DEAF: No Room for Shame

There is no room to feel state of shame as being Deaf to please the system of Audism around the world.

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DHF: Ten Years Ago and Now

As a student in 2009, Deafhood Foundation (DHF) was founded ten years ago that time, opened my eyes and still finding the meaning in Deafhood journey.

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.

 

 

 

Train Our Minds to See Good in Deaf Returnees

When a Deaf returnee (returning citizen/returned citizen) denied, he/she are separated from Deaf community. First, Deaf returnees seek rehabilitation is not illegal and the law says they shall be treated respectfully. According to the United States Constitution, Eighth Amendment.

Second, as it is, Deaf returnees are guilty and incarcerated without due process. So much for compassion and following the rule of law. Most of Deaf returnees are receiving harsh treatment than they had their entire lives. Dealing through harassment is a depressing task. So much cruelty, so much lack of empathy or understanding or even basic human caring.

Those Deaf returnees are humans. Do any of you that support this know any Deaf returnees personally? This is not how Deaf community treats the awareness among us. Remember, humanity has been at this crossroads before.

Culture of fear is what will fail. Deaf community should be accurate and fair. On the other hand, rejecting Deaf returnees from Deaf community seek to minimize the profound damage that culture of fear is doing to us. This practice is a witch-hunt. It has to be critically examined and discussed.

If you want to go that route, then it is just what it is, but states, counties, cities needs rehabilitation, not retribution. Do we understand that oppression used to justify the ownership of Deaf community?

Deaf returnees are being taken away from Deaf community are traumatized enough and it does infect harm. It is a fact. The pain, anguish, fear, raging through rumor-mill who lives in culture of fear. It is shameful, and it has no place in the heart of Deaf community. Who in their right mind takes a Deaf returnee on a difficult journey while knowingly being punished daily? Why do Deaf community continue on this path of cruelty? What price will Deaf returnees pay its final reckoning due? One Deaf person sent me this quote few weeks ago to remember by:

“Train your mind to see the good in every situation”- Buddha

It would be nice to train our minds to see the good in every situation what Deaf returnees can contribute back to Deaf community.

For Deaf returnees who seeks Deaf-centered counselors, please visit

www.deafcounseling.com

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

 

Deaf People Without Stories

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April 5th. Five years ago today, it was the last show Deafhood Monologues in DC. Being part of the cast had made me better person. Deafhood Monologues set the determination to lift up the awareness and empowers the significance of Deaf people, whose stories captured the consciousness of Deaf community.

Some of people I know who attended Deafhood Monologues shows have given them optimism. It has been a defining moment for them and will do their best ability to their thinking and decisions throughout their lives.

Seeing stories in ASL, have the power to make a difference when a difference is what Deaf community needs. After seeing those stories during audition sessions, there are Deaf people throughout the world; I was inspired by the strength and compassion.

Lastly, Deafhood Monologues was a brilliant idea. They have made a powerful message that will reverberate across America: Deaf people who have been deeply oppressed by oppressors can no longer buy their way out of trouble.

Seeing ASL stories in Deafhood Monologues by powering this movement with truth to continue a commitment in social justice for Deaf people. Stories are powerful movement.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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