Sign language in Spanish


Left to right: Felix, Mr. Sanchez, Mrs. Sanchez, and Hector. Enrique in the front.

Irma Sanchez has three young sons who love football and video games, so when they’re all home, visitors might be surprised by what they hear: absolute silence.

Sanchez’s three sons were all born Deaf and must communicate using American Sign Language (ASL). Inspired by her journey to learn ASL, Sanchez started the group “Deaf Latinos” – a free weekly class at her South Los Angeles home where Sanchez teaches ASL in Spanish.

Felix was eight months old when Sanchez had him tested for hearing loss. A red flag went up for Sanchez when she noticed that her child wasn’t turning around for loud noises, like when the vacuum cleaner was on. Doctors diagnosed him with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss – he was deaf. Sanchez was shocked to learn Felix was deaf. “I recall coming home and sitting down and thinking to myself, ‘Okay, so I have a deaf child, what am I going to do?’” [Read more…]

No home to call my own

The author of this piece has requested to remain anonymous.

By a student at Crenshaw High School

Do you know how it feels to lose a parent not to death but the government taking them away? Or to have to grow up with people you know but really don’t like? Well, I don’t live with either of my parents or my family members; instead I had to join someone else’s. None of us are really related but somehow we call each other family. The government or foster care want us to call each other family, but the people I live with are not.

I had a family but the police took my mother away, and they have had her for two years now. They just keep changing her court date and blowing her off because she was not born here. And my father lives in another state, calls every now and then but I don’t feel like he’s doing all he can. They want me to call the house we live in my home but yet I was not born into it, I did not buy or choose it.

I live with a lady, her spoiled daughter who is 11 years old (but thinks she’s 30.), and her husband who has a problem with yelling. There are also two foster boys who are 13 and 7 years old. The 7-year-old is what society calls mentally challenged and the 13 years old is clinically depressed and has to take pills. Then you have my sister still in state of shock by the death of her father and for some reason, hates everyone in the house. I think she is like this because she lost her dad at an early age. She’s depressed and should probably take pills for help.

Then you have me. Born in Kingston, just turned 17 years old and I feel like I’m grown because as long as I have lived, I have been taking care of everyone else. I’m always cooking, cleaning, yelling or mad, because I have a life but can’t live it. I have to watch the kids and the truth is I don’t really like little kids.

When I grow up I want to be an attorney for children or a social worker because I don’t want other kids to have to go through things like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people solve problems and doing important things for others, but chores aren’t the same as my work at home. All those kids and it’s only me doing house work. I have to get rid of my anger and problems by listening to music because I can’t do anything else.

I have to fake like I belong here but the government doesn’t want me because I wasn’t born here. I know the truth and all the answers to everyone’s questions about my mother’s situation but I’ve been told that if the truth is told, it might kill her.

I’m the girl who wants to show my emotions but I’m told not to and that I have to be strong. The girl who had it all until the justice system came and made it into their own story, something they would like to read. That story was once someone’s life, my life, and now it’s a memory, a dream I’m waiting on to see come through.

My life now is just waking up to yelling and arguing, going to school and getting in trouble for something stupid. Coming home and forgetting to do something and getting in trouble for it. My social worker says I have to go to school and get good grades but how am I to do that when I always have to go to court for paper work? She also gave me anger management classes but I don’t think I have any problems –it’s just I don’t like when people say they are going to do something and then don’t.

On Sundays I wait by the phone to get a chance to speak to my mother. I’m waiting on the call and to hear my mom say the judge has released her, but each time it’s her saying they pushed her date back.

I’m doing all I can so that I can join the justice system and try and change some things about the way it works because these people in charge have power and don’t know how to use it. They stay they are helping me by doing all this but when I ask to get a job, ask for help or ask for anything, nothing ever gets done. I just want everything to go back to the way it was, the way things are supposed to be.

A big brother lost to violence

By Theresa Olsteen, Crenshaw High School

I used to think that the one thing I could never speak about was the death of my brother. When it first happened, I couldn’t talk about it with anyone and didn’t want to think about it. Out of all of my family members I think that it hit my mom, his twin, and myself the hardest.

I didn’t believe it until the funeral. Although I cried when they told me he was gone, his death became real at his funeral.

His death wasn’t his fault. He went to the store with one of his friends earlier in the evening before the incident. His friend got in an altercation with a Hispanic man and that turned into a fight. From what I heard, my brother’s friend Red won the fight and the man left with cuts and bruises. After the fight my brother Kevin and Red returned to our house where they hung out.

After a couple of hours Kevin decided that he needed to go back to the store and his twin Keith told him that he shouldn’t. Knowing Kevin he didn’t listen. When he got back to the store the Hispanic man and one of his friends had been waiting there for him. Before he walked in the store the men shot him three times in the chest with a shoot gun. Kevin died right there on the spot.

The reason why I think that it hit me so hard is because we were really close. I talked to him about everything and he always listened. He was there for me when I thought that I was all by myself. He was my oldest brother and although he was mean at times, he was really nice. As days went by after his death I thought that I couldn’t live without him. He was the person that I would turn to when things got hard and rocky for me but I had to deal with it alone because he was gone.

Most of the time I isolated myself from everyone and everything. My mom thought that I was never going to talk again.

The way that I got through it alone was by picking up a book and sitting on our roof, where I was by myself, to read. It kind of got my mind off of it but I still couldn’t stop thinking about him.

The first person that I started talking to after the whole incident was his twin, my other brother Keith. I knew that we had to be going through the same thing because they where each other’s shadow. They went everywhere together.

After he and I started talking I started feeling better and now I feel like I can talk about it freely. Thank you for listening.