DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas August 2022

Joel Barish hosted the 4th DeafNation World Expo & Conference at the Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 1-4, 2022. About 15,000 Deaf people from around the world, including Deaf celebrities such as Daniel Durant, Troy Kotsur, Renca Dunn, and Wawa attended the event. There were fourteen sponsors and three partners. The sponsors were OmniBridge, Deaf Bible Society, Global VRS, ZVRS and Purple, T-Mobile Accessibility, Tive, Heart Cruises, Sorenson, SComms, CSD, Convo, Ava, and Nagish. The partners were RID, CEASD, and National Black Advocates. There were around 100 booths and 45 shows. There were also various Deaf businesses that sold shirts, arts, and many more.

MONDAY, AUGUST 1

DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas wristband

  •   8:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Exhibitors Set-Up Day
  •   12:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Registration/Wristband pickup @ Bally’s Event Center                                                                                                                        

Deaf people lined up to get their wristbands (if they had already registered prior to the event) or to register at the event if they have not already. The wristband served as ticket to enter the event for free. Later that day, from 8pm-11pm, there was a DeafNation Kick-Off Party with Wawa 10th Anniversary at Chateau Rooftop. ZVRS and Purple sponsored this Kick-Off Party. The performers were Wawa, DJ Nicar, Beautiful the Artist, Sydney Riley, Sho’roc, Jake, Orl B Tha Coda, and Renca Dunn.

 

TUESDAY, AUGUST 2

Event Schedule
  • 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Registration & Exhibit Hall Open
  • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Conference Sessions
  • 5:30 PM: Deaf Poker Tour #52
  • 8 PM – 10 PM: Sorenson event at Bally’s Indigo Bar Lounge
Conference and Entertainment Schedule
  • 9:00 am-9:30 am: DeafNation Videos
  • 9:30 am-10:00 am: What every Deaf Person should know about Cancer By Shelia Hartigan
  • 10:00 am-10:30 am: Disability & Special Needs Planning Made Easy By Andre Sam
  • 10:30 am-11:00 am: The Archipelago of Indonesia and the Deaf Community By Surya Putra Sahetapy
  • 11:00 am-11:30 am: Coffee Chat with WAWA and Troy Kotsur
  • 11:30 am-12:00 pm: Accessible 911: How can Deaf/HOH access emergency help? By Gabriella Wong
  • 12:00 pm-12:30 pm: Intel OmniBridge Bridges between Deaf and Hearing using AI ASL Translation By Adam Munder
  • 12:30 pm-1:00 pm: DeafBlind Immersion Experience By Wendy Laila Chouinard and Chad Metcalf
  • 1:00 pm-1:30 pm: Go JoJo Go – Sponsored by Sorenson
  • 1:30 pm-2:00 pm: Myths of Working with Interpreters by Jeremy Quiroga
  • 2:00 pm-2:30 pm: The Missing Link – Sponsored by sComm
  • 2:30 pm-3:00 pm: Timeless Black Flame By Jennifer Tandoc
  • 3:00 pm-3:30 pm: The Future is Female, and She is Black By Jewel Eldridge
  • 3:30 pm-4:00 pm: T-Mobile Accessibility
  • 4:00 pm-4:30 pm: Deaf King International By Aarron Loggins
  • 4:30 pm-4:45 pm: Drawing Prizes by Event Sponsors and Exhibitors

 

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 3

Event Schedule
  • 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Registration & Exhibit Hall Open
  • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Conference Sessions
  • 5:30 PM: Deaf Poker Tour #52
  • 8 PM – 10 PM: Thomas RK’s Last Hurrah sponsored by ZVRS/Puprle at Bally’s Indigo Lounge Bar Lounge
Conference and Entertainment Schedule
  • 9:00 am-10:00 am: DeafNation Videos
  • 10:00 am-10:30 am: Let’s Be Real: A Hearing Mother’s Journey Changing the Conversation Surrounding Deaf & Deafblind Children & Their Families By Meagan Holt
  • 10:30 am-11:00 am: La Réunion, la perle de l’océan indien / Reunion Island, the pearl of the Indian Ocean By Pascal Smith
  • 11:00 am-11:30 am: Inside Peek Into Stand-Up Comedy with Alex Heath (AKA Thomas RK) – Sponsored by ZVRS & PURPLE
  • 11:30 am-12:00 pm: Visual Vernacular Show with JozStudio – Sponsored by GlobalVRS
  • 12:00 pm-12:30 pm: Hands and Flippers for Marine Conservation: ASL Guided Programs in Juno Beach, Florida By Jennifer Reilly
  • 12:30 pm-1:00 pm: Deaf Community in Panama By Gabriel González
  • 1:00 pm-1:30 pm: Deaf Education in the Digital World or the Future of Deaf Education by Jeffrey S. Bravin
  • 1:30 pm-2:00 pm: Explore the hottest speech recognition trend By Imancyo
  • 2:00 pm-2:30 pm: sComm
  • 2:30 pm-3:00 pm: Decline in insect populations By Dirk Rohwedder
  • 3:00pm-3:30pm: T-Mobile Accessibility
  • 3:30 pm-4:00 pm: Shaping and Transforming our future in Unity By Marsellette Davis
  • 4:00 pm-4:30 pm: How to Accept Yourself As Who You Are By Oscar Roman
  • 4:30 pm-4:45 pm: Drawing Prizes by Event Sponsors and Exhibitors

 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4

Event Schedule
  • 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM: Registration & Exhibit Hall Open
  • 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Conference Sessions
  • 5:30 PM: Deaf Poker Tour #52
Conference and Entertainment Schedule
  • 9:00 am-10:00 am: DeafNation Videos
  • 10:00 am-10:30 am:Inclusion: Freedom to Be You. By Jack Busenbark with CONVO
  • 10:30 am-11:00 am: Social Media: Linking the Deaf World By Anselmo DeSoussa
  • 11:00 am-11:30 am: Visual Musical Story by Beautiful the Artist with Special Guest: Wawa – Sponsored by ZVRS & PURPLE
  • 11:30 am-12:00 pm: Did you know? Deaf Bible Society
  • 12:00 pm-12:30 pm: CDI for for? By Jeremy Quiroga
  • 12:30 pm-1:00 pm: Healing Signs: Psychoeducation By Kaylah Vogt – Sponsored by Nagish
  • 1:00 pm-1:30 pm: Deaf Jeopardy! Sponsored by Sorenson
  • 1:30 pm-2:00 pm: What is an Entomologist? By Dirk Rohwedder
  • 2:00 pm-2:30 pm: Fostering Allyship for Progressive Advocacy By Isidore Niyongabo
  • 2:30 pm-3:00 pm: Preparing hearing students to utilize sign language in their professional field By Dr. Parker Kennedy
  • 3:00 pm-3:30 pm: Deaf Trivia (Game Show) by Nagish
  • 3:30 pm-4:00 pm: Future of Accessibility Tech with Ava. Claiming back your Power.
  • 4:00 pm-4:30 pm: The Arts of Storytelling: Incorporating Theater Arts, Literacy, and S.T.E.M. in Classroom and on Stage By NTID Sunshine 2.0
  • 4:30 pm-4:45 pm: Drawing Prizes by Event Sponsors and Exhibitors

Here’s what some attendees had to say about their time at the Expo…

A deaf person who attended the event shared her experience:

I had a blast attending DeafNation Expo in Las Vegas. It was my first time experiencing this event. I have been to many smaller Deaf expos, and I was stunned by how many people attended the event. However, I heard that this expo was much smaller in size than the expo in 2016. For instance, in 2016, 35,000 people attended, and the number of exhibitors quadrupled the size of this years. Regardless, I still had a great time. I met several new people from other states and other countries. Since there were international Deaf people at the event, many of them used Universal Sign to be able to communicate with one another. There is an event that is similar to the one in Las Vegas, and lots of Deaf people from all over the world attend the event called Festival Clin d’Oedil located in Paris. I hope to attend this event in Paris one day. Nevertheless, it was cool and inspiring to meet and greet celebrities like Troy, Daniel, Renca, and Wawa. They were humble and down-to-earth.

Another deaf person who attended the event shared his experience:
This was my second time attending DeafNation Expo. It was smaller than the first event I attended in 2016, but it was still fun because there were a lot of services and shows. There were Deaf accessibility service booths that help Deaf people be successful in the hearing world. Also, hearing people who attended that event were exposed to various Deaf businesses and Deaf accessibility. There were different types of art that expressed the Deaf community. Some booths had cool games and activities. At DeafNation, many international Deaf people attended the event, and together we discussed how to unite international Deaf communities better and increase Deaf accessibility. There were a lot of people who communicated in ASL and Universal sign. I went with my other Deaf friends to other Deaf events to socialize and meet new people. I was surprised to meet celebrities and was able to have a short conversation and take a picture with them. They were very nice, humble, and willing to have a conversation.

Someone who is hearing and is fluent in ASL shared her experience:
Going into any Deaf/ASL expo is an experience. When you learn other languages, the country and culture are usually connected. You can visit a whole country that speaks that language. You immerse yourself in the language, the food, the culture, and so forth. Where do you go to immerse yourself in ASL and Deaf Culture outside of a textbook? You go to a Deaf event. And not just any Deaf event, a Deaf event with people from all over the world. The Deaf Nation World Expo is in its own category. There is no other place like it.

All voices aside, your hands come out and you use what language you have learned. Usually, that means all ASL you have practiced, or fingerspelling words you have forgotten. Your receptive skills are heightened as you watch people near you signing. You can use your skills to talk to people at their booths or enjoy a show. If you have never gone to this expo, you might be overwhelmed. Take it all in and see what is offered. There are booths with everything from video relay services to t-shirts, and ASL art.

After all my years of signing and going to Deaf events as a hearing person, the best experience for me is still navigating through the crowds. Usually, I will see someone I haven’t seen in a while and unexpectedly end up signing with them for a long time. Of course, social media keeps us in touch, but there’s something about the expo — catching up in person in an all-signing environment — that makes it fun.

I feel exhausted after events like these. I also noticed that I blink less when I am signing a lot, especially if I watch a signed show or presentation. However, it’s still a fun experience for me. The Deaf expo indeed has its own presentation stage for fun.

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