ALERT: Deaf DC Residents

A big concern for Deaf residents who lives in District of Columbia and pay membership fees for District Columbia Association of the Deaf (DCAD). Profiling and criminalizing is not funny.

Constitution Day: People of the Eye

WRITTEN ENGLISH TRANSCRIPT:

Today, The Constitution of the United States is done and signed by a majority of delegates attending the historic Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia today on September 17, 1787. It’s a hallmark that in the Deaf community, we need to protect our rights.

The ASL/Deaf community has been dealing with very difficult social and economic changes and we need to address an aura of optimism among ourselves who see the possibility of making American Sign Language (ASL) a more dynamic force in communication and instruction for all Deaf people. Especially constitutional rights.

The Deaf community should be a public service—not a place of fear what is called ‘Surdophobia’, “fear of Deaf people” and take advantage of them because of auditory measures. That is beyond cruel punishment and that is exactly why oppression has since become a unique subset of Deaf America. Why? Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution that applies to the Deaf community today. That is a good example of language bigotry.

Can we dedicate ourselves to protect Deaf America? The Constitution of the United States of America—is an important asset that also dedicates to Deaf America, the quality is largely invisible that often overlooked a group of minorities, who easily targets.

Constitutional rights in local, state, and federal—and….their country. The Deaf community needs to restore citizen trust and empower through American democracy. A strong, Deaf community is vital to help the Deaf community to build resources.

If we do not know, with confidence, our part in the whole and our place in history, we can become frustrated by what we have to do. If we know what being Deaf means, our self-esteem and self-determination would be much surer. It is important to understand how much importance of the United States Constitution means for us to preserve our language and culture.

Celebrating the Bill of Rights

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227 years ago today, the Bill of Rights was shown to the public eye. The people of the eye are also protected by the Bill of Rights. As I wrote this column for DEAF LIFE: Our Constitutional Crisis in April 2018 Issue. Permission was granted to share this column.

“When Deaf people are facing a time of crisis, it is extremely important that they understand their Constitutional rights.

For the past five years, I’ve been asking Deaf people basic questions about the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution)—and considering what’s been happening, a basic knowledge of the answers to these questions could be life-saving. But during these five years, I found only one Deaf person who knew all ten amendments.

Only one? What happened to what we learned about democracy in school? Were we ever taught that the Constitution was written and ratified to resist the tyranny of the ruling minority? Were we taught about the Bill of Rights, discussing each amendment, so we could understand the principle of equal protection?

We can ask—but won’t get any answer—why Deaf students didn’t learn about this before graduating, or why Deaf schools or mainstreamed programs failed to teach them. How can we hold schools accountable for these results?

The U.S. Constitution is a “living document” that can be interpreted, as legal protection should Deaf people face excessively harsh treatment by law enforcement. Recently, one Saturday night, I attended a Deaf social gathering in Washington, where a Deaf woman was sharing her experience with me about an encounter with local police, and how an officer, who knew a little bit of ASL, told her, “I am cold, I need to come in,” and forced himself into her house without her permission. She told me that she felt violated.

Then I asked her if she knew anything about the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. She said, “No.” I explained to her what the Fourth Amendment says: Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any search warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.

I told her that her Constitutional rights had indeed been violated. Certainly, it’s not the first time that a police officer entered a citizen’s house without a search warrant. It is perfectly legal to tell the police that they cannot come in without a proper search warrant. You have the right to say no, and they don’t have the right to barge in. It is your home. It is your property. (Even if you’re renting an apartment or saying at a friend’s house, you have your property with you.)

The key is better education about our Constitutional rights. If it’s impractical to enroll in continuing education classes, you can get access to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and study them carefully. And reread them every so often so you don’t forget. The text of the Constitution and Bill of Rights are posted online, can be borrowed, in book form with commentaries, from the public library, or can be purchased. It’s a good investment. Booklets containing the text and amendments can sometimes be obtained free of charge from nonprofit organizations.

Parents of Deaf children, Deaf members of locally elected Deaf school boards, teachers of the Deaf, Deaf advocates, and grassroots Deaf community members should recognize that we’re responsible for ourselves and our fellow Deaf citizens. Empowerment begins with education. We need to teach each other and educate the uneducated about why understanding our Constitutional rights is crucially important, and a survival skill we all need to know.

If we believe that our rights have been violated, do we understand what those rights are? Do we understand what the laws are?

Shouldn’t we?”

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-Jason “JT” Tozier is a former Gallaudet University graduate student living in Washington, D.C; He was a scholarship recipient for ASL/Deaf Studies with emphasis in Cultural Studies at Gallaudet.

He is Chair of Deaf Political Action Committee—District of Columbia Chapter, Chair of National Deaf Consumers United, Director for We the Deaf People, Inc.’s District of Columbia Chapter, member of National Deaf Task Force on Police and Emergency Services, and Founder of Deaf Access Justice.

In his spare time, he loves to play cribbage and chess, reading books, lecturing, and blogging.

Deaf Citizenry: The Purpose of Constitutional Rights

images-1Last Saturday, September 13, 2014, I grabbed a golden opportunity to visit Fort McHenry, the lost and forgotten war in American history; It was named after the Secretary of War James McHenry who was a signer of the United States Constitution to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Star Spangled Banner written by Francis Scott Key. For example, one listener will summon up a vision of the composer in the ship watching Fort McHenry. Another floats filled with Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners off in a way that each word is signed equally far removed from the reality.  Also, there is a lot of struggling sense of power at the meaning of the individual signs reflecting each word in the prison system.

From the screaming rivers, clear-cut forests to those Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners who had their own constitutional rights broken and committed by naysayers to escape a punishing debt, for example, denying their own language, ASL in prison becomes a constitutional right under First Amendment. Since this week (September 17th-23rd) is Constitution week. There are thousands and thousands of unreported Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners in the database system. They are getting less than a fair treatment of getting full-fledged human rights. There are ghosts everywhere you look in the darkest scandal inside the prison walls. America had taken the rein as a king of the world’s largest inmate inventory.  The same inventory that has almost 1.6 million inmates in America, where is the status of Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners? The same prison walls that own assets equivalent to one-forth of America’s gross justice product. In America, it is five (5) percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its prisoners.

IMG_0077 The only park in the nation to bear this dual distinction.

In remembering their Constitutional rights, Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners should develop a formula that defines their human right of being Deaf, Deaf-Blind that supports communicative competency that also supports the right of using ASL in prison. There is a vacuum in the prison walls to raise or find fund for Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners whom has the right to branch out their intellectual life by granting them the constitutional rights, so necessarily that Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners and returned citizens can continue to make new meanings. The justice department has failed to resolve many challenges where Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners confront.

The Bill of Rights (First Ten Amendments) are dedicated to protect Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners and returned citizens’ human rights anytime. The prison system is developing a community of hostility—the aversion of Deaf prisoners whose inevitable end of their life skills for better human settings.  It is hard to imagine Deaf, Deaf-Blind or disabled prisoners are forced to forget their constitutional rights, within the political circles, with Deaf inmates in the system, the prison system receive a poor adequate funding to help Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners every day.

It is very important to preserve their rights with the intent of educating them the constitutional rights that they need to recognize that it has a long history, but it is not officially labeled as such. It is to subordinate and intimate not only the reason it is Constitutional week, but also the entire community in which it is needed to use. Preserving the constitutional rights is therefore symbolic in that it sends a message to the entire Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled community to remember their rights. It does matter because it is socially constructed without self-evident definition.  It means that they should be not treated differently. The challenge for the prison system that there are hundreds of Deaf, Deaf-Blind and disabled prisoners  are being on a painful vogue because their constitutional rights in prison has been breached.

-JT

Copyright © 2014 Jason Tozier

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

34% Is No Joke!

ImageSolitary Deaf Prison by Nancy Rourke

Depression is the inability to construct a future-Rollo May

Psssst. Hey, you. 34% is a lot! For example, “Wilken noted that inmates in segregated housing accounted for 34 percent of all suicides in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Prisoners in solitary are also 33 percent more likely than those in the general prison population to commit suicide, according to the ruling.” and please see the link below at the end of the post.

There is something important that you need to know. Someone has to say it. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) does not care about it. Everyone at the NAD home office tries very hard not to know it. This 34% claim may seem theatrical, but the odds are stacked in my favor.

Hold on a second, they will probably be thinking by now. Do not single us out. Ignoring Deaf issues is a NATIONAL PROBLEM; Deaf people are angry like zeppelins all over America. The NAD headquarters is located in Silver Spring, Maryland, and they think they are safe and healthy. Deaf people have the birthright of Deafhood. Surely Deaf people are no worse than anyone else. The first president of NAD, Robert MacGregor would agree to it!

I am questioning leadership of the NAD because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had an important workshop called “Inmate Calling Services Rates” last Wednesday, July 10th. There was not a single representative from NAD showing up. The NAD has the staff of between 11-13 people ad none of them came to the FCC workshop.

The FCC headquarters is located in Washington, D.C.  Between Silver Spring and D.C. is no more than 30 minutes of driving. The FCC workshop was a public notice. How could they have missed it? True, Deaf issues are all over America, ans the NAD is supposed to be leading “the charge of the brigade” in the United States.

For example, Deaf people suffer the most of any of minority groups when it comes to mental health concerns. From the last time I remembered, 35% of Deaf people do not have an access to counseling. It has become a major concern because counseling is rehabilitating. Presently there are about 500 Deaf people so far who are incarcerated in jails or prisons. Access to such phone services as Video Phone (VP) would save a lot of problems for Deaf people today.

There are many stories that these Deaf inmates are suffering a lot from depression, isolation, mental anguish, anxiety, loss of sleep, physical and mental illness due to the experience. Mental health issues do kill their livelihood any more than people really understand. That is where the money drains. Here is the point: Health-care professionals know that Deaf inmates need to employ American Sign Language (ASL) are uniquely massive with health problems, the question is that why does not the NAD squirm at answering the question: “Why did they not show up at the FCC workshop with care?”

Let’s look at these alarming facts: The Ontario Association of the Deaf (OAD) in Canada has only three people on staff but they sure know how to be in the charge. They would make stops all over Ontario to make sure Deaf people are in good hands. Three people on staff, compared to 11-13 people on the NAD staff. What the heck?! NAD needs to turn off their television and go outside to meet real Deaf people. In the real media world, hearing people would say that Deaf people have a social deviance where hearing people keep on demonizing the Deaf with different points of view. For the sake of Deaf people’s mental health, the NAD needs to leave the home office, to go down the road, to attend a workshop, and to learn something that might make a difference in Deaf people’s lives. It is not healthy to sit inside the home office too much.

The NAD presents a new genre in zombie lore. The NAD’s mission is to imply that another could be gore fest of inexplicably reanimated, undead humans turned monsters feasting off the flesh of the living known as Deaf people. However, the NAD is not really narrative about zombies. Instead, the NAD utilizes the motif of the monster–in this case–the zombie as the metaphor to contrast the vulnerable state of humanity and its pursuit of survival in the collapse of all societal structures. However, the metaphor delves so deeply in the consciousness of physical and psychological reality for the characters in the narrative that it becomes literal. The zombie is no longer a monster, but a conflicted human turned by a societal-borne disease. Where is the NAD’s symbol in their placement between two worlds–the previous world governed by law order of hearing people, and the current world where laws appear meaningless. The NAD represents a moral code that separates the zombie experience from the human experience. The NAD also represents a failure of that moral code to shield humanity from extinction. The failure of government structures and the medical community to quell the zombie pandemic is evidenced everywhere that abandoned Deaf people from real life interaction.

Deaf inmates who are suffering depression while being incarcerated is hard to grasp. The media work very hard at assuring the public that Deaf inmate are dismissed, swept under the rug. Fortunately we the Deaf see these type of stories often enough to read between the lines and know that it is not the case at all. A big charade that goes on behind the thin blue line cannot be ignored! Education is already free. However, Deaf people are not being provided to use VP to make calls to their families, friends, or whoever they call make their lives more harder. The NAD needs to admit that they know that if they do not participate in this important FCC workshop, their attitudes do reflect those Deaf inmates that they may not return to society minimal expectations, then that is what prison becomes useful. While Deaf people are being shut out without providing an ASL interpreter for whatever the reason might be, their social literacy becomes worse. The NAD needs to realize that Deaf inmates are being forced out of education at the greatest cost.

My question is that does the NAD really understand the importance of faith in today’s version of American justice for Deaf inmates and the FUTURE of Deaf America such as freedom of speech and various constitutional rights? 34% of the Deaf inmates are suffering because of the NAD’s lackaday; the NAD does not care about Deaf inmates.

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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

Reference:

Janquart, Philip A. Judge Orders Relief for Deaf California Prisoners. 7 June 2013.

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/06/07/58332.htm