153 years ago when National Deaf Mute College (Now Gallaudet University) was established, can you imagine during that time, Deaf people were walking around the campus looking forward for a better future? The people of Washington, D.C. know next nothing about ASL and culture. Thanks to Gallaudet University, the education counterparts have been listened at as early a stage as possible.
Hearing people are just the opposite. Why cannot the business world that holds a majority of hearing people give Deaf people a chance to hold a business license? Here the cultural appreciation (Deaf culture, in this matter) would make DC community its vibrant and standard respect; there is a big needs to create more Deaf-owned businesses and overcome the language and oppression.
Nora Groce’s book, “Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language.” In the 17th-20th century Martha Vineyard Island, was there many Deaf-owned business there? Anyone knows about this? On the island, the highest percent of Deaf families became an important discourse that might have public record somewhere in the history book. I am very curious if there was ever Deaf-owned business there. Everyone on the island took up a single, important responsibility to live as the community.
DC community is growing fast. The last five years I’ve been living here, it is a hot spot in America right now. The biggest concern is that the national Deaf unemployment and underemployment rates are 72.5% according to Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), at the same time, Washington, DC and its greater area has very large Deaf population as I was told that there are 10,000 Deaf people living in DC alone as of last night.
The question, how many people out of 10,000 people are ASL users? The employment for Deaf people is primarily a struggle for them. The rates of struggles are deplorable. Why cannot DC advocate for laws to protect Deaf people from discrimination instead of them being culturally targeted and unequally enforced law that makes their lives difficult to live such as pursuit of happiness and make a living or at least, making a difference in DC community.
The Deaf unemployment rate is so high that our allies, hearing politicians cannot seem to pass the laws because it is waste time to help and advocate Deaf people to have full human rights, why are the laws not enforced strong enough? Was it meant to keep the “Deaf people from looking hearing people in the eyes” and now they cannot find work. Culture of Fear? The problem is not a culture of fear, but it is normal society thing.
153 years later, the American freedom and equality has continue to create difficult journey for Deaf people and reach its pinnacle of success of terms of skills and leadership. Would it awesome if we will ever witness the first Deaf-owned business in DC? More and more Deaf Americans—having their fortunes dwindle under the impact of oppression, no more and we must make a difference. The major blunders of federal law, for example, ADA of 1990, is becoming difficult today in 2017.
The ghosts of Gallaudet are once again reverberating throughout DC community, they had been here for more than 153 years have walked past us and it is time for a change—and inspire Gallaudet community to see first Deaf-owned business and make it grow more than ever.
Rochester and Austin has more Deaf-owned businesses than District of Columbia have and it is not even close. And I think it is kind of embarrassing to see this. The world’s first Deaf University and not a single penny had shield the creative minds of Deaf people to create a business there. We can change that!
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
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