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.

 

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IKEA: Taking Responsibility-A Privilege

Jason “JT” Tozier shares his raw experience while working for IKEA from 2007-2010 in Portland, Oregon. His stories shows plenty of Audism. Two weeks before he walked out of IKEA for good, he was reading a book, “Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood” that gave him huge eye-opener thanks to Marvin Miller who suggested him to read the book. It is part of his Deafhood Journey.

Deaf Returning Citizens Deserve Happy Holidays!

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Dear Readers,

As we gather with friends and loved ones to celebrate the holiday season and give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy and the freedoms we cherish, let us take a moment to remember those people, for example, Deaf returning citizens who are less fortunate. They usually are left out alone. Employment and higher education across America, is the biggest struggle for Deaf returning citizens who continue to set an example of rebuild their lives in the community for its service and pursuit of happiness.

We all have a part to play to make our world a better example in Deaf community. During this holiday season, we all need to reach out to those who need help the help the most and commit to our fellow Deaf returning citizens and resolve to build a better future free from severe oppression, hunger, and injustice. In this season of reflection, Deaf community needs to come together and make a difference.

Giving a lecture “Deaf Returning Citizens as Forgotten People” at California State University Northridge (CSUN) sponsored by Deaf Studies Association for a conference called Social Justice: BY, FOR, OF People, is a great honor, and I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity to continue to do so. I am excited to get work and make a major change in 2016.

Have a Merry Christmas and a joyful holiday season! As in Native American literature, on Christmas, bring peace on Earth.

All my best,

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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

Is It Right Time To Be An American in Deaf Community?

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A proud owner of this art!

Good morning! So, today is America’s 239th birthday. I shed a tear right now in my eyes. Deaf people today are still unemployed and underemployed, the worst minority group of all around 80%. In the same land of America created a learning environment that would grow into discrimination each day. Deaf people were taught to depend on their hearing relatives, friends, or neighbors because they heard information firsthand and that Deaf people always get it secondhand. It would be nice if America develop Audism in the list of discrimination, you know when people learn how to recognize common types of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment—and what to do if they become survivors. Well, Deaf people are the biggest survivors of all—it is a proven fact.

There are many stories that Deaf people suffer bullying, retaliation, threats, and other factors in the workplace today. How come the employment did not follow the policy? It is important to understand that the organizing principle of power wherein culture can be studied through technologies of power—not progress, not education, not conflict, not struggle, and not resistance.

For someone who have the great pride of being an American, power is a strategy attributable to functions, neither economy nor politics. Power creates truth, and this truth produces a function of power. Does America teach the need to heal from the traumas of living in less than a just, sacred and sustainable country and to resist the further destruction of Deaf community? Legal protection for the Deaf people is not without precedent. The unemployed and underemployed on Deaf people will have only the most marginal of impacts on hiring them—in reality, any company worth its salt will never make any job offer until all references and decisions are thoroughly completed and verified.

By that point, the likelihood is very high that the being Deaf will have come to light anyway—at that stage, and depending on what the employment involves then it is judgmental call. It is time to address the question no one asks as means to poke holes in critical attitudes towards Deaf people. Despite the obvious existence of negative portrayals of Deaf people in high regard, it is better to think that way that Deaf people are definitely changing for the better. Varying ideas of Deaf-owned businesses are coming into consideration, more than anything.

Although, I experience the most severe bullying in the name of the book, there are times that I struggle as an American. Yet, I celebrate America’s birthday for three reasons today: Bill of Rights, the intersection of social justice, and diplomacy of Deafhood framework. The fireworks are in the order. Happy birthday, America and American Sign Language, too!

-JT

Copyright © 2015 Jason Tozier

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