Storyteller and comedian Cassie Simmons will perform narrations centered around her growing up as an African-American, Deaf woman in Detroit in a Nov. 28 American Sign Language Literature Series event in Klarman Hall.
Sponsored by the Department of Linguistics, the ASL Literature Series has invited five storytellers and poets to Cornell since its inception on Oct. 12, with Simmons being the sixth and final guest.
Titled, “What My Life is Like,” Simmons’s performance will consist of both humorous and serious narrations. Alongside these central stories, Simmons will present coming-of-age tales that she has previously performed for online audiences.
A graduate of Detroit Day School for the Deaf and the Michigan School for the Deaf, Simmons began her storytelling career in 2009 with OIC Movies, a platform that produces video narratives told by Deaf storytellers to help students and instructors practice the language. Simmons left the platform in 2015 and has since traveled around the country to tell stories.
Simmons performed for Sorenson, an ASL communications company, in New York City in 2015. The following year, she traveled to Seattle to perform for Epic Jam Spotlight, an organization that hosts ASL storytelling events, and to Charlotte, North Carolina to tell stories at Central Piedmont Community College.
Simmons performed across Michigan in 2017 — she participated in a panel at Oakland Community College, made a video for Michigan-based online platform ASLDEAFINED and participated in an interview by students at Madonna University.
In 2018, Simmons performed for the Northern California Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf and the Michigan Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, in addition to presenting for an ASL Immersion program in Grasslake, Michigan. She also presented workshops for Envision, an agency providing support to ASL students, in 2019.
Simmons is a member of multiple advocacy organizations, including the Association for the Advancement of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and All Means All. In addition to her traveling storytelling, Simmons tutors ASL students and leads workshops on facial expressions for ASL.
The event is open to the Cornell community and will take place on Monday, Nov. 28 in Klarman Hall, G70 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.