The term EPHPHATHA, as it appears in the Seal of Gallaudet University (see the picture) is strictly a Christian propaganda by putting it in our Deaf minds. It was an Aramaic word used by Christ (Mark 7:31-37) who made a Deaf man to hear. EPHPHATHA means “Be (thou) opened”. The International Standard Version reads the prophecy (Isaiah 35:5): “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf shall be stopped”. Mark 31-37 is a cross-reference, as if the prophecy was fulfilled.
I do not know exactly why Gallaudet University has this “non-diversifying” term on its official seal. It is an evangelistic effort to impose such a Christian value on all degrees and diplomas? Even university class rings, too! When Gallaudet University changed its name from college, it changed the seal to make it university-like but let alone this Christian EPHPHATHA. Why?
EPHPHATHA means loss of individual liberties, which are their “inalienable rights” of state of being Deaf. Audism needs to be rejected in their eyes and noting that it does led to an unacceptable loss of individual liberty. Gallaudet is flirting with monumental scale with tragic consequences. The whole point is that people who are in the direction to preserve their state of being Deaf should not give up in their own individual liberties. The administration has been seen as executive branch already abusing its authority and allows this word to be around. Deaf people should not sacrifice their freedoms for their ideological utopian dreams to heal the Deaf people into hearing-minded people. Why is the administration so focused on healing Deaf people? Their actions have caused mental and emotional scars that will last a lifetime.
I am hereby submitting the proposal to the Gallaudet community to replace the EPHPHATHA on the seal to implore the creation of a stronger task force dedicated to improve Deaf people to heal from Audism. Deaf people have an unique set of barriers to access services when there is a power dynamics of Audism has committed at Gallaudet. The same university that does not have policy for Audism and the staff may lack a core cultural competence necessary for understanding the unique barriers faced by Deaf people whom I see as survivors. Due to their unique barriers, Deaf people under-report Audism perpetrated against them. The creation of task force to implement a comprehensive training for university staff will improve Deaf people’s access to their rights of being Deaf. The task force has a tremendous opportunity to shape and transform existing services for Deaf people into services that offer comprehensive support, safety and healing to survivors through medical, legal, and social advocacy.
The faculty and administration need to become our important advocates as we the Deaf navigate the legal systems to obtain understanding orders and legal supports from Audism. Mental health can serve as community educators of Audism related to psychological, medical, and social issues faced by Deaf people and can promote healing. Where can best practices and culturally competent protocols be attained? Deafhood Foundation is an organization that offers technical training to stop the power dynamics of Audism. This is an absolutely slam dunk case of negligence.
Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier
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