About to Get Killed

Sharing my near death experience where I was about to get killed in year 2000.

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Righting a Wrong: Racism, Audism, Starbucks, and Us

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Director for We the Deaf People–Chapter for District of Columbia

 

On the afternoon of May 29, 2018, Starbucks, taking an enormous risk by losing 12 million dollars in profits, closed 8,000 stores across the United States for racial-bias training.

This unprecedented move came in response to an incident that occurred on April 12 at a Starbucks in an upscale neighborhood in downtown Philadelphia. Two Black men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, were arrested for trespassing. They aroused the suspicion of the staff because they hadn’t ordered any food or drinks. And they were denied use of the restroom. Their crime? They were waiting for a third person to show up for a business meeting.

There were public protests, calls for a boycott, and lots of negative publicity. Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson and Police Chief made public apologies. Starbucks made amends, offering the two men who had been unjustly arrested generous financial compensation. The financial settlement was announced on May 2. Then Starbucks ordered the mass closure of stores for the training of its employees.

Starbucks took action to address the racism that is still prevalent throughout the nation. What about Audism, another prevalent social problem?

In 2013, twelve Deaf people, members of a “Deaf Chat Coffee” group that met monthly, filed a discrimination suit against Starbucks for refusing service to them in several New York City locations. The plaintiffs cited harassment, taunting, intimidation, and other forms of mistreatment, such as a staffer screaming obscenities at one and ordering him to leave, and telling a Deaf woman, also a Deaf Chat Coffee member, that they did not serve Deaf people, and a manager calling police and falsely reporting that the Deaf chatters were causing a disturbance. And being told that they were not welcome there.

This seems like an extreme example of what Deaf people deal with daily. We all have “restaurant horror stories.” Just as Blacks recognize that “restaurant Racism” is still part of our reality, we recognize that “restaurant Audism” still exists.

As long as Starbucks is taking concrete action to address racism, why not offer anti-Audism training too? The problem is that Audism is not considered a “burning issue” the way Racism is, because it’s a heavy appropriated “sound and language war,” involving people with an “invisible” difference.

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The complaints of the Deaf Chat Coffee twelve involve a few staff members and a couple of managers. Even one is one too many. The plight of the Deaf Chat Coffee members didn’t grab headlines the way that the plight of Robinson and Nelson did. Yes, there was some publicity, but no protest rallies, no calls for a boycott, no organized outpouring of national outrage.

I was dismayed to learn about the Deaf Chat Coffee members’ lawsuit, the descriptions of the mean-spirited treatment dished out to them, and the profoundly disturbing ignorance displayed by the staffers and manager who mistreated them. Even if these stores had trouble with individual Deaf people before—say, a mentally-unbalanced customer who threw a tantrum, or one who hung around for hours without ordering anything—that wouldn’t give them the license to mistreat other Deaf customers.

Ninety-nine and nine-tenths percent of Deaf people are decent, law-abiding customers, and any commercial establishment should welcome their patronage. The best amends that can be made are acceptance, a welcome (just as hearing people take for granted), and a bit of patience, compassion, and kindness. Also professionalism.

Can Starbucks earn a national reputation for being Deaf-friendly and Deaf-aware in all its locations? I encourage Starbucks to set a good example, and support Deaf people, because if the company continues to ignore Audism, it will ultimately alienate and lose the Deaf community.

I’ll tell you what I’d like to see: Starbucks closing 8,000 stores across the U.S. to administer anti-Audism training to its employees, and hiring Deaf people to do the training and the teaching. That would be a tremendous achievement.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

Do You Agree With The Idea Dwight Benedict as Victim of ‘Administration System’?

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In one of my most recent blog four days ago, The Power of Positive Leadership, I forgot to add “administration” before system. I applaud President Cordano of Gallaudet University made a decision to place the position, Vice President of Student Affairs and Community Engagement, on hold. However, I am still questioned by president’s motivation to make a statement below.

Why did President Cordano of Gallaudet University signed in a town hall front of sold-out with countless onlookers standing at Foster Auditorium, Dwight Benedict is a victim of administration system’?

What does it mean to you, “…..victim of administration system….”? Do you agree or not agree that Dwight is a “victim of administration system“? Do you think it was fair for Cordano to make this statement? Have you seen “victim of administration system” ever showed up anywhere until now? I never seen this statement before.

How is bias seen, written and expressed this time? Bias is part of physical, written acts of oppression, insensitivity, lack of awareness, intimidation, the use of vulgarity, making comments, restricting of free movement of an individual and the list goes on.

Using “victim of administration system”–does that mean it was also part of white silence? Have we forgot about Deaf people of color who were oppressed? Have we forgot about Deaf LGBTQA who were oppressed? Have we forgot about Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Deaf-Disabled people who were oppressed? Have we forgot about Deaf returning citizens who were oppressed? Have we forgot about marginalized groups?

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Is white silence also a white consent? What’s up with that by making a statement to silence the Foster auditorium filled with faculty, staff, students, alumni and alumnus in a white consent when it is named after Andrew Jackson Foster?

How can they suffer oppression at the same time while Dwight Benedict is a “victim of administration system”? We need to increase opportunities for restorative justice for students, staff, and faculty and collect all the data how all of them to share their experience on campus climate. How can we improve the campus climate in regards to bias when it is in Dwight’s leadership?

Privileges? Victim of administration system? Does it mean all Deaf of Deaf families who run Gallaudet University “old school” victim? How? It cannot be. We are the victims of Dwight Benedict’s power. Not the administration system. His power. Did he ever support students’ rights, welfare, and the laundry list goes on?

So, Dwight is the victim of administration system? Does it mean the whole system of all administration system bad news? No! Dwight is the bad apple–not the administration. He is the one and only Dwight Benedict. Finish. Not the administration. No, he is the one. President Cordano should not sign to students, faculty, and staff: You are all in pain. No. Dwight Benedict’s power is the pain because he is not allowed anyone to be above him–just like above the law. This is his pain. Not ours. Negligence, abuse of power, and again, the laundry list goes on. The growing pain continues.

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

Free Speech vs Hate Speech

Discussing between Free Speech as noted in United States Constitution First Amendment that allows hate speech which is a BIG PROBLEM today in America. Jeremy Joseph Christian who murdered two guys through HATE SPEECH on Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) in Portland, Oregon on May 26, 2017 thinks he has the “right” to provoke it based on FREE SPEECH. Intimidation makes him even weaker person.

 

 

Open Letter for Britton Auman

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If intimidation is motivated by prejudice or bigotry, the severity of hate crime is ignored. I am with you in solidarity, and I would like to command you for your courage to challenge Gallaudet University administration to remind any kind of bias-related including hate crime.

That reminds everyone to be aware in November 2001; the Review of Higher Education estimated at least 1 million bias-motivated on American college and university campuses each year. The problem is that it was never reported to school or even law enforcement. Do not be surprised if it has broken 2001 record anytime soon.

Dark Figure Crime [DFC]: “The dark (or hidden) figure of crime is a term employed by criminologists and sociologists to describe the amount of unreported or undiscovered crime.” -Wiki. It is the reason it is under the rug.

No one should treated invisible at Gallaudet. If the administration that makes decision and what decides for the best, is this part of society or a social outlier? Normalcy here seems is defined as the use of all of the physical and basic mental facilities common to human beings in order for a person to be considered a contributing member of the society.

Identity is an important part of the human and should be focus of personal growth. It is important to have such a concise way of summing up what ties people together underneath it all.

Hate crime is invisible. If the administration ignores the duty of hate crime what they have not done, “in a thrill-seeking hate crime, an individual joins a group activity so that he will not be rejected by the people who are most important to him—his friends. In reactive hate crimes, an individual believes that he must protect himself from the encroachment of outsiders. And, in mission hate crimes, an individual becomes convinced that his personal problems are a result of some conspiracy involving an entire group of people with whom he feels compelled to get even.” [Jack Levin and Jack McDevitt]

Gallaudet University administration allowed reactive hate crimes on a mission level, giving everyone a thrill-seeking experience. Student Code of Conduct, Section B of the Gallaudet University, Bias-related harassment:

“This includes harassment (verbal or written abuse, humiliation, intimidation, bullying, and violence or other conduct which has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or living environment) against an individual or group because of race, religion, creed, gender, age, ethnicity, national origin, physical disability, or sexual orientation.”

With all the constant source of support, you shall walk around the campus that was supposed to be bias-free environment, and in addition to no-tolerance policy as well. Hate crime is not allowed.

In solidarity,

-Jason “JT” Tozier

Human Rights Day: Deaf Returned Citizens Still Are Marginalized at Gallaudet University

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Today, December 10th is International Human Rights Day…..

Human Rights Day commemorates the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

On behalf of Deaf returned citizens, my organization, Deaf Access Justice (DAJ) committed to promote and protect the civil and human rights of Deaf returned citizens in the United States. I am writing to express my strong opposition to the bullying, intimidation, and fear tactics by Gallaudet University.

Gallaudet University has a record of bullying and bigotry against Deaf returned citizens, disregard for the rule of law, and hostility to the protection of civil rights that makes Gallaudet University unfit to serve as safe haven on the campus. In our democracy, Gallaudet University is funded by federal money, enforcing our nation’s laws without prejudice and with an eye toward justice. Deaf returned citizens has rights to earn higher education 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Is there something Deaf community does not know the vast majority of the oppression by the administration at Gallaudet University? You do not really believe many of them talk the way they do because of power, do you? It may at times appear that way, but they are hiding the truth. The Obama administration is urging universities and colleges to re-evaluate how questions about an applicant’s criminal history are used in the admissions process, that’s the big reason that they are being denied for higher education.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/10/us/us-urges-colleges-to-rethink-questions-about-criminal-records.html?_r=0

A guide written by Education Secretary, John B. King, “Beyond the Box: Increasing Access to Higher Education for Justice Involved Individuals” would help understand why they are being denied even though they served their time. The difficult thing is that Gallaudet University anyone who apply for the job is not required to have their background checked or their fingerprints screened—yet, there was a Deaf returned citizen in ASL/Deaf Studies department who accepted into Ph.D. program and taught students and got marginalized badly as well as singled out—in bullying style when someone does not like the person and make sure the person receive damage control as much as possible.

As a founder of DAJ, I have long opposed the concept that Gallaudet University has the right to humiliate and bully a Deaf returned citizens as a means of punishment. My personal beliefs were severely tested when I was taken away from a full-ride scholarship at Gallaudet University in 2013 just because I am a returned citizen. That bullying tactics changed my personal beliefs what Gallaudet University is about. If anything, it had strengthened my support for Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day need to gain understanding and empathy for any who have experienced such trauma in their lives. Those who have not had such experience cannot fully appreciate the depth of the pain in all form and shape. I, therefore, will criticize those who are life-time bullies and who support the “death penalty” on Deaf returned citizens at Gallaudet University. There are many reasons why I support Human Rights Day and oppose cruel punishment as in 8th Amendment in United States Constitution on moral, economic, and practical grounds to do so intentionally in an inhumanity sense. The cruel effects of such inhumane punishment—Deaf returned citizens are also humans are especially called to respond to such grave injustice that violates human dignity.

We need to do this together to do more than reflect on the past–we can speak up for those who have been silenced. Thank you for your commitment to human rights and dignity for everyone in America and around the world.

Additional links:

http://www.vox.com/2015/11/2/9660282/obama-ban-the-box

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/30/obama-finalizes-regulation-ban-box-job-applicants/

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In solidarity,

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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

Post-Election: Do Gallaudet University Have A System to Stop Hate Crimes?

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There has been a huge tide rise of hate crimes in America after the presidential election. Right now, we need to scope on the big focus: Deaf community—especially at Gallaudet University whether if hate crimes has been sparked any kind of form in bigotry, intimidation, and bullying that are in the same umbrella as hate crimes. Is there any kind of measurement in hate crime at Gallaudet? There has been virtually zero information to recognize the extent of hate crime. The truth is that we do not know whether in fact this is the reality we face at Gallaudet everyday.

The bigotry, intimidation, and bullying LGBT, minorities, even Deaf returned citizens. For the most part, existing ignorance are both too new and too flawed to protect them even as students where Gallaudet administration including Department of Public Safety (DPS) avoids the picture of changes over time. The term of “hate crime” has been going on since 1980s, it is not new information today. Bigotry, bullying, and intimidation has been motivated by negative picture of difference, and the politics of hate has been practiced by Gallaudet administration for long time.

For example, there is a Dean at Gallaudet University who encourages fear and mob mentality against Deaf returned citizen is no secret. We need to stop the continuation of unwanted bullying is important to challenge power and intimidation by the administration. The most difficult thing is that Gallaudet University is a federally funded, and they were required not to bully people of color, LGBT, Deaf returned citizens and many of the hate crimes are unreported in Gallaudet’s system—including DPS. Again, we need to remind that less-known law called Deprivation of Civil Rights Under Cover of Law is not allowed even on the campus, too. Protected students have their own intellectual property that should not be violated—again, being bullied by people who have the power is an act of desecration and human violation.

What is Deprivation of Civil Rights Under Cover of Law? It is third federal statute concerns actions committed by public officials—most often the police who makes sure to have people deprived by their constitutional rights.

We need to challenge three questions to ponder whether Gallaudet University have a system to stop hate crimes: 1) Do they understand that we are being bullied and be told to be in silence? 2) Do they understand the nature of bullying? 3) Does minorities, LGBT, and Deaf returned citizens even identify their struggle faced by the Administration of Gallaudet University? Look at the brochure provided by Gallaudet University, Anti-Bullying and Harassment: 

-What is Bullying? Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.

What is Harassment? Harassment is defined as a subset of bullying that is specifically covered by law (sex, race, disability, etc.) Harassment is sometime used to describe bullying between adults.

-FORMS OF BULLYING: A) Physical: Harm to someone’s body or property. B) Emotional: Harm to someone’s self-esteem or feeling of safety. C) Social: Harm to someone’s group acceptance.

If you feel that you are being violated by bullying, intimidation or experience hate-motivated, then get in touch with U.S. Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1972 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

It is important to report to U.S. Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights or even D.C. Police —because Gallaudet University Administration and DPS will sweep under the rug to make sure it does not exist in Hate Crime Statistics Act (HSCA)—a federal law passed in 1990—a big problem on Gallaudet campus. Please think about it.

-JT

Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier

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