Laurent Clerc: United Nations Human Rights Prize

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70 years ago on December 10th, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was brought up with the idea to recognize that as humans we adopt equal rights, freedom, and pursuit of happiness.

I just read the winners for 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize who deserve an award. From the United Nations website writes:

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.

In the past, United Nations Human Rights had given to someone who passed away such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Why not Laurent Clerc? He contributed to Deaf community in the heart of human rights. Establishing the first American Deaf School in Hartford, Connecticut. For next 50 years, the school had trained many Deaf students in the field of educators to teach Deaf pupils to be successful. Laurent Clerc’s spirit embodies the self-determination of the newly Deaf space; his thoughts are still considered the strongest influence in Deaf people’s bodies, minds, and spirits.

Laurent Clerc’s quote:

“A knowledge of history is extremely useful; it lays before our eyes the great picture of the generations that have preceded us; and in relating the events which passed in their time…it lays before us the precepts of the wise…of all ages…”

There was no “rehabilitation” program or education for Deaf students. Laurent Clerc predicted the importance for future of the Deaf citizens to preserve and perpetuate in the language and culture, protecting and promoting ASL. French influence upon American Sign Language (ASL) and intellectual life of the Deaf has become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between Deaf people to seek for higher education. Not only in America, but influenced Canada as well, too.

Last September 2018, United Nations recognized its first International Day of Sign Languages, and it is a huge step. There was more than 70 million Deaf people living world wide, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, the higher education is pretty difficult to grasp, only two percent out of 70 million Deaf people have the human right access to a formal education.

Since Laurent Clerc’s arrival in America, his mission has been to provide quality individualized education honoring the talents of Deaf students, making sure they were given the highest opportunities to acquire academic skills necessary for success.

Making sure the long journey, the dark moments of doubts and struggles, going through series of emotional, mental and physical—and the feeling in a life time would end up being over, until Laurent Clerc’s arrival made sure it was never over. It was very much part of human right. Being the state of Deaf is a human right in the highest form of freedom.

Honestly, I do think Mr. Laurent Clerc deserve United Nations Human Rights Prize, the largest honour of lifetime work. What do you think?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://usdeafhistory.com/tag/laurent-clerc/

https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/news/dspd/international-day-sign-languages.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Prize_in_the_Field_of_Human_Rights

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

AGBell: Misunderstanding?

The “quality” of a Deaf child should not be misunderstood by AGBell’s practitioners of Audism, Hate, Surdophobia and Oppression.

Another Hearing Privilege in Hollywood Industry

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Honestly, when I learned about the movie, “The Silence”, the hearing actress would play a role as Deaf person. It’s another language war. The term of war comes from old English, “wyrre”—bringing into confusion. It is also an insult to Deaf culture. It’s the bandwagon of hearing privileges that always the stronghold to overcome. Deaf people should never been confused. It’s the hearing people who are confusing.

I do not really understand this social phenomenon why hearing people keep denying by unpacking own privileges. I mean…it’s no excuse! What is so special about Deaf community? Deaf actors and actresses are talented and attuned to their people.

I remember when I was selected to act as Hansel in Deaf program in 1983, that time I was 9 years old. The joy and excitement of learning as much acting as possible through which it can be understand, intellectually and emotionally, that Deaf people can act and understand the presence in their life experience is the consequence of those learning experiences so we are better prepared to act once we leave the acting experience.

It was a big deal for me even I realized just now. It’s really big deal. You know, Deaf children are precious to be given and empowered with acting skills. The study of acting as Deaf person had shown that the study of ASL is a creative process based upon the analysis of linguistic/cultural evidence, which results in a conversation between ASL and its users.

When I become an actor for Deafhood Monologues, it was a learning experience at Gallaudet. I believe that not only in ASL but in all areas Deaf actresses and Deaf actors should have the opportunity to reach their full potential as informed and knowledge young women and men. As they have chosen to learn about the language and culture.

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It’s just impossible and unthinkable that hearing actresses and actors would deprive away from Deaf talent. It’s an invisible tool that Deaf community continues to be oppressed. We all need to be reminding of Homer’s Odyssey, Deaf people are challenged to overcome the unknown. It’s the same that goes to Hollywood industry.

Deaf actresses and actors had a joy of learning something novel—something mind-blowing. They are the ones who have gained from the learning journey that shall furnish their home. Back in 2011, I attended Toronto International Deaf Film + Arts Festival, the Gala event was a huge insult to Deaf community, the gala film was showing 88 minutes of hearing actresses and actors until three minutes left in the movie, finally Deaf actress. What does it mean?

What happened to the safe and rigorous, one that empowers Deaf actresses and actors in pursing ASL for Hollywood industry? After Gala night, the film festival begun and the opening of the festival, I’m Deaf and I Didn’t Know made by French Deaf filmmaker was the best film of the festival that morning that I decided to write down this film as best film and sure enough, the film won the best film of festival. It should be in the gala first place!

Yet, SEVEN years later, the film industry is still dominated by hearing privileges. Oh yeah, 30 years later after Marlee Matlin won Academy Award for the movie, Children of a Lesser God is still oppressed in the name of hearing privileges. I mean, what’s worst the most of all? The Silence.

The term: silence—complete absence of sound and cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking.

Yes, speaking from pain. Speaking from experience. Speaking from truth. It’s really unbelievable and insulting that Deaf culture continues to be oppressed from the absence of sound and prevent from showing Deaf talent. It’s quite shameful, hmm?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

Why Should Deaf Children Be Condemned for Life?

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This is invisible hate crime, folks. This is the world where Deaf children can no longer protect themselves. Every year, thousands of Deaf children are mockingly targeted without compassion because they’re easy to target for greed.

For example, a cochlear implant surgeon saying, “Here is a child with no hearing whatever. Previously that child would have been condemned to a life of signing, special schools, and now…we can restore that sense. And the vast majority of the children will given a really a virtually normal life.”

It is a sign of dangerous framing. There are two meanings of the word: “condemned”

Express complete disapproval of, typically in public; censure.

Sentence (someone) to a particular punishment, especially death.

Death. Does it look familiar? We the Deaf are in constant danger other than sign language. The sound /f/ in the term, Deaf shares the same fricative—the force of the breath through a constricted or partially obstructed passage in the vocal tract—with the sound of /th/ in the term, death. Deaf people are being punished because they are Deaf. Can we understand and combat hate crime and form of bigotry? Are hate crime, hate speech, and hate literature about Deaf people getting worse?

We all should read Tarski’s Theory of Truth written by Hartry Field and his structure of ideas, sometimes paradoxical, inconsistent, or contradictory, that people have about good and bad, about beautiful and ugly, and about right and wrong, which are the justifications that people cite to explain their actions.

The theory of truth along which people make judgments are all dependent upon what they learn from childhood. These include judging between right and wrong, between good and bad, and between beautiful and ugly, all based upon social and community values. They are not acquired through our genes, but through our socialization. That implies that they can be relearned; that we could change our judgments.

In the broad sweep of human existence, the general trend of change has been for a decrease in the number of truth, and a reduction from societal differences in society to secular space. From local community with theory of truth, Deaf people moved to a community with struggles, from that Deaf people moved to truth and an increase in the proportion of people, like cochlear implant surgeons who believe in no truth.

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The impact of hate crime had spread well beyond the immediate survivors and victims and the target of Deaf community to the general society.

This effect includes practice of hate speech, like this surgeon’s words: “Previously that child would have been condemned to a life of signing”—-is the central point here is that Deaf people are continually punished in the name of hate crimes, we must understand precisely why Deaf children are punishing, and it is a hate crime grounded in name of Audism as well. Audism is in the umbrella of hate.

What we need is in this world, is not healthy, what we need is not hatred of Deaf people, and what we need is not punishment of Deaf people, what we need is love and wisdom.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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