Suing AGBell and its Enablers

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Joseph Artino, Deaf Artist

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.—George Orwell

Few years ago, I was reading a book: Animal Farm by George Orwell, a British writer—the story is about the oldest pig on the the farm, his name name was Old Major—had to call out all the animals to a secret meeting and telling them about his dream of a revolution against the cruel Mr. Jones; After Major dies a few days later, his speech gives the more intelligent animals a new outlook on farm life. Pigs and pigeons play major roles in charge of the farm.

Animal Farm is one of the greatest analogies for anyone who is part of AGBell survivors—where we all need to go through rebellion to have AGBell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to be shut down. Forever. AGBell survivors had been hurt over and over through hatred and bigotry—and what is it that stands between AGBell survivors and them that such a proposition would loose in the mind and body of a person who believed that ASL is not important anymore. The letter by Meredith Sugar was deeply dismayed, concerned, and even frightened, the ongoing and escalating crisis by AGBell survivors could be. It is very important that AGBell survivors is up to par with current events affecting all of us frightfully.

Ever since April 1st letter by Ms. Sugar, in the Deaf community, we have witnessed our democracy in process that met with unnecessary hate crime and bigotry. That was how we would always remember about our experience through AGBell lies; Today we can walk far in the company of intellectual people and stop AGBell’s hatred and intellectual oppression either exalted or scorned.

The reason for the latter attitude is that the term “oppression” has always carried the scent of impropriety of ASL discourses in Deaf community. We all need to share our personal and professional experience in this healing process. We also need to depend on each other to heal. In healthy discourses, we MUST not loose our sight of the value of it—the form of healing that is not only healthy but important vital for the well-being of AGBell survivors and the maintenance of Deaf community today and tomorrow across America and around the world.

It is important to take a look at this way. Wal-Mart has been sued 4,851 times in year 2000 (The picture attached below)—about once every two hours. Wal-Mart has billions of dollars. They have insurance. Even there are people who actually worship Wal-Mart—way powerful than a bible. No, I am not kidding about this part.

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There are roughly between 400,000 and a million ASL users in America (most recently I attempted to look at Gallaudet Research Institute [GRI] and saw what Schein and Delk old study back in 1974—400,000 ASL users, but someone informed me that today it might be up to a million ASL users. Again, no hard numbers). —who knows that most of them might be AGBell survivors—imagine if Deaf community take action to sue AGBell—every minute of it for 365 days of living through AGBell lies, hatred, bigotry, language hegemony, the list goes on—how come AGBell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing has not sued or anyone ever done this before? Insurance? Strong sound-oriented country?

We could create a CLASS SUIT and shut down AGBell—not only that but the telephone company, cochlear implant companies, and all that hate groups who are in the same boat as AGBell stakeholders. They do not have much money like the Daily Moth has showed the Deaf community how much AGBell really made—very poor financial management—a weak link.

Imagine sharing your concerns with AGBell, the Deaf survivors like yourself who to listen to you with respect. Imagine how you would feel about yourself if you could call them for guidance, insight, and perspective when you need it. Is this gonna happen? You decide. Wake up! Do we really have this kind of imagination today? AGBell Board of Directors is powerful in the human psyche and its hatred psyche, too. Indeed, at this level of archetype, they have failed to live within our imagination now.

In fact, one of the things I have admired most about AGBell survivors telling their stories, writing letters, and all that is its embrace for change. It teaches us to look to the work we can do on ourselves—repair, maintain, build and grow—so we can better deal with change that is certain to come. Growth may mean that AGBell survivors must be the one who to proactively instigate change that is long overdue.

AGBell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is now ready to be shut down for greater good and gives us the change and grow. We have memory, we have history that gives us remembrance that AGBell begun hatred and bigotry in 1883—the history is our strength that is deeply rooted in our sense of place. Its lesson is not to be a survivor of change inflicted upon AGBell; We are the ones to instigate the change that is beneficial, the change that holds merit of ASL and Deaf culture today and tomorrow.

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only including this copyright message.

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Radicalism at Gallaudet: Big Questions to Ask

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First and foremost, I think it is important to know where I was before I came to Gallaudet University. I moved to District of Columbia from Oregon where it is well known for radical students who meet almost every night during weekdays to talk about various social injustices.

I attended many meetings, often to pick up the handouts and took a great course called Revolution and Radical Social Change where I learned Landauer’s For Socialism, Day’s Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements, and Holloway’s Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today, they were never secretive and, in fact, encouraged by the faculty.

When I first came to Gallaudet University, I soon discovered it to be closed, secretive, and almost obsessed with the status quo. Having lived in the neighborhood of Gallaudet University for almost one year before I was admitted in the graduate school, I had never, ever heard of a group of radical students on campus. Why are they silent or quiet about themselves?  Are they selective–who’s who?  Are they transparent about their fight? To be honest, I do not know. All I was told was that I did not understand the Gallaudet mentality.

Plantation mentality? Are Deaf people who moved upstairs in the administrative hierarchy at Gallaudet University like proverbial pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm that become like human beings to oppress other farm animals?

If you are really radical, then ask why you are a closet one?  Have you reached “two roads diverged” where you shall pick a road less traveled to make all the difference? Do you just want me to be a conformist who supplement the status quo, not to rock the ship? Does higher learning generate activism?

Do I really need to shut up so that you are safe? Is that democratic? I have yet to learn about your leadership.

In my younger life, I regret that I did not stand up and later discovered that radicalism has changed the truth in my life. It is amazing how much radicalism has so many hardships that Deaf people has suffered all these years. Time to find the legacy to stop.

All in all, if we are rebellious, we are very much alive. Gallaudet University is where we need to be activistic and rebellious! I am not putting down any of the students, but I simply resist those who choose to cop out on themselves. We are the meaning-makers and we want to make a change. President John F. Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life.”  Ask then what the nature of Deaf life is? Let Gallaudet University serve the world with this type of knowledge about Deaf people and their language and culture, American Sign Language (ASL)–Change on!

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.

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