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Tag Archives: Higher Learning

Eyes to the Knowledge of Interpreters

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Thank you, DEAF LIFE for giving me the opportunity to write an editorial column called Interpreters in Deaf Education: Them and Us for November 2017’s DEAF LIFE. If you are curious what the article is about, please subscribe DEAF LIFE. Interpreters are important assets in our every day life. Without interpreters, it would be not so quite triumphant as it ought to have been. Imagine in a higher education environment, interpreters are also critical in our eyes.

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

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My Letter for Graduate School

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My mother and my father were proud of me graduating that day! June 2011. 

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[It was written in 2011]

Gallaudet University
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

ATTENTION: Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and to express my interest in attending your graduate program in Deaf Studies.

It has been my experience in life that the process of development requires baby-steps and growth from a place that is firmly grounded. For example, before I became a student at an university, I had no intention to attend college. It was not because I was incapable of achieving success at the university, but my immediate environment did not expect it of me. I was told then that I was incapable of succeeding at a university. Over time, my resilient nature, positive attitude and motivation helped me to rise above that expectation.

I am both a first-generation college student. My long path to intellectual freedom and academic achievement has not easy, yet it has been worthwhile I have found it to be immeasurable in the personal and academic growth that I have experienced on that path. I gave up a debt-free life for a college degree. I have balanced my job and schoolwork while subsisting on Mac and Cheese because I believe my education and personal development are worth the liberating value that comes from academia.

To me, achieving this degree is not about getting a piece of paper, rather, it is about fully absorbing what the entire Deaf world has to offer the people who compose it. It is also about informing the hearing world about its continual struggles and the diversity of Deaf culture. It is about change.

The most meaningful change in my life has been that transition from the boy I was 15 years ago to the man that I am today. My perception of myself has altered radically from a quiet, isolated adolescent to an extroverted, involved, and socially active person. I attribute this transformation of my academic skills, personal relationships and intellectual insights to provide to an university experience.

Currently, I do not have a simple answer for my purpose and long-term goals within your program, but I do know that I have a longing to express my experience as a Deaf person. I also have a conviction that at the heart with in addition to the foundation of belief, I am aware of my ability to offer my unique perspective on life. I am a human, with Deaf desires.

The Deaf are an underrepresented group in society that requires appropriate representation at the university level. Historically, Deaf persons could not attend university because of the lack of infrastructure that impeded their mere existence on a campus.

However, there are only few numbers of Deaf professors teaching at the university level, which significantly impairs the diversity and representatives that universities, in general, strive to attain. More credentialed Deaf people are needed at this level to facilitate an understanding and acceptance of Deaf people and our culture.

As an undergraduate Sociology major, my sociological perspective will help bridge the gap between Deaf and Hearing communities in order to broaden cultural acceptance. My study of Sociology has provided me within the opportunity to explore my intellectual curiosity of how people create, maintain, and am by social influences.

I have found that the study of sociology requires critical thinking, problem solving, written and signed communication and interpersonal skills. I can also say that the program at an university has cultivated my skills in these areas. I am very excited about the opportunities that sociology offers me to explore the world through a sociological perspective and look forward to expanding my knowledge with the discipline.

A Master of Deaf Studies degree with a concentration in Cultural Studies will allow me to continue my path to achieving my career goal of being a university professor teaching Deaf Studies. With this degree, I strive the reduce the stigma and discrimination that Deaf people and other individuals with disabilities encounter, which I believe is masked by “political correctness,” lack of information, and a perceived insensitivity from the non-Deaf, non-disabled community. I want to help both Deaf individuals understand their unique place in the world while also broadening the experience and understanding of those who are non-Deaf.

I believe that your program would not only help me to build a stronger foundation of knowledge and skills applicable to Deaf Studies, it will also to continue to build towards my personal and professional goals. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Cordially,

Jason Tozier

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

My Life as a Returned Citizen

What is Returning/Returned Citizen?

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It is good article to read—Washington Post wrote an excellent post in January 2015, ‘Returning citizens’ are still one of D.C.’s most marginalized and motivated groups and I will copy and paste the article here with the link below and understand what ‘returning citizen’ means. Yes, the Deaf community needs to be educated more about the term. It is a positive term. There are a lot of negative stereotypes and stigma that would hurt Deaf returning/returned citizens a lot–especially having very tough time finding employment, housing and even higher education, too. Labelings do hurt a lot.

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“I was unfocused. I was very violent at one point, and they taught me how to conduct myself, as a human being, as a father, as a man and a citizen of Washington, D.C.” 

Those were the words of Anthony Irving, speaking on stage at Busboys and Poets in Brookland on Tuesday night as part of an event called #ReturningCitizensMatter. It was an intimate affair in the new space’s Pearl Bailey room, but the stories told resonated strongly among the three dozen people present.

The event was organized by Ron Moten, the Ward 7 political gadfly and former co-founder of Peaceoholics, an anti-violence group. Moten is one among many who have worked to destigmatize those who have been convicted of a crime. No more “ex-offender” or “ex-con.” The term is now “returning citizen.”

But the reality is a jail sentence is often a career-ender.

The plight of someone coming back to society from incarceration is still largely misunderstood, and the population is inadequately served, comparatively. It is estimated that 60,000 people in D.C. have criminal records, with more than 8,000 returning each year from various prison populations. Recently a “ban the box” bill has been circulating through the City Council, an attempt to prevent employers from discriminating against job candidates based on their criminal records.

On Tuesday, the frustrations of a marginalized population were obvious. And it was clear that to them, the solution was help from a friend, family member or acquaintance, not necessarily the D.C. government. The panel featured a cable repairman, a realtor, a life coach and a landscaper. Tony Lewis Jr. — son of Tony Lewis, who ran one of D.C.’s most notorious drug cartels — was there, too,  advocating on behalf of the families of the incarcerated. They all told stories of getting back on their feet.

Anthony McDuffie, a sales agent at Anacostia River Realty, said he has Darrin Davis, the company’s owner, to thank for his career. For Davis, it wasn’t the first time he had hired a “returning citizen.” But this hire did come with better results, he said.

“I did have an ex-offender whose crime was so horrible, that after he’d been there I had to let him go,” said Davis, 49. “But I think everyone deserves a fair chance. A second chance.”

Davis has been in business for six years. He said he tries “to put myself in that person’s place about how serious they are and how much they want to change their lives. And if I can feel the sincerity, then I’ll be more than happy to help.”

According to the D.C. Department of Corrections, from fiscal years 2008 to 2014, the number of inmates dropped 41 percent, from 3,100 to 1,841. During the same time, the city began releasing inmates at a faster clip than previously. That means there are more people are out looking to rebuild lives. And the largest percentage of those people are black men, aged 21 to 30.

But those men face serious obstacles. According to an October 2014 report by the DOC, a whopping 37 percent of young men in custody self-reported their education level as none. No high school diploma, no GED. Nothing. And former mayor Vincent Gray’s newly formed D.C. Office on Returning Citizen Affairs is getting 0.2 percent of the DOC’s $140M budget.

For those men with limited education and limited job skills, life often seems to move at a snail’s pace. And it can be scarier than ever. They’re coming from a system that often breaks their will. They’re returning to a city they don’t recognize. Fewer of those small businesses that once might have given them a chance are still around.  It’s another side effect of gentrification that’s hard to see if you don’t know it first-hand.

Irving does, and he recounted as much in searing detail Tuesday.

“Dealing with emotional trauma is the most dangerous thing,” said Irving, 42, who owns Golden Seed Landscaping and Cleaning Services. He thanked his brother for helping him get a job with developer Chris Donatelli. Prison, he said, had left him scarred.

“What that place did to me, it was unreal,” Irving said. “I’ve seen what men told me: when we cut you, we gonna kill you. When we cut you, it’s ’cause of the color of your skin and the city you’re from. And I had one thing on my mind: how to survive and how to kill when I slept in a cell with boots on. You never know when them cell bars would come open. And somebody would run in there and slaughter me.”

With an increasingly strained voice, he talked about life after his 14-year term.

“I came home mentally disturbed,” he added. “Cars drove me crazy. I had a girlfriend. I had to get out of my house because the same fight was, she’d leave hair in the sink. I’d run in there in two minutes and clean it up. If she cooked, I’d wash the dishes in 2.5 seconds. I heard something in the hallway, I ran and got two knives and peeped out the peephole,” Irving said to nervous laughter from the crowd.

Irving’s landscape business has yet to turn a profit, but that hasn’t stopped him from reaching out to others. He has hired returning citizens like himself. And his company cuts senior citizens’ grass for free as a way to give back.

“It’s why every single day of my life, I try to help somebody. Money means nothing to me, clothes mean nothing to me,” he said.

“People talk about, they love their city? They will tell you in the federal system: I was ready to die for this city,” he added. “You talk about war? It was me. It was my name. It was my life. And I’d like to say that every single day, I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful to my brother. I am grateful to D.C. to give me an opportunity. For me, it’s not a joke.”

I’d hire that guy in a second.

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2015/01/16/returning-citizens-are-still-one-of-d-c-s-most-marginalized-and-motivated-groups/?utm_term=.23718cdcb1f5

 

 

Powerful Diversion in Deaf Community

 

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Deaf against Deaf that causes diversion in our combustible present, we all need to reframe the conversation about pain we must continue to have, chronicling the powerful forces that have long oppressed progress in Deaf community.

The problem is that the majority of Deaf people do not know what 8th Amendment in the United States Constitution stands for. At the same time, the 8th Amendment was, in important ways, lacks greatly in Deaf community to hold the truth to be self-evident that exposed Deaf to Deaf to be extralegal violence and widespread violence.

Deaf against Deaf as the enemy makes for a failure of humanity. In May 2015, I wrote a post, For Your Eyes Only: HATE is Real

I am talking to you. DEAF to DEAF. You and I have the same identity: DEAF.

HATE—we have been led to believe that it does not exist in our life. Hate produces ignorance, discrimination, and prejudice. We know some Deaf who rejects being DEAF, deny American Sign Language and their signed languages as languages and culture….

Is it time to support DEAF community and stop hate speech? We all know what Audism means. Is it also time to advance our knowledge that hate speech actually exists in our life?

Is America Surdophobia? Gary van Gils, a social worker who lives in Holland and is highly respected as Deaf Studies lecturer, coined it. The term is well defined academically and it makes sense to me. In the meaning of Surdophobia, “a hostility, intolerance, or fear against Deaf people, Deaf culture, and the Deaf community and that resistance toward the sign languages used. It can consist of a range of negative attitudes toward Deafhood, the idea of Deafpositive and Deaf rights.”

It was 1880. The infamous Milan Conference—the world’s original sin in the midst of global language war to make Deaf community suffer in its horrors. Alexander Graham Bell, the original sinner is the story of America to begin hate. It is foundational.

AGBell dominated lives of Deaf people in America from his hate speech in 1883 and 1884 well into the 20th century. From hatred to coffin, there was no nook of a Deaf person’s life that it did not touch.

Today, Deaf people suffered the most: Employment, higher education, and the rights to the pursuit of happiness for ALMOST 10 decades—10 decades! Both of your hands in FIVE. The same states had constantly failed to provide good jobs and treat Deaf people “equal”—where is the Achilles heel that National Association of the Deaf (NAD) stand up and sign out? It is not enough. NAD is the oldest Civil Rights organization in the United States of America.

For example, how come Gallaudet University did not equalize enough educational opportunities and did not finance, create, and maintain law degrees and doctoral programs in Sociology?

Today, Gallaudet University is still not Deaf-centered, Deaf-controlled, and Deaf-oriented campus. The Deaf President Now (DPN) in 1988 was so much more than everything. The biggest mistake is to allow hearing students at Gallaudet in early 1990’s. That is why it is also much diversion in Deaf community.

DPN was a series of hard-fought, locally and nationally organized campaigns, shining the lights of the media to challenge hearing privileges and employment that hearing people took away from Deaf people who are highly qualified for the jobs.

Also, DPN skillfully used the media to expose the horrors of overt discrimination, Audism, and hatred they experienced from hearing people to the world. That was the soul of America. It saddens me to see that Deaf against Deaf. How can we make it feel like 1988?

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

CULTURAL GENOCIDE: Gallaudet University Hosted a Conference in 2003

Becoming a Better Student of Higher Learning

Foucault’s Pendulum: The Bone of Deaf Studies

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There has been an educational journey through Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) at Gallaudet University on 22nd of February 2017, Ryan Commerson asked a question for the panelists: “What is your Super Power?”

If I had a chance to say something, I’d say Michel Foucault. The super power grows on the tree of the strongest philosopher, and gave me an idea what would cultural history like. It seems that Commerson is a fan of Foucault as well, too.

He was born in 1926 and died in 1984, he knew how to organize principle of power wherein culture can be studied through the education of leadership, Foucault knew that the power could be a strategy attributable to functions, neither education nor politics.

Foucault once wrote, “My general theme is not society, it is true/false discourses: let me say it is correlative formation of domains, of objects, and of discourses verifiable and falsifiable which are assignable to them; it is not simply the formation which interests me but the effects of reality which are linked to it”

It is important to preserve Deaf culture to be studied through the ranks of leadership, education is bouncing up to the eyes of Deaf Studies, the truth about Deaf people to verify that they are the backbone of the American cities and towns.

Foucault was a genius. He would make you to question your own assumptions about truth– for example, in the Gallaudet halls of Deaf Studies department. The truth is that Gallaudet University happens because Deaf people exist.

When the question was asked on Gallaudet campus, the needs of strive to live by the values it teaches and to reflect them in lives of the Deaf everywhere and in their work as a world community.

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The super power makes all the difference to become more committed to higher education in support of intellectual freedom, the search for social justice, respect for differences, and a belief in collective responsibility for the welfare of all the Deaf people. Reading Foucault’s books would worth your time! It’d be proper to call the title, Foucault’s Pendulum: The Bone of Deaf Studies.

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Strained Leadership in Education

Gallaudet University: How to Get Our Educational Rights Back

 

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With Betsy DeVos confirmed as secretary for Department of Education today, the majority of Republicans who voted for DeVos are really stupider than stupid. Gallaudet University is under the watch of Department of Education. All the employees and students might possibly face the changes in the future. Can students stage a walkout or engage in other forms of protest at Gallaudet? Yes, they can express their own political opinions peacefully. The students should not be attacked because they are entitled to have educational rights–as in human rights.

An educational right is a superb condition because higher learning has evolved through times of oppression and opportunity. Gallaudet University was supposed to be about intellectual life of Deaf people since 1864. We all remember about 1988 and 2006 protest at Gallaudet that we shall trust tomorrow and as for today, we need to remember that there is always a room for making new meanings, it is very important to remember that! 1988 Deaf President Now (DPN) was all about civil movement.

Betsy DeVos is totally unaware of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] and Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] that raises a huge problem even at Gallaudet University. She is all about–simple and obvious: divide and conquer. She is now the spokesperson to destroy the educational life of Deaf people’s intellectual life. None of her educational leadership shows a great deal of damages. Deaf people will be suffering from not getting enough educational rights. After all, that is why ADA was one of many reasons created in 1990 because of DPN.

After seeing all the Republicans who voted for DeVos, one senator has surprised me–John McCain from Arizona. He was on the Board of Trustees (BoT) at Gallaudet University. He was supposed to be fierce leader in supporting education and…Higher learning for Deaf students. Apparently, it looks like it not anymore now. Is this why he resigned from BoT because of 2006 protest that he could not handle the truth? Senator McCain took $50,000 donation from Betsy DeVos was all about money—he does not care about people but money.

In next few years, the Department of Education–the ability to make even more difficult for future students to tell stories about it emotionally that will pass on to other generation of future students at Gallaudet. It is very much an emotional memory as much as anything else. I’m really surprised that Senator McCain would not join the resistance and block Betsy DeVos to run the department. What a shame!

What kind of power dynamics of education means to you? Why do you think education is important today and tomorrow? What are your reasons to embrace education for everyone’s sake? What is the present situation about the future education at Gallaudet University? What are the concerns of not getting enough education?

-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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