Weekly Newsletter – Starbucks, Laurent Clerc, & More

ASLdeafined Weekly Newsletter – 7/20/2018


Starbucks Announces ‘Signing Store’ in Washington D.C.

Two Starbucks workers show off their ASL swag, via Starbucks News

Starbucks has been really focusing on the Deaf community in recent years. We’ve all seen the viral videos about their Deaf-made Sign Language aprons and even video drive-thrus that cater specifically to the deaf. This week they’ve announced it’s newest store to open in Washington D.C. and all of the employees will use American Sign Language! Not only will they all know Sign, but the store will be exclusively seeking out Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing applicants. This new store is set to be right next to the world’s only liberal arts college for the Deaf, Gallaudet University, and has even received a thumbs up from the National Association of the Deaf!

They intend to hire a team of 20-25 Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing workers to make this happen- Starbucks says this is their latest achievement for equality.  “This is a historic moment in Starbucks ongoing journey to connect with the Deaf and hard of hearing community, hire and engage Deaf and hard of hearing partners, and continue to find ways to be more inclusive, accessible and welcoming to all,” said Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president of U.S. Retail. “This store is truly from partners, for partners, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the team of Deaf partners and allies from our Accessibility office and the Access Alliance partner network who came together to bring this vision to life. I look forward to the team welcoming the community to this store in October.”

In addition to having a mostly, if not entirely, Deaf staff they will also feature artwork and special mug designed by a Deaf artist! It will also have an open floor-plan, those lovely ASL aprons we’ve come to see more and more of, and even sought to take down the glare. They’ve truly thought about this store a LOT… ASLdeafined’s team just might have to go for a visit! Even with their somewhat recent backlash when two men of African descent were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, they seem to be heading in the right direction.  


The Deaf Throughout History Spotlight: Laurent Clerc

Speaking of signing, do you know how American Sign Language came to be? We owe a lot to a man named Laurent Clerc! Clerc was born and raised in France, and became deaf at one years old after falling into a fire. (Ouch!) He attended and graduated school at the Royal Institution for the Deaf in Paris where he excelled and became an accomplished teacher. 

Laurent Clerc via Gallaudet Univ. Archives

Then, a man named Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet sailed to England to find a way to teach the deaf after finding (to his dismay) zero resources in America. He was eventually told about the Royal Institution for the Deaf and met Laurent Clerc. Clerc began teaching Gallaudet French Sign Language and became fast friends. Clerc agreed to help establish education for the deaf in America, and the two sailed away! It only took a year for them to establish the very first school of the deaf in America in Harford, Connecticut in 1817. Using signs from French Sign Language and gestures that were already being used by his students, they eventually created the beginnings of American Sign Language. (This is why we are closer to French Sign Language than English Sign Language! Neat, huh?) 

Clerc always claimed he would go back to his home country of France, but his plans changed after marrying one of his pupils Eliza Crocker Boardman, with whom he had six children. Clerc also appeared before the U.S. Congress and met President James Monroe! 

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of men like Laurent Clerc deaf Americans would eventually become ‘Deaf’ Americans, achieving a rich and expressive culture that we all know and love. 

Gallaudet University – Laurent Clerc


ASLdeafined Has Nearly 2,500 Followers on Twitter!

The ASLdeafined team is incredibly thankful for our Twitter followers- Our goal is to spread the wonderful world of Sign Language, one sign at a time, and we couldn’t do it without you! ASLdeafined’s Twitter (@ASLdeafined) is best known for it’s daily #SignOfTheDay posts, where you can regularly find signs relating to funny holidays, the latest news, and even your favorite foods! Twitter users have the opportunity to discuss the signs; asking about why a sign ‘looks that way’, or whether a sign has variations! 

We are also active on Facebook and LinkedIn! If you aren’t a fan of Twitter, you can find a different side of our social media presence there. ASLdeafined’s Facebook focuses on current events in the Deaf community and often shares news stories in ASL via The Daily Moth. Our LinkedIn page is (you guessed it) our business profile that focuses on the news of ASLdeafined’s American Sign Language curriculum. 

ASLdeafined also offers Webinars that provide a rundown of our online ASL curriculum. Please email info@ASLdeafined.com for more information. 


Handshape of the Week – K

The K-handshape looks like a peace sign with a thumb in-between the index and middle fingers, as demonstrated in the sign KING below.

Other sign using the K-handshape include: