Organizers of silent dinner hope to raise awareness about ASL

KNOXVILLE —Johnson University’s American Sign Language group is hosting a silent dinner to bring awareness of the deaf community, and support deaf and partially deaf students, here at Johnson community.

This event will take place at 5:15 p.m., Friday, in the Gally Commons Private Dining Room No. 2.

A silent dinner is where people who are deaf, partially deaf or who know American Sign Language, gather for a meal and communicate entirely through ASL.

Bekah Ochs, a junior at Johnson, said that it is an excellent opportunity for people who are learning ASL to interact with individuals who are deaf.

“It’s an opportunity for people who are still learning to practice their skills, get over that fear and interact with deaf people,” Ochs said.

The ASL group is new to the JUTN campus and is not the same as the ASL chapel group.

It is made up of students and staff who either know sign language or are partially deaf themselves.

Ochs said that the ASL group began as an effort to raise ASL awareness and to plan the silent dinner.

This event is open to anyone whether they are fluent in ASL or just curious about learning.

“I’m thinking the vast majority will be fingerspelling it out, which is great,” Ochs said. “That’s the best way to learn is just jumping in.”

Ochs said it is best if participants at least know the alphabet so they can fingerspell.

There will be people at the dinner to answer questions about how to get more involved in learning ASL and getting involved with the deaf community at JUTN.

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