Imagine what Gallaudet College would look like shortly after 6 PM on April 4th, 1968. The campus was quiet until the day that Martin Luther King, Jr. got shot. What were the reactions from Gallaudet students that time? What would they wake up from reality the next morning?
Whenever the students set out on the journey as Gallaudetian in April 1968, it pays to prepare for anything that would change their lives. The thoughts would create and wreck in their minds and deal with fear. The ancient Chinese believed words were so powerful that no piece of paper containing written words should ever be destroyed, even when it was no longer of value.
See the fence on Florida Ave? Many people were told that the fence was built because of 1988 Deaf President Now. No, it is not true. It was built because of MLK riots all over city. The world tasted blood and made it symbolic.
Who made the decision to build the fence? The Administration? What about Gallaudet University Administration and Operations Manual (the Bible of campus policies) that remained overlooked?
Is the fence necessary today? Is the fence rooted in racism? Is the fence rooted in xenophobia? I often wonder what Gallaudet University would look without the fence. Can we take it back and make it normal for everybody?
The fence. We do not need FEAR. Imagine without the fence, would we sit together in order to share wisdom and advice with the entire campus? Imagine without the fence, going to Gallaudet the moment you first recognized your own language there.
The campus scene is to be inhabited by two very distinct species. First, before the fence was built, was it youthful, exuberant, natural, and frantically frivolous that they made the scene? Second, the fence oppressed people and rooted in racism, immature, dispirited, unnatural and frantically frightful, the fence dominated the scene, no?
Gallaudet University do not need the fence to open the door to discussion about ASL in higher education, who encourages standing up and signing freely, welcoming intersectionality.
Gallaudet University needs to be bold again. Be an open space.
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
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