Dear Oklahoma Association of the Deaf,
Deaf Access Justice, a Deaf-centered organization would like to respond to the letter you wrote about the shooting death of Deaf man. The letter was poor-written, offensive, and lack of compassion.
We continue to thrive human rights—to principles that bind the Deaf community together and oppose any policies that attempts to put in place that would undermine human rights. The challenges between the Deaf community and law enforcement is not the first time. We need police departments to see that we are not powerless in the face of bigotry, xenophobia and fear mongering. Who started the fear?
You wrote in your own words: “We are sad, but not surprised by this most recent act. Lack of education plays a vital part in many communities.”
We need you to recognize that police departments are not the most powerful department in the United States today but in fact, we are and YOU are, too. Also, in your quote, “there are many challenges between the deaf community and law enforcement. We would be willing to partner with agencies in Oklahoma to better serve our communities while breaking down barriers.”
Your “voice” can still decide the direction in which we lead to as long as you need to raise it. The power of your “voice”—united in solidarity with Deaf community to recognize the force for human rights. Your letter was too soft even not a bit of any compassion. Where is the fact that you did not write down Deaf person of color?
It is vitally important that we need to reach out to the media and police departments with this message in support of human rights for Deaf people, and Deaf community has been trying to work with police agencies to do sensitivity training for years, we have been ignored, building their ignorance and ego, and that is the problem.
I believe that OAD should write a thunderous letter with heavy heart.
Jason “JT” Tozier, CEO and Founder of Deaf Access Justice