Using Non-Deaf Returnees to ‘Speak’ for Deaf Returnees: NO-NO!

It is important to analyze privileges. Check your privileges! For example, White people speak for Black people? NO! Men speak for Women? NO! Hearing people speak for Deaf people? NO!

Same thing as non-returning citizens. No difference. Those people who had not experienced jail or prison emotionally, physically and mentally. Understand what it is being a Deaf returning citizen or returnees “RC” like after returning to the society. Do they really understand hardships, emotional triggers, stigma, PTSD, depression, labeling, the list goes on. You cannot measure their struggles and understand the pain.

Those non-returning citizens should not speak for Deaf returning citizens.

HEARD [Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf], a hearing-owned organization run by Talila Lewis, decides to use non-returning citizens in a video discussing semantics related to quarantine is inappropriate. Those non-returning citizens should not speak for Deaf returning citizens.

It is the same way for other organizations that use privileged people to speak for unprivileged people. It is best to learn from Deaf returning citizens because they had gone through the system. They are the unprivileged people.

I wrote a column for DEAF LIFE in December 2017 Issue: “DEAF RETURNEES: WHAT DO THEY RETURN TO?” “They’re [Deaf returnees] kept invisible. The stigma they experience is deeply rooted in the sense of struggle, a fear of being silenced.”–Jason “JT” Tozier

For more reading on my piece: Check the link below.




Calling Out Talila “TL” Lewis

Calling out Talila “TL” Lewis, co-founder of so-called HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf) organization. Those people who worships TL for her hearing privilege to oppress Deaf community.

ASL National Anthem Signer


Back in September 2014, I was invited to give a National Anthem in ASL for D.C. United, a pro soccer team in the honour of International Week of the Deaf where they selected HEARD [Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf] where I was a community liaison, lecturer and organizer–by volunteering hundreds and hundreds of hours to make phone calls, catch phone calls from Deaf returned citizens, Deaf prisoners, family members, writing letters, filling out log sheets, lectures, presentations, workshops, and the list goes–mentally, physically, and emotionally seven days a week with NO PAY.

I have had been doing this for two years and half. There were many times that I would be so broke that I would have two dollars left and would find a way to attend a workshop on my Metro card because I believed in making a difference and give Deaf returning/returned citizens hope. There were maybe two or three times that I would walk back home all the way on my feet. I put a lot of heart in this organization even if it was hearing-run business. That is where I saw something different after that.



Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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