American Sign Language Club hosts Deaf Coffee Night


Terrel Emerson

Rennie Montes, (left), signs to ASL President Alexandra Newport and biology major Kevin Passi. Montes is the brother of ASL professor Sylvia Yingst. Photo by: Terrel Emerson/TM

Terrel Emerson

The sound of birds chirping in the early morning wind or the pitter-patter of rain drops crashing off the window seal on a gusty night.

These are some sounds that everyday people have grown accustomed to hearing however, not everybody has the luxury of hearing according to American Sign Language Club President Alexandra Newport.

“When I started the club the purpose was for us to volunteer for fellow students to find out about ASL classes on campus, ” Newport said. “It’s just important to bring awareness to ASL and basically have fun with it.”

Friday April 29, the Cerritos College ASL Club held its second “Deaf Coffee Night: an ASL chat” at Starbucks in Long Beach.

Biology major Kevin Passi was in attendance for the event and felt it was important for people to come out and support the hearing impaired.

“The importance of signing is that it helps show others that we are willing to communicate with deaf people and the hard of hearing and we are making time and effort to communicate with them,” he said.

Passi took two years of ASL studies.

Newport is in the fourth level of ASL studies and she is actively trying to enhance the program by having these types of events.

Jesse Brizuela is in the same class as Newport and happened to work at a Starbucks and was willing to host the event at his workplace.

“He was getting a lot of deaf customers and when they found out he could sign they got excited so he’s just trying to do more for them,” Newport said.

Brizuela was not in attendance due to illness.

ASL professor Sylvia Yingst’s brother Rennie Montes came out to support the ASL Club despite not being apart of it.

Montes was born deaf and wanted to show people that there are ways to survive in the world despite being hearing impaired.

“I was born deaf, I grew up and didn’t feel connected with the deaf community,” Montes said through signing.

“I learned oralism and sign language through friends but it didn’t feel natural so I went to [Golden West] College for ASL interaction,” he added.

Newport is looking to have these meetings on the last Friday of the month.

The location is not subject to change from the Starbucks on East Stearns Street.

“Future plans I would have to say would be to find more volunteering opportunities and to continue having events at school and participate,” Newport said.

The ASL Club is in the process of working on workshops at Cerritos College.