Carl Schroeder has passed away early this morning (1:44 AM PDT)–I was informed by this message when I woke up first thing. I talked with his family all day yesterday. His birthday was in eight days. He would have been 61. We talked everyday while he was in hospital since last week of November. The last time we talked the day before he fell into unexpected coma. He was doing so well until his transfer to a treatment center and that is where things changed. I was the last friend to see him “awake” before his departure.
I can remember when I was in my living room looking for something to change my life until I turned my computer on in 2008, I decided to look for Deaf videos to inspire myself then all of sudden, Carl’s videos were there explaining about Deaf Education and many things, I was in awe how he explained very well because all my life I was very confused child and had no guidance trying to understand my identity. A year later, I finally got a chance to meet Carl at Western Oregon University and I was honored to have this opportunity to meet him. I really thought he was in Hawai’i the whole time, but after finding out he was in Oregon, my world changed.
I need to say that meeting Professor Schroeder in his office has transformed me enormously. In his office I saw a portrait of the 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln, a bust of William Shakespeare, and many books on languages and linguistics. Carl told me how the American Civil War played an important role in promoting the Deaf to the fullest potential and excellence because President Lincoln received many reports from the battlegrounds where the soldiers, North and South alike, turned Deaf. There was no program for them when going home. The National Deaf-Mute College (Gallaudet University) was then created. Carl also explained that William Shakespeare came up with over ten thousand new words that the English language has allowed to happen. He then asserted that American Sign Language (ASL) also allows new signs to happen. I was totally captivated by his stories and asked where he got them. His response: “Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.” and I was taken aback because I had heard and thought that Gallaudet University was a school for “those who could not help themselves”–again, that is where my world changed.
I was extremely impressed with his intelligence, academic experiences, passion, independence, and most significantly his fortitude through knowledge that have at times been challenging and that is where I learned how to a critical thinker because of his work. That is a gift he possesses. From his blog loaded with writing and ASL videos, I committed myself to change my life around. It is about organizing my principle of power where Carl taught about Deaf Culture that is through technologies of power without progress, education, struggle, and resistance. Carl knew what power is all about functioning and how to keep the state of being Deaf strong. He found the truth with a function of power that heals Deaf people to be themselves again. The state of being Deaf.
I credit Carl, as he is strong and positive presence; his contributions to class discussion and Deaf community were always valuable as was his interaction with the other students, who he invited to engage with him by being open, friendly, and curious. He is a tough philosopher. He would send me e-mail along with questions and discuss about philosophy. Boy, am I crazy to challenge up with him! I was actually sweating and said, “Who is this guy?” and glad that I got to know him personally. No one can match him at all. He is my HERO for introducing me to the Deaf World with vast of knowledge. I would not be here if it was not for him. We worked together to discuss about philosophy, education, Deaf studies, cultural studies, brainstorming ideas, so many ideas…
Thanks for all those valuable lessons Carl taught me, for example, how to stand up, to speak out about, to take courage against, to fight for, to believe in, to be proud of–if everyone came from the same experience and thought exactly alike, Carl taught the community—Deaf people and myself—to improve upon anything without openness to diverse concepts. I can only guess that the future will not the same without his presence, the best I can hope to remember his legacy what he had done for the Deaf community.
I am privileged to have Carl’s friendship and regard. I always feel the highest regard for Carl, and am thankful to have met Carl! It is impossible to imagine Carl Schroeder’s well-versed influence along with his character and fellowship. Most importantly of all, he taught me academic freedom is not all ABOUT tenured professors, but students long for life, too. He taught me all about stories at Gallaudet that defines the epitome of responsible commitment from one academia to another.
The picture below was the last time we took together at his employment.
Copyright © 2013 Jason Tozier
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