This week, I interview ASL interpreter Amy Salazar.
1. What are your favorite childhood memories?
Growing up, I have always loved nature. I would go outside any chance I got. I loved spending time in my Nana and Papa’s garden during summer vacation. I loved running barefoot on the grass and writing stories on their porch.
2. Are you a cradle Catholic or did you convert?
I am a cradle Catholic and a revert. I went through a period of religious exploration during my second or third year of college. I was interested in possibly opening myself to Buddhism or Islam–I was especially drawn to Islam–but then I befriended a friendly priest and his compassion drew me back to rediscovering my faith. Since then, my faith has been challenged many times, but it was the Catholic faith that made me reconsider my Republican beliefs, until finally I had to choose between Jesus and the GOP. I chose Jesus and never looked back.
3. How did you decide you wanted the be an ASL interpreter?
The Lord placed an interest in sign language in my life by first introducing me to Helen Keller in the 3rd grade. I went to a book fair and picked up a book about her. This was a defining chapter in my life, because Helen’s story inspired me to want to make a difference in the world. It also piqued an interest in sign language. In high school, I was friends with a girl who was hard-of-hearing and she had an interpreter. I still remember trying to watch our history lesson but being mesmerized by the ASL interpreter.
Fast forward to 2014; it was the last year of my Associate ‘s program for an AA in English. I had gone through the program wanting to become a journalist, but I came to discover that it wasn’t my passion. On a whim, my mom suggested, “Maybe you could take a sign language class. It might be fun.” It seemed like a good idea, so I enrolled for ASL 101 in the Fall. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I fell in love with sign language on day 1. My professor was Deaf and her signing captivated me. Deaf culture, Deaf history, the grammar and syntax of ASL was riveting. That was when I knew that I wanted to become an interpreter.