One of the greatest struggles of the Deaf in Jamaica is lack of access to information. The local news has neither subtitles nor an interpreter. So, my Deaf friends are often left in the dark as to what’s going on around them.
In response to this travesty, my friend, CODA (child of Deaf adults), and JSL interpreter Antoinette Aiken came up with the brilliant idea of giving news bites in JSL for the past week, posting them on a new YouTube channel so that Deaf people all across the island have at least some access to the hottest recent news.
With Antoinette as newscaster and me as cameraman and video editor, we’ve been managing to get a new video out every Sunday, at around 5:00 pm. It’s sometimes tedious work, but we both enjoy it. It’s sometimes the highlight of my week, and I’m learning more about video editing all the time.
Of course, this does not mean that the media should shirk their responsibility to ensure access for the Deaf. Knowledge is power; and access to information is the right of the Deaf.
I also plan to start using these videos as interpreting practice, because Antoinette, though hearing, signs very Deaf! (She’s awesome! She’s a CODA, after all!)
I’ve been featured in one video to date, requesting feedback on what we’ve done so far:
If you are learning JSL and want some practice, or are Deaf, please watch and enjoy!