The sandals are finally gone! New walking shoes are on the way! As International Deaf Awareness Week 2018 is being celebrated around the world, there are forgotten Deaf returnees’s stories that are very much part of Deaf awareness how to empower them instead of shun them out of the society, begins with us. The same sandals you see in the picture, I walked with those sandals for nine months through wet, hot, cold, and freezing conditions. Unemployment stats in Deaf returnee’s community are much higher more than we really understand. It is the toughest social struggle of all.
There was a great article written in 2016, about 63% of Americans Don’t Have Enough Savings to Cover $500 Emergency by Maggie McGrath, a Forbes writer. That’s alarming. The same sandals I walked for nine months had put me in emergency rooms few times this year. I am in joy of wearing new shoes very much. I had to scramble around trying to make some money by fixing around, helping out people, and the times had been a journey with the sandals. Helping out is a blessing. It was very good deal I could not ignore those shoes and they are in excellent condition! I thank people who are supportive of my journey. You know who you are. Love and peace are the most important elements in my life.
Should International Deaf Awareness Week shut Deaf returnees out of their stories? What is suffering? It is a noun: the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. I thought writing a story about suffering, the wisdom of words should be return and I thank the people who devotes their time to motivate me and saw the good in me. This story is not a family friendly gender-netural politically correct journey. It is about sharing raw perspective—a view from behind closed doors, from a cell in jail to the door in present time. It is about life surviving the suffering cycles.
Suffering is something Deaf returnees to understand the dangers of it. Educate them. Free them. If the society is not interested because they are taught that way, then that is the problem.
If I am pushed to suffer and suffered by, then how can I get better? If we let suffering form the frames that we make decisions with and do not take the time and energy to understand the issues then we will suffer fear and many innocent people will suffer the consequences of that fear while the wolves reap the profits from your fear. I take suffering seriously; my hope is not only to conduct a thorough, albeit expedient experience, suffering is something we need to know that it has been seen. The fish only knows that it lives in the water, after it is already on the riverbank. Without awareness about suffering, it would never occur for me to change this.
My life stories are flawed, with a life-time incarceration, lack of awareness, survival, and breath. When I was visiting Rochester, New York, and got a chance to visit Highland Park, the statue of Frederick Douglass, America’s first statue for people of color, had inspired me his stories as he was the master story teller.
Frederick Douglass writes, “I know of no soil better adapted to the growth of reform than American soil. I know of no country where the conditions for effecting great changes in the settled order of things, for the development of right ideas of liberty and humanity are more favorable than here in these United States.”
The sandals had been taking beating after beating, like a death sentence. Like a movie, where Like Skywalker Faces the Entire First Order in Star Wars: The Last Jedi where he took powerful missiles and yet, he pulled the greatest Jedi mind in all of movies. I understood the scene. I’ve been there.
There is no need to attack Deaf returnees stories where they had been working on every effort to correct misinformation, educate society, and encourage awareness that needs help. Changing my life around is not that easy. The experience of walking sandals for nine months is not a sign of weakness. It makes my life stronger. I am writing this instead of being hidden from view, the suffering is real. Look at other countries who had been treating Deaf returnees way different—more positive than in America.
Someone once shared with me, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Not even as a teenager that time, I made mistake 32 years ago. Proving legal bias—especially when Deaf returnees do not appear in the language of law—is very difficult. How do you change your life around? Must I be shunned from public for life?
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
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