The District of Columbia has over 20,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing residents, many of whom use American Sign Language (ASL) as their main language. In honor of upcoming National Deaf History Month (March 13-April 15), and in order to create a more inclusive catalog of “things to do” that represents all Washingtonians, we wanted to highlight events that are conducted in ASL. For those wishing to learn more about ASL, there are many courses available.
1. Trivia. Red Bear Brewing Co. hosts DC’s only monthly trivia event performed in ASL (with English interpretation available). The next trivia night will happen on March 21.
2. Book clubs. The DC Library hosts a book club, on the second Monday of every month, that is facilitated in ASL. The next book club will meet on March 23 to discuss Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.
3. Poetry slams. Busboys and Poets sometimes hosts American Sign Language open mics, where performers are welcomed to share poems, songs, short skits, and jokes.
4. Art talks. The Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts art conversations about selected works from their collection. The conversations are presented in ASL with voice interpretation for hearing visitors. The next art conversation will happen on March 10. The National Gallery of Art offers tours led by deaf guides, in ASL with voice interpretation.
5. Movies and theater. DC Deaf and Moviegoers Allies sends a weekly newsletter of open captioned screenings in the Washington area, noting showtimes. Ford’s Theatre offers ASL interpretation for select performances for each production; the next is April 14 for “Grace.” Similarly, the Kennedy Center has a list of sign-interpreted performances.
6. Rock climbing. A rock-climbing Climb Deaf DC Facebook group has monthly ASL Climbing Day meet-ups around the DMV; the next will be on March 6, for Movement Columbia.
7. Eat and be merry. Grab a pizza at Mozzeria, which was founded to “provide customers a welcoming, memorable, and visual environment to experience Deaf culture while working to increase career placement opportunities for Deaf people.” Nearby, stop by Starbucks’ “signing store.”
8. Grab a beer. Head to Hyattsville to Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. which is owned and operated by alumni of Gallaudet University.