March 20, 2018

Mesa College Celebrates 30 Years of the Deaf Community

By Office of Communications

deaf celebration day

On March 7, the Mesa College celebration of Deaf Day took place in the Sunrise Plaza. The event commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the 1988 “Deaf President Now” student protest at Gallaudet University, leading to the first Deaf President of that institution since it was established in 1864. During the event, Mesa students learned lessons of silence, and the privilege attached to those without hearing disabilities.

The event had three different tents where students, faculty, and staff learned about various experiences from the deaf community. The first tent showed a short clip, “Deaf Mosaic”, from the student protest at Gallaudet University where Leslie Styles, a Mesa faculty member, had been present. Styles spoke about her experience as the clip showed the students protesting for the rights of deaf students 30 years ago.

Students also had the experience to be part of the deaf community. In the second tent, people were able to simulate going to four different locations, such as the doctor’s office or a coffee house. There, each person picked up a card and learned how to sign the words needed to visit that location – without any verbal communication allowed. The purpose was to highlight the struggle of communicating using only nonverbal methods. In the third tent, students were able to share their thoughts and feelings about the event, and many showed discomfort in taking verbal communication for granted.

After sharing the feelings and thoughts on the event, participants were served a gourmet lunch. One student during the discussion realized the struggle of not being able to hear and said, “It made me nervous not to be able to use my words, and it shows that I take for granted that I can hear and communicate verbally.”

Later on that afternoon, there was a Deaf Panel Discussion followed by a Deaf Poetry Performance by Mesa College ASL students.

For more information on ASL resources at Mesa College, please contact the Department Chair, Joseph Halcott at

Tags: Deaf Celebration Day, Deaf Day, ASL Students, ASL

Additional Information


Jennifer Nichols Kearns
Director of Communications
(619) 388-2759