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.

 

 

 

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Open Video for Deafhood Foundation

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.

 

The Unreal and Real: Stories From Deafhood Journey

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Four years ago the day before today, we were selected to give a play called The Deafhood Monologues written by Ella Mae Lentz held at Atlas Performing Arts Center, one of the oldest theaters in District of Columbia that night. It was special for all of us. I was very proud to be part of the cast—despite that I am from Portland, Oregon.

That night was truly special. I was a product of Tucker-Maxon Oral School in Portland, Oregon—every oral school for the Deaf proudly proclaims that it teaches its students how to speak. Every such school proudly advertises that it does not teach sign language, nor do its students use it. Every residential oral school has traditionally had a clandestine signing subculture.

It is far more difficult for this to occur in day schools, where students are shuttled between their families and school, which is why Alexander Graham Bell thought they were the best solution to the problem of educating Deaf students. His ideal was schools where there would be a single Deaf student in the midst of the hearing majority.

It goes without saying that he never considered Deaf children’s linguistic, social, or cognitive needs. Much less than their feelings.

Denial is the first law of healing. It is the first practical step toward getting rid of your mind the mistaken beliefs of a lifetime. The word, “deny” means to “declare not to be true that that appears true.” It is important that the first law of healing, the best way to get rid of negative beliefs from your mind and rid of toxic that eats up your body. Deaf community was taught to use self-hate when growing up in a society that is in a great deal of denial.

Self-hate is a disease and the truth is that the disease is that it is also self-inflicted. Deaf people inflict their own diseases upon themselves by their fears, resentments, hate, and belittlement. Self-hate in the Deaf community is probably the number one in the circle that it carry a gross injustice, which destroys our community, sabotages democracy and it is linked to many of our social problems.

The Deafhood Monologues changed my life. Self-hate is a form of darkness that flees in the presence of light and enlightenment. The Deafhood Monologues gathers up in a circle and used ASL as a breakthrough to stop politically correct society that Deaf people should not be oppressed.

It was part of healing for The Deafhood Monologues cast how to break trough self-hate from their childhood before discovering their true Deaf identity.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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