I am an activist in Deaf community—the community I grow to love, and being an activist is who I am. It is my passion. It is my calling. I am Deaf. I grew up in a very small town that had a culture of racism, sexism, xenophobia even audism. My mother and father are life-long Democrats, my recently passed away grandparents were life-long Democrats, too. We were a Blue family. In the town I lived with bullies that I knew of around me growing up, my identity as Deaf had been hidden from making some kind of difference.
It was not until after I turned 35 years old that I found the meaning of Deaf identity and culture through Deafhood book, coming out as a strong Deaf identity. At 35, I started learning about my people and my culture more than ever. I finally found where I belonged. I am an activist and I am Deaf. Those two statements have been always important to me and would never allow anyone to break me down. The presidential election on November 8th, 2016 had struck the greatest fear in my heart and many other Deaf people. Xenophobia has begun to open the can of worms than before.
The election, I almost lost my life—resulting up dead for ten minutes at Gallaudet University with massive heart attack. Being in ICU, I remember watching an election result via television, the fear in my heart has struck powerful word with me. The Deaf community had been viewed as a lonely and alienating world. So, I made a decision to be activist and visible ally in the community. After the election, Donald Trump had won, it was not very good timing for me while I was in hospital wondering how to deal with this.
The American flag, and the “Pledge of Allegiance”—is not what created of Deaf community today and tomorrow. This is not the flag we allow to practice hatred in Deaf community. Why? It is important to treat people with respect and dignity, no matter what—need to be constant source of support. Deaf community do not need to deal with high spikes in hate crimes, we owe it to ourselves making a better citizen. “Pledge of Allegiance” is really racist.
Francis Bellamy, the author of the Pledge of Allegiance, was a bigot. His cousin and cohort Edward Bellamy was also a bigot. The link I suggest the readers to click and read the history behind Pledge of Allegiance.
So-called Trump administration with the worst cabinet ever in history, Deaf community including myself refuses to be invisible—we need to remind ourselves that we are their neighbors. The best part is to create a stronger culture of normalization.
“It’s likely that our country will remain polarized for the foreseeable future. That makes our work fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice eve more urgent in the coming year.” -Morris Dees and Richard Cohen
With the incoming administration, Deaf community will not tolerate bullying at all. We might be viewed as a minority group; we will not be threatened at all. I hope the electors will realize what the true meaning of American democracy is and make a difference.
Copyright @ 2016 Jason Tozier
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When JT became Deaf, he had to suffer a lot of language aversion where IEPs (Individual Education Plan) by audiologists, speech therapists, and teachers told his family that JT would likely never be succeed in college and unable to tie his shoe laces. But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken.
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