The Silent Language

The River Road African American Museum recognized its Sign Language Ensemble Saturday night at the Donaldsonville City Hall.

The River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville recognized its Sign Language Ensemble Saturday night at the Donaldsonville City Hall for its excellence and service to the community, parish and state.

The ensemble has participated in several events between New Orleans and Baton Rouge including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Kwanza at Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Jessie Joseph, instructor, explained in the program people no longer say a person is “deaf and dumb. ” The correct phrase is a person is “hearing impaired.” Joseph says the American Sign Language, the manual language, has progressed and has become more popular in recent years.

She also explained how the language is conveyed. After the background on the language, the RRAAM’s Sign Language Ensemble performed, celebrated and were honored. New members were also inducted.

Donaldsonville City Councilman Lauthaught Delaney said he was very impressed with the ensemble and encouraged them to continue with it.

“The most important thing is if you keep Christ as the center of your joy then you’ll go a long way,” Delaney said after the group performed its popular song, “Jesus, You are the center of my joy.”

Ascension Parish School Board member Richard Brown said he almost decided not to come due to the weather, but something told him to come through the storm.

“And when I got in here I was blessed,” Brown said. “There is a verse in the bible that I love, Matthew 5:16, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

“You have a light and that light is shining. It’s shining today, tomorrow and the rest of your life. Make sure you understand the light that you have, don’t let anybody take it from you because God gave it to you with the understanding that you will share it with the world,” Brown said. “I’m so proud of you all. There is so much talent, God given talent.”

Inductees to the Sign Language Ensemble were:

Wynter Baker, Peyton Christopher, Parker Jackson of Plaquemine, Nakeia Skinner of White Castle, Chelcy Washington, and Khloe Williams of Houston, Texas.

Honored members of the Sign Language Ensemble were: Two years; Elise Jackson of Plaquemine, and Courtney Washington. Three years; Deondis Garrison and Lyndria Spurlock. Five years; Demaris Johnson, Erica Johnson, Maerys Joseph, Paige Joseph, Tre Skidmore, Tamiko Stroud, Dominique Thomas, and Devon Wright.