First part: Childhood
Second part: Manhood
Third part: Deafhood
I just completed watching Paddy Ladd’s final and part three. When I first met Paddy Ladd in September 2012, in my birth state, I remember seeing some Deaf people who gave me dirty looks when I showed up there. There were ugly names throwing at me. One Deaf interpreter showed a great deal of displeasure when I was walking down the aisle to meet Paddy, the very same Deaf interpreter was attempting to block me because of malicious rumors the interpreter received from deficit thinkers. I realized that the very same person who supports Deafhood journey does not want me to succeed in my own journey. I refused to let them stop me.
Living in Pacific Northwest those years have not been kind to my journey. From the collective grief I shared my childhood life as a lost kid, I remember when I was 19, I received a full scholarship for two years at ITT Technical Institute, free tuition. They saw great potential in my skills and I was good at math.
For the next few days, it has been really rough time for me then on a Friday afternoon, I made a phone call through Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) to talk with a representative who came to my grandparents house a week ago where I signed the agreements under peer pressure. I informed the representative that I was no longer interested in pursuing my education there because I was not ready in my own core. I dealt with a great deal of confusion.
A year later, I got a letter from Oregon State University offering me a full scholarship, and again, I had to turn down because I was not ready. I felt more confused. I was not sure where I would be doing with my own life. Then my life completely changed when I was jailed at age of 21, and hit a bottom rock. I was jolted back into painful journey. You know, an eagle’s nest has fallen from the cliff’s edge, crushed by a rock fall. Each day, layers of systematic oppression gain more, another layer of hatred I deal daily.
Then I got a job at a hotel in Portland, working in line cook, and the executive chef liked how fast I was, and the hotel chain and executive chef has encouraged me to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and it was a huge honor, but I was on probation and I was heart-broken, and had to turn down the offer. It was tough time. So, I continued to work there for couple of years, struggling to find my own identity as Deaf person. Boy, I was really lost. I became the target from my own community, Deaf community.
I decided to enroll at a local community college, just to do something about my life. Then I became a serious student and ended up getting good grades and pushed me all the way to enroll at a university, that would forever change my life in many ways. I graduated with three degrees, all with honors at the same time.
Within few months after graduation, I got an acceptance letter from Gallaudet University for MA in Deaf Studies with emphasis in Cultural Studies in 2012. I had to hold that spot later. After meeting Paddy in Seattle, the next day, I immediately wrote him an e-mail, showing my passion to sign up for Deafhood Studies at University of Bristol under Centre for Deaf Studies and saw course descriptions, and I was so ready and eager trying to find a way to get there.
Deaf-centered academic studies–Deafhood thoughts. It was perfect! Then I learned that University of Bristol administration did not think Deaf Studies was important anymore. I was surprised—I remember that day well. I said, “Why? Why is it happening?” and then I felt even more lost.
The very next day after arriving in DC in October 2012, I visited Gallaudet University with a big smile.
The same year when it was shut down in 2013, I enrolled at Gallaudet University on a graduate scholarship in ASL/Deaf Studies, the course descriptions was not the same. It was not Deaf-centered philosophy. The ASL/Deaf Studies department was running erratic priorities, rumormongers, and saw great deal of favoritism, corruption, abusing powers, cheating grades, and an oppressive system continues to target Deaf returning citizens. It was not even Deafhood centric.
I lost scholarship fast enough and became the student of four days journey. I became the pariah at Gallaudet University. They do not support the idea of processing a Deafhood journey. They live in culture of fear, reaffirming its commitment to the society’s oppressive core values and norms.
One Deaf professor from ASL/Deaf Studies department once told me that the department is not the same anymore. I agreed. When I first saw the idea of Deafhood Studies, it was all about investment in the future. It was an integral part of one’s move toward compassion as the state of being Deaf. All the scholarships I turned down until I received a scholarship from Gallaudet University, the world’s only hub for higher education for Deaf people—was taken away. I was even more heart-broken more than anything in my entire life. They invested in hate and humiliation.
I could go on more, but the final question of Paddy’s interview: “What do you feel you’ve given to the world?” Paddy then answers, “What a question!”
Paddy has given my world a complete change and gave me an extra motivation to write a book—the most challenging task I ever done in my life. After reading Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood, the knowledge of how the constructed balance of power across levels of oppression affects the capacity and opportunities for Deaf people today and tomorrow. I learned much about myself by seeing thousands of Deaf people being oppressed daily. Even at Gallaudet University, too. It is not Deaf-centered university….not yet.
Seeing their stories invariably shows me much about their struggles and makes me think of my own. I have found Paddy’s contribution of coining Deafhood, an invaluable to think in terms of healthy and healing process, goals and expectations every time when I would suffer emotional pain; it is difficult to explain this. It is complicated. There was a huge difference between Deafhood Studies at University of Bristol and ASL/Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University.
When I think of Deafhood, I empower myself more. From my bottom of my heart, I thank Paddy Ladd for all compassion as a way of life and appreciate being state of Deaf. In one of my recent blog posts, Deafhood: A Journey of Greater Thinking—I wrote:
To master positive thinking, active learning is a core element of their learning. Deaf people would benefit a lot from their Deafhood journey to identity their freedom, bound, and inflectional, derivative, or obsolete environment and they shall design the goal and assessment for understanding of their journey just as much as building a high view of confidence. They would master the basic content and also express in creative and challenging ways. They feel the true growing of pain. They are taught content but process, the methodology by Deafhood journey is generated.
Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier
This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message.
This must be seen—I feel pain for Terrylene Sacchetti! I am with her all the way!
Be educated on Gallaudet University’s Clery Act report. Say No to Dr. Cordano’s selection of current Vice President of Student Affairs & Community Engagement! Dr. Cordano’s current selected leader allowed this clery act report to be this dangerous! Safety and well being of Gallaudet students comes first! Demand for a leader with integrity, compassion and sincere concern for all students! A truly caring leader approved by the community with formal interview process. Deaf stakeholders make a stand! Gallaudet Board, make a stand!
Transcript close to interpretation: Please listen and share this post to raise awareness in our beloved community. I lost my lovely boy, Gio Manganelli, under the leadership of this individual whom Dr. Cordano GU president, has appointed as a Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement without the support of the campus community. GU deserves a change of leadership NOW for the sake of student’s safety and well being. Please check out for yourself by googling “Gallaudet University + Clery Act”. Now, as you read this, think critically about this question: What is being terribly reported there every year in addition to many campus in incidents that went unreported under leadership of this selected individual?
To educate yourself further, compare GU’s Clery Act report with other similarly sized universities in our country. The Clery Act report tells you the truth about GU’s unstable program and its services. It also tells a true story of the current administration’s ineffective leadership. For example, read a copy of this selected individual’s perfunctory guideline/policy on staff procedures and training related to campus safety, and be afraid! BE SMART!! PROTECT YOUR CHILD, or change the leadership. Better yet, do both!!! If you want to do more, I earnestly ask you to kneel and take a picture with this hashtag #IkneelwithGioandGallyStudents or #Ikneelwithgallystudents
Today and on Tuesday October 3, 2017, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m, community campus is in the house named after an African-American Deaf man, Andrew Foster Auditorium, please stand up and emphatically say, “No” to Dr. Cordano’s VP choice. Yesterday’s announcement of Vice President selection was exactly the day of my son’s passing three and half years ago. It is in this selected leadership that allowed the Clery act report to be in this dangerous condition for Gally students. Do not be bought by the administration’s “ice cream” racism and “power-boxed” lunch freebies!
Demand for a leader with integrity, compassion, and sincere concern for all students — a truly caring leader approved by the community with formal interview process! Your demand will ensure equity, diversity and inclusion, enough with the “old boys club” leadership and privileges!!
I am Gio’s mom. I kneel with Gio for the safety and well being of all Gallaudet students. In Gallaudet’s hands, I lost my son. I pray with all my heart that you DON’T LOSE YOURS! I want to see this university become beautiful who truly care for students safety and well being. Do something. Thank you for letting me part this with you. Please share and forward this post. I invite you to earnestly watchful on Gallaudet’s Clery Act report each year. I call onto Gallaudet Board to rise up and do something. Look and care for your program and its service. Watch for the quality services.
For you who work at Gallaudet university, do you care? You have an accountability to be excellent, be extraordinary, be amazing. Don’t let students be the position of having to fend for themselves. Make a stand! Until we stand together on this matter, we will finally change and flourish our Deaf community. This is what my son, Gio stood for.
Le Toudjida Allara, a Deaf People of Color (POC) shares his concerns about Albert Dwight Benedict:
This is unbelievable to hear the unhealthy news stating that Gallaudet Administrators have decided to automatically promote Dwight Benedict as the new and historic Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement of our beloved Alma Mater–see the officially announced vlog presented by President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5CSaEX3FsU) without going through the national search process. This has been surprised us so big time.
As a POC, international alumni and former long student of Gallaudet University, I have sincerely so tired to hear, see, learn and receive that Gallaudet Administrators have not taken their serious action to change their institutional system for the good health of our whole community and eliminate the uncomfortable/unwelcome environment for FSSA (Faculty, Staff, Students & Alumna) because Gallaudet has:
1- Made us to increase our loss of trust toward its administration team
2- Continued to make POC members of Gallaudet Community feeling down with its decision to appoint Mr. Albert Dwight Benedict as the VP of Students Affairs & Community Engagement without going through job application process, national search process and various interviews process with the community AND even he does not have a good record of leadership toward international and POC FSSA during his recently long tenure as Dean of Student Affairs
3- Proven us that certain “Deaf” White Privilege (DWP) members as part of the Gallaudet’s dominant coalition do whatever they want unprofessionally and unethically in order to show us that we POC folks are like a garbage or worthless people to them
4- Disrespected its mission and vision statements that have a true intention to produce Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing students to be great and professional because it has failed to provide fair, respect and chance to qualified deaf professionals to apply for the VP position through the national search
5- Clearly shown us that it is not for us, belong to us and through us
6- Encouraged the division and destruction of relationships within its internal environment
7- Continued to promote favorism, nepotism, racism and misleadership in its institutional politics and system
I can say more of what I have known about Gallaudet but the school has indeed a lot lot lot to work on fixing its hugely institutional issues since the 2006 Protest. If Gallaudet University especially its top-leaders, GUAA – Gallaudet University Alumni Association and Board of Trustees seriously care about us as valuable Alumni and other important members of the community, I would like to challenge them to seriously consider to reopen and re-advertise the VP position (then Mr. Benedict has to understand that he has to go through the application process with respect of other potential candidates and prove us why he is the right candidate for the VP position) and going through its formal national search process. Also, I hope they will take this matter so soberly for the GREATER GOOD OF GALLAUDET COMMUNITY. Sigh… What a sad and unacceptable news!