Charlotte Deaf Community Bridges Communication Gap

CHARLOTTE, NC — The deaf community in Charlotte says it is time for more inclusion here in the Queen City.

Don’t let the quiet crowd in the back of Charlotte dive bar on Tuesdays trick you. A lot of conversation is happening there at Common Market in Plaza Midwood.

“We are building a foundation between deaf and the hearing world,” said Hope Turpin.
An interpreter helped WCCB Charlotte communicate.

The deaf community says it is marginalized in many aspects of everyday life in a world that caters to the hearing majority.

So, Turpin and Karen Trivette decided to bring those worlds together at Wine ‘N Sign in Plaza Midwood. People have a drink, learn some sign language and close the gap in communication.

“It would really help if people would try even doing basic signs,” said Mojave McCutchen.

Hearing people might take ordering a drink or food for granted. For some who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can be an anxious task involving pointing at menus and texting your order.

“It really depends on the waiter or who’s serving,” said McCutchen. “Have they not seen anybody deaf? Are they awkward? I mean, it really shows.”
Charlotte’s Wine ‘N Sign movement isn’t alone. Starbucks opened a signing store in D.C. last month.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Blaine Crockford.

Crockford says it could mean more jobs for the deaf community as the hearing world sees the possibilities.

“A lot of people can’t get jobs,” said Crockford. “They have to drop out. So, you know, but if deaf people have more experience, more exposure, it will create more opportunities for everybody.”

This group is ready for more Charlotte restaurants to catch up and teach employees basic signs.

“We really hope Charlotte can start something like that,” said Turpin.

You can learn sign language for free every Tuesday at 7:30 pm at the Common Market in Plaza Midwood.