sign language is not just a form of communication but a gift to those who understand it, and have ability to use it and teach it. I thought it would be fascinating to see in a much more modern day atmosphere. I liked that she shared why she loved it, but also gave us insight about hearing impaired rather than just a show of her talent. I came away not only entertained but educated.”