Each year at A Day of Merrymaking, we’re lucky to work with partners who are making Memphis a better place. We’d like to introduce you to a couple of this year’s community partners and invite you to stop by their booths at the event and say hello.
Interpreting Merrymaking: DeafConnect of the Mid-South
The performance stage features dance, a dog fashion show, a lyrical folk duo, and reggae rock. How do members of our community with hearing loss experience entertainment based largely in sound? That’s where DeafConnect of the Mid-South comes in.
Thanks to a grant from Arts Memphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission, DeafConnect will have a representative performing ASL interpretation of all the entertainment, as well as a booth to interact more directly. Director of Interpreting Services Randy Chappell says, “Music doesn’t interest everyone in the deaf community, but it can be interesting, especially if it incorporates action–think about how physical Elvis and Prince were.” He says that the best interpretation is as much of a performance as the musicians create. “Interpreters capture the essence of a song. Some of the best interpretation of the national anthem looks nothing like you would expect.”
Summer Chappell, who regularly performs interpretation of staged events, says, “We take as much time to prepare as possible; it’s like practicing for a play. We study the lyrics to interpret the meaning. Our goal is to pass the message along.”
Interpreters will flank the stage throughout the day, and you can also find them in their booth offering information about services for individuals with hearing loss. The DeafConnect team also invites everyone to its Deaf Family Reunion next weekend, Saturday, October 13 at Mud Island. The free event includes food trucks, kids activities, resources, and education. The event will also help to educate hearing people about what it’s like to have hearing loss, including the teaching of some basic sign language skills.
Empowering the Next Generation: Memphis Empower Coalition
Right next to DeafConnect’s booth you’ll find young people who are ready to get their generation involved with shaping the future. But you don’t have to be a member of Generation Z to take advantage of their efforts. Joseph Oliva and Tahira Baig of Memphis Empower Coalition will be offering voter registration at their booth, and are eager to walk prospective voters through the process. They’ll offer bilingual services, and the team from DeafConnect can offer an assist to registrants with hearing loss.
Memphis Empower Coalition is a nonpartisan organization primarily made up of high school juniors and seniors. It evolved from 2017’s Women’s March as a way to get youth more involved with local affairs and to help government more accurately reflect the constituents it serves.
The deadline to register to vote in November’s elections is Tuesday, October 9, so this is the final weekend to register or change your address. The Memphis Empower team can assist in this easy process. And for those too young to vote, there will be information on how to get involved with joining the coalition and making a difference in other ways.