About to Get Killed

Sharing my near death experience where I was about to get killed in year 2000.

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Deafhood Foundation: A Criminal Record Shouldn’t Define Your Entire Existence

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Deafhood Foundation writes, Your donation will help end the economic exploitation of Deaf people, support anti-audism work, and create a society where everyone experiences full humanity and celebrates American Sign Language and Deaf culture.”

I have had been thinking about this for a while. For the last eight years, I have had invested a lot of heart and believability in Deafhood Foundation after reading Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood written by Paddy Ladd. The book arrived at my apartment in Portland, Oregon in April 2010 and I finished that book on the same day. It was mind-blowing experience. As soon as I finished that book, I remember calling up a friend who was one of certified Deafhood presenters and had brief discussion about it. I understood the magnitude of healing. That was the goal.

Two weeks after finishing that book, I was walking on Hawthorne Street in Portland, one of the famous streets, most laid-back streets, and there was a tattoo shop, and I decided to walk in and asked them to give me a tattoo, ‘Deafhood’ on my left arm where it ends up being first Deaf person to have ‘Deafhood’ in America. I was very proud of it.

Fast forward. June 2011. I was awarded with three degrees with honors. I worked very hard as Deaf returnee. I remember that day when I was released from jail in 1996, I told myself; I will never look back and make a huge difference in future. Day after day, year after year, I had no guidance, no space to call my own, or where to go. It was very difficult to deal with. I was separated from friends and Deaf community. I refused to be the scapegoat.

Couple of years later, a Deaf person informed me that the board position was open on the same day, and I immediately became interested in board position. I contacted one of the founding board members for Deafhood Foundation, and the board member said to me that I would not be welcomed on the board and I was devastated more than anything in my life all because I am a Deaf returnee. WITHOUT due process or screened—nothing just like that. Just right on spot right there. I was completely surprised and hurt, too.

It was a major discriminatory. I was surprised that the founding board member signed to me that I’d be “frustrated” and knew that it was discriminating against its own Deaf member in Deaf community. It was a huge blow. It shows that Deafhood Foundation does not support recidivism in Deaf community.

When I had to re-read the book by Paddy Ladd, I realized that the book does not support Deaf returnees either. If less than 0.00000005 percent of Deaf returnees suffering today—the truth supported by lack of awareness, the support matters, and goes a long way, How can we improve this conscious?

Think about emotional and physical impact that has gone deep enough to deal with struggles, with the capacity to think strong that has stored enough. Thought-provoking adventures. I live by reading books doing everything I can to make a living on the streets, and effectively deal with a world that most of us would never understand would never understand what it is like or known about. I often wonder about discovering the origin of life.

It will make a big impact of the overall quality of life. Can we articulate the specific needs of empowerment by building bridges to Deaf community? Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them”—that’s where it starts right there.

So, why not Deafhood Foundation supports Deaf returnees? The “philosophy” of Deafhood Foundation in the broadest sense, ignoring a barrier repertoire—stories, literacy expressions and the like—against Deaf returnees whose forms of expressions exert upon them.

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Where are the tears of joy—and tears of pride? Having being “incarcerated” since my early teen years, I had ever experienced a pursuit of happiness before and never thought I would have that opportunity, my young adulthood forever lost. Deaf returnees do not given a second chance as “productive contributor” to Deaf community.

Deafhood Foundation, where is the compassion and willingness about Deaf returnees to put their lives on the line for others is deeply rooted in their own struggles for being given the opportunity for redemption and for being welcomed back into society?

In Paddy’s Corner: Dr. Ladd coined the word “Deafhood” to describe positive ways of being Deaf in spite of the discrimination and oppression, and to present a framework to understand our past, work within the present, and plan for the future.”

What about the positive framework to understand Deaf returnees’ past, work with the present, and plan for the future to focus on positive ways of being Deaf in spite of the discrimination and oppression every day?

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Few months ago, when I attended as lone Deaf attendee for ACLU National Conference in Washington, D.C.—I saw a powerful image that says I believe a criminal record shouldn’t define your entire existence”—sadly, Deafhood Foundation does not see that way that it would always define your entire existence forever because Deaf community is small–and quickly judged by its looks and books.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

Election Day: Deaf Returnees VOTE.

Elections IMPORTANT. Our democracy depends on November’s midterm elections. Bottom line, the consequences are real blocking Deaf Returnees’s fundamental rights to vote without prejudice. Stigma is not needed in the society that includes Deaf community.

International Deaf Awareness Week 2018: Sandals

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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.

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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.

Unknown.jpegSomeone 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? 

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

Starbucks: Advocate of ‘Ban the Box’ for Deaf Returnees

 

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Guy Wonder. Deaf Artist.

There was huge news around about Starbucks announcing about first American Sign Language (ASL) signing store in United States for Deaf community and it is in Washington, D.C; it is perfect location to match our national intellectual movement. It is the Deaf community generates ideas that we all should make commitment to improve unemployment concerns. It is huge news.

First, I’d like to point out some important movement that had generated Deaf community in D.C; As Starbucks opened its first store in America: Seattle, Washington in 1971. The same year in 1971, Frederick Schreiber, former executive director for National Association of the Deaf (NAD) coined Deaf Studies, in his profound thoughts,

“If Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, they must have a better image of themselves and their capabilities. They need concrete exampled of what Deaf people have already done so they can project for themselves a brighter future. If we can have Black studies, Jewish studies, why not Deaf Studies?” (Note: Quoted in Charles Katz, “A Partial History of Deaf Studies, in Deaf Studies VI Conference Proceedings: Making the Connection (Washington, D.C.; College for Continuing Education, Gallaudet University, 1999. 120.)

ASL informs us that human beings have been around for many centuries before the writing culture merged. Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, signing hands are the reason why every day across the nation, including nation’s capital, and it offers life. Don’t forget Deaf President Now (DPN) in 1988. That time in ’88, Starbucks owned 33 stores.

Starbucks have around 8,000 stores. The first signing store in U.S. could be a huge project to discover the root causes of Deaf Studies. Like Schreiber said, “If Deaf people are to get ahead in our time, they must have a better image of themselves and capabilities…” and expand more signing stores across the country.

Starbucks is also one of largest companies in the country that would help former prisoners. It is called ban the box. When I lectured “Deaf Returning Citizens as Forgotten People” at California State University Northridge Social Justice conference sponsored by Deaf Studies Association in 2015, I explained about ban the box as well as Starbucks in that lecture. I also met the creator of “Ban the Box” at Yale Law Conference in 2014.

The District of Columbia has adopted a ban-the-box policy. Deaf returnees (former prisoners) who are living in DC are encouraged to get a job. In this time of crisis, it is Deaf leaders who hold out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf returnees.

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I hope Starbucks would teach Gallaudet University the same model that does not discriminate Deaf returnees or shame them in the name of hate and suffering and support ‘ban the box’. Same idea that when employers are being interviewed at Gallaudet, they are not required providing background check. I had asked several faculty members at Gallaudet that they never had background check at all. Irony, right? Privileges?

It is now becoming a central theme in the face of Gallaudet University. Deaf returnees must not be more invoked than deeply understood. Not everyone will agree with that, but it is essential for three critical reasons. 1) It is necessary for empowerment. 2) It is necessary for Deaf returnees. 3) It is necessary for the quality of higher education for Deaf returnees.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

As a best practice, and consistent with applicable laws, the Commission recommends that employers not ask about convictions on job applications and that, if and when they make such inquires, the inquiries be limited to convictions for which exclusion would be job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.”

Deaf returnees are struggling to find new ideas, avenues, directions, and motivations to change their lives around that is to be understood, appreciated, and used in growing pain stories. Higher education is the highest point of getting out of dark caves, and the critics are due first to the readers themselves, whose judgments can be traced not only to their past but also to their abilities and expectations.

As Starbucks is opening its first signing store in DC, it is something that will generate discussions in Deaf Studies classrooms for sure. Deaf returnees are encouraged to apply to work at this historic Starbucks and show that they can be hardest workers. After all, it is perfect location to match our national intellectual movement.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

The Discussion of Second Chances: Deaf Returnees

“Find ways of sharing the land, of achieving dignity without eradicating the other”- Naomi Chazon

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At the improving myself end of my life, I return home from a trauma stage: telling a story who dealt with an oppressed environment in the hearing world. The majority of the world: hearing. It makes Deaf community built into a minority gambling for human struggle and painful journey.

To the survivors of oppression, those Deaf valiant souls who fought for freedom their whole lives long and never lived to taste its pursuit of happiness; To learn awareness about Deaf returnees, who lived in this strange and cruel land, yet, dreamed more safe without ignorance.

Will Gallaudet University no longer safe because of bullying policies and social values? Where was I shut out of my trauma wiped from my memories of pain for 32 years and of my accomplishments to turn my life around and dealt with hate-mongers?

Labeling heavily regulated because they are federal employees. Regulated for collecting evidence, regulated for search and seizure and regulating on the ideas of profiling. These guidelines need to be followed but sometimes the federal employee does not want to follow the rules, sometimes they want to act like a human. Yes, human have biases and have histories.

In the personal tragedy of what it has happened to me, had been damaged to be enfolded and left to be a scapegoat at will in the eyes of ASL/Deaf Studies, whether our traumas can ever truly be overcome. The answers it offers are denial, deeply rooted in culture of fear, and empty my heart out. Truly broken. It is what it is called siege mentality. Us versus them rhetoric about Deaf returnees.

It is very radicalized—for example, oppressors “police” Deaf returnees, there are expectations that a person is an oppressor. They are considered flash points. If oppressing Deaf returnees on the campus of Gallaudet, what do you call it?

It is a Superman Syndrome. Oppressors are expected to SAVE THE DAY and do everything to everyone. Anti-hate mentality but when oppressors are in trouble and they need the idea of the dual relationships. It is senselessness of bullying. The problems with this type of policing—it is a masculine model, and old school stigma follow and lack of awareness is a big problem.

Let’s exacerbating this idea. Amount of awareness: 100% of educating themselves about Deaf returnees “paid dues to the society”, during the day, the “invisible oppression” and is not regulated, do not have to go by the books, but at night they are regular people by the books.

More about 10,000 Deaf inmates in the United States are invisible. When one let out of prison, only to find that landing a higher education at Gallaudet University is near impossible. In fact, they remain unemployed—often because of the stigma that they carry and concerns over what kind of higher education they would prove to be. It means the awareness of Deaf returnees is three times more invisible and marginalized.

Then lack of awareness goes back to their day job. The Allegory of Deaf returnees—stories that create a meaning that create a meaning beyond the literal level of interpretation.

The rhetoric of supremacism. What is supremacism? It “is an ideology of domination and superiority: it states that a particular class of people is superior to others, and that it should dominate, control, and subjugate others, or is entitled to do it.”

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When I took American Indian Literature for one of my undergraduate requirements, I was asked to read a book called The Lakota Way: Stories and Lessons for Living:

“We Lakota believe that the roads in life, but that there are two that are most important. The Red Road and the Black Road. They represent the two perspectives to every situation, the two sides of every person, the two choices we frequently face in life.

The Red Road is the good way, the good side, and the right choice. It is a narrow road fraught with dangers and obstacles is extremely difficult to travel.

The Black Road is the bad way, the bad side, the wrong choice. It is wide and very easy to travel. The Red Road and the Black Road appear in many of our stories, not as roads but as the personifications of right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark.”

That is something we need to think about. Can Deaf returnees be forgiven and give a second chance? The activity of entering or “invading” the awareness on the part of Deaf returnees is clearly one of struggling subversion. Intended by their visible presence in this clearly showed Gallaudet mecca is limiting between the allowable spaces for Deaf returnee’s search for healing and the rest of Gallaudet campus.

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Left unchallenged in such an action, however, are the hardest ways, besides the awareness about Deaf returnees, in which Deaf returnees feel alienated and excluded from Deaf space.

In the higher learning, it was the contention of oppressors to continue combat this stigma must be regarded as the same source of power that denied Deaf returnees access to higher education. Bullying—long tolerated as just part of growing up—finally has been recognized as a sociological problem.

In 1999, District of Columbia enacted anti-bullying legislation. In addition, research on the causes, consequences, and prevention of bullying has not enough discussed at Gallaudet University. However, major ignorance still exists in the understanding of bullying that could prevent the effects of bullying Deaf returnees. The form of social isolation is another sociological problem. With the right training, Deaf returnees who’ve been returned to the society thrive to hold hunger for higher education even more than your regular American citizen.

Higher education plays an important role in their lives. To empower the strategy of unity through democracy—and to teach them is the most peaceful thing. The spirit of peace and democracy that lacks the Gallaudet community-Deaf returnee agreement is gone, and there is no second chance for how to reverse it and how to cope with it.

Professors regarded as, Person who professes being usually an expert in arts or sciences, a teacher of the highest rank.” Harper, Douglas, “Professor.” Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-07-28.

Text defines “social movements” as collective attempts to bring about change….” Nothing. They originate OUTSIDE the established political system. Let’s emphasize on interlocking systems of oppression—however that is being conceptualized to it. Perhaps it seems surprising because the society have class, power and other issues to contend with. Deaf returnees are less likely to say that the society needs a movement because they continue to be oppressed.

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All for all, Deaf returnees have constitutional right to seek higher education at Gallaudet and change their lives around to make them better. 8th Amendment and 9th to the United States Constitution respectively: Bails, fines, and punishments“nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Rights retained by the people. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be constructed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

What is something really important about the relationship between Deaf returnees and Deaf community that we have not discussed in higher learning, and why is it important? Can we find ways of sharing awareness, of achieving dignity without oppressing Deaf returnees at Gallaudet University?

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

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