Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Cerritos College celebrates Deaf Culture & Black History Month

Keyla+Figueroa+is+signing+her+life+style
Antonio Gonzalez Jr
Keyla Figueroa, a student at Cal State Northridge, majoring fashion design in theater, is signing her life obstacles and aspirations at Cerritos College on Feb 16.

Cerritos College supported the deaf culture and Black History Month on Feb. 16 in the Student Center called, “Young, Black, Gifted and Deaf.”

Keyla Figueroa (a dancer) and Dari Simon (a make-up artist) talked about their experiences being young, black, gifted and deaf.

Midway through the event, the audience got to ask questions to the two signers since students wanted to know their lives.

Figueroa, a student at Cal State Northridge, majoring in fashion design in theater, talked about her struggling relationship with her family, almost committing suicide and how she is back and better by setting more goals.

Figueroa also mentioned her aspirations of dancing since she’s been dancing her entire life.

Simon, a student at Cerritos College, majoring in fine arts, discussed her early struggles with her family, the current goals she has and the status of her mental health.

Simon is the only deaf person in her family and at first, she would feel left out because her family couldn’t understand her.

During the Q&A, a faculty member asked both signers a question if there were things they wished people knew better about them without making assumptions about who they were.

“People want to see my skills. They’re like oh you can’t really do XYZ. I’m like no I have this all in me, I have this artist’s craft,” Keyla said, “But people tend to not believe me, they assume that.”

“It’s important you know if people are saying I have this ability that you know, you encourage them and believe them and not demand to see that skill right there in front of you every time.”

“I think what people misunderstood about me is that because I am deaf I can’t do something like please,” Figueroa added, “Deaf can do anything that hearing people can do. That’s the most common misconception I would say.”

Another student who has a hearing impaired issue asked for advice on how to love oneself as for someone who is single.

Simon and Figueroa both gave a realistic answer. Simon answered first, “That is a really good question. Really … you need to appreciate yourself, love yourself and keep going. Treat yourself as someone special.”

Figueroa then wisely said, “That’s right, loving yourself is so important. Other people are great but you have to love yourself because at the end of the day that is who you are with …”

Simon & Figueroa both spoke about their life obstacles, favorite hobbies, relationships with family members and understanding of deaf culture as well as many other topics.

When the workshop was over, Rory, an ASL interpreter, at Cerritos College since 2018 was asked what others can other asl interpreters do when they don’t understand certain signers.

Rory said, “It’s important for interpreters to interpret for different kinds of people. Not just one type of signer. And two, also work on their skills.”

“Always be open to learning from different people […] because if you only interpret, for example, white deaf people, they sign differently from black deaf people. So … interpret[ing] for a variety of people and you’ll learn a variety of things.”

The next event is called “Base in Black Open Mic” and will take place on Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., in the Fine Arts 133 building.

There’s one more event after that one so make sure you look at the Black History Month flyer for more information.

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About the Contributor
Antonio Gonzalez Jr, Staff Writer
Antonio Gonzalez Jr is a staff writer for Talon Marks. Besides journalism, Antonio is an airplane technician who loves to travel around the world. He aspires to become a public relation representative for Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman or any other big cooperation. He hopes to transfer to Cal Poly.
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Cerritos College celebrates Deaf Culture & Black History Month