Sign Language Café opening in Portland, Oregon | The Daily Moth

A new sign language café will open up this March in Portland, Oregon. It is run by a non-profit organization called CymaSpace. This non-profit organization has served the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by making performing arts more accessible and inclusive. They are taking this to a new level by running a café for community connection, safe space, and cultural celebration.

We connected with Myles de Bastion who is the founder and co-artistic director of CymaSpace and Andre Grey who is the operating/co-artistic director for an interview about the grand opening of this café.

Renca: It’s a very exciting time that’s happening soon. Can you describe your relationship, Myles and Andre?

Myles de Bastion: We met about six years ago. I was interested to know him and saw that he was a filmmaker and an artist, just like I am. I invited him to become involved in our organization. We’ve been working together since that time.

Andre Grey: I moved to Portland in 2016. I was looking for support from the Deaf community and saw CymaSpace. I learned more and thought, “Why don’t I become involved and support them?” I’m Deaf and Deafblind myself. I’ve noticed that a lot in the Deaf community don’t have a lot of opportunities. I want to figure out what we can do, what the CymaSpace organization can do to change that. We focused on – my part is on media, café operations, and opportunity development.

Renca: Now, I’m curious, what is the goal with the Sign Language Café? What’s the goal?

Myles: We have several goals for our café. What’s really important is supporting Deaf and Hard of Hearing culture. To put a spotlight on sign language. Also to offer a bridge for people who may not know sign language to come to the cafe to practice and learn. They may have a different experience from the normal café culture. It’s important that we can create jobs for Deaf people. There are applications to workplace and career development. They may not have worked in customer service or made coffee or food/drinks before, but we provide training. We try to apply Deaf culture with food culture.

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