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Tag Archives: Library of Congress

The Lack of Jury Duty for Deaf People

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On Friday, July 21st hot afternoon–I decided to meet a friend and gave a tour at Library of Congress. Great times! However, when we walked into a room, “Drawing Justice: The Art of Courtroom Illustrations.” and I saw something that caught my attention and share this with you fellows. It makes me wonder if Library of Congress, the mother of all libraries, is known for research skills, the leadership of literacy, and a complex web of  higher knowledge, makes me think if this message is filled with mixed thoughts, when you notice the picture I took below:

to the rights of the deaf to sit on juries; from a courtroom filled with people wearing masks fearing….”

How do you feel about that when you saw this? Were Library of Congress aware of very little stats about Deaf people to sit on juries? Did they research that, too? Truth: How many Deaf people sitting on juries? Come on, really. Why cannot they tell the truth? Number will make all the headlines. That’s Mask of Benevolence, folks! Europe: Number? Australia: Number? New Zealand: Number? South America: Number? Africa: Number? Asia: Number? America: Number? Right, after the passage of 1990 ADA law, again, how many Deaf people serve on juries? Yes, there were few Deaf people who were selected. Most recently, a friend of mine who was selected to be on jury few months ago in DC. It was very interesting experience for her.

Why did Library of Congress do that? To make them look good for enrollment purpose? Selfish acts? Were Deaf people aware about Library of Congress planing to use them in public eyes? I am sure that there are many questions behind that. Some may not able to answer and avoid the reality. Deaf people were banned from serving on juries for years and many centuries, there is a good article to read:

http://theconversation.com/deaf-or-blind-people-cant-serve-on-juries-heres-why-law-needs-to-change-67418

No courtroom should be wearing masks fearing Deaf people. There are thousands of stories around the world that Deaf people would end up in courtroom with no interpreter at all and struggle for information. They often end up pleading guilty by threatening them or found guilty even without evidence, they fail to recognize Deaf discourses in the courtrooms. For example, recent Thursday evening, I attended an event at Embassy of the Philippines, Washington, D.C; to watch a private screening of Change of Signs, an powerful 35 minutes film. Discovering Deaf Worlds, Inc; (DDW) did an excellent service to help out Deaf community in Philippines and support the stories of ten members of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf. Extraordinary work!

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See that hand waving with the watch on on right side? That was me.

The film talked about the lack of Deaf people have the rights to have an interpreter in courtrooms, struggle to be recognized as a human being, and have the human right to sit on the jury as all other people do. I learned that it was 121,000 Deaf people living there and only few interpreters available. That’s major crisis. A lot more to that film that I hope it will show to the public one day.

Before wrapping up for this post, how do you feel when you see, “to the rights of the deaf”? Why lower “d”? Why not “Deaf people have the constitutional right to sit on the juries” Or, “From a courtroom filled with Deaf people’s rights to serve on juries” that would help the visitors from all over the world visiting Library of Congress for the first time and see the truth what Deaf people are really going through a lot. What do you think?

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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

References: https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-17-022/drawing-justice-the-art-of-courtroom-illustrations-opens-april-27/2017-03-07/

 

 

 

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Carl Schroeder and Why Literacy in Deaf Community is Important Today

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Today is late Carl Schroeder’s birthday—he would be 64 years old. Also, he shares the same birthday as the greatest Deaf visionary leader in America, Laurent Clerc. As for Carl to be the first person to coin American Sign Language (ASL) philosophy and ASL Storytelling Theatre. How fitting! Learning stories from Carl was one of my greatest time in my life. He lived in a beautiful and quiet town in Oregon, about 45 minutes drive from Portland, Oregon. Most of the times when he would visit Portland, he would come down to my apartment and we both would zoom to Powell’s, the largest and best bookstore in Pacific Northwest, which was five minutes from my apartment.

Once when he asked me to house-sit his residence while he was away for ten days—at the same time, he said to me, “I am going to give you those books and I expect you to read and write me an essay when you’re done with it” and I was like, “Wait a minute, I thought, I did not expect like that” but looking back, I realized that he made me a better writer out of this and pushed me hard to understand philosophy than ever. Heck, he was better explaining in person than paying up for classrooms. That was how good he was.

We would spend hours in there browsing books and talking about each books we would purchase—even sometimes, we would exchange books once we finish with those books. He PUSHED ME to to set up a club called American Sign Language Book Club (ASLBC), to make sure it would be in wonderful feature of humanity and begin to draw together strands from reading, reviewing, referring—and linguistics of ASL—to explain why we are so compelled to use ASL exclusively. ASLBC allows people to examine how ASL sustains our community and promotes our academia. It made many meanings.

It was best times when we both were talking about books and how important public libraries are today. I was totally bummed that Carl could not make it to Washington, D.C; in November 2013—we both were about to give a lecture at Library of Congress to talk about literacy in Deaf community because we both understood what public libraries are very critical for literature. The lecture would have been awesome!

Carl created thick pictures of what was going on in literature, particularly about Deaf community. There is often a symbolic relevance behind his story-telling skills, behind his descriptions of nature and life. Almost mythical. He also gives mostly physical descriptions how to challenge Audism and we end up not knowing very much about the power dynamics of Audism. He also taught me about today’s interpreters that are from an old school of thoughts, trained to view the Deaf as clients and to justify their claims of misunderstanding and other things.

Professor Schroeder was phenomenal. It is OK to be controversial—it’s about challenging the oppressive society. It is important to appreciate public libraries everyday. Discover the radical new way we the Deaf people are treating our most traumatic memories with a single book. Public libraries are good for your soul!

Happy birthday, Carl.

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Chilly and Rainy Oregon. 2012.

-JT

Copyright @ 2016 Jason Tozier

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

The Room That Cannot Help Themselves: Lack of Democracy for Deaf People

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The picture in Library of Congress (LOC)-Thomas Jefferson Building sends a message. Gallaudet covers pretty much what literature is all about. Congress had the fundamental source of “community and continuity” that made Gallaudet the most powerful society. It reminds me of a quote, “We Americans like to think of our revolution as not being radical; indeed, most of the time we consider it downright conservative”–Gordon S. Wood. I’ve taken few good friends to visit LOC and see the message and let them think. I love doing that!

This room is dedicated to those who cannot help (procure) themselves. I often wonder if it is part of learning refutes old ways of thinking. It also cancels all wrong concepts. Is there a reason Gallaudet scripted in same room as the quote scripted? That is how Congress educates itself into viewing the Deaf. We cannot procure our own instruction ourselves. See the picture below. Gallaudet represent the body of knowledge. Let’s look at the sign of GALLAUDET to imply an ongoing power struggle for the Deaf. Gallaudet is appropriated by Congress so it is never Deaf-centered.  From Merriam-Webster: Procure appeared into Middle English, from Anglo-French procurer, from Late Latin procurare, from Latin, to take care of, from pro- for + cura care. “To Take Care Of”—is kind of insulting for Deaf people.

ImageHumiliation will always present. It is how you handle it makes all the difference. As far as I could remember, Gallaudet University is federally funded, private university. It is a privilege, not a right. This is what the administration loves to assert: you rock the ship, and they’d best had you removed. There are hidden volumes in the library, for example, Gallaudet Archives protect the most important term on the seal. Why not? There is a vacuum in the university leadership to raise or find funds for them as long as the religious leaders are happy to see the term running on the seal today. Speaking of appropriation (budget), Gallaudet University belongs with Congress, not the Deaf. Thus,  it is a privilege for the Deaf, never the right of the Deaf.

The “those who cannot procure it for themselves” statement you see the photo above from Library of Congress begs for a greater development, a head-on challenge. In the other word, we can branch out our intellectual life by setting up Deaf-centered, Deaf-controlled, and Deaf-oriented University so it becomes necessarily that Deaf people can continue to make new meanings. What is the truth? In the case of “waving our language”, the truth is what we need to be proactive about our condition, namely, DEAF.

The word, “DEAF” belongs to us Deaf people in the same manner that the word “THINK” belongs to IBM, and the phrase “Just Do It” belongs to Nike. I do not understand why GALLAUDET was scripted in the same room, “those who cannot procure it for themselves“. Is it an evocative of oppression the Deaf community could easily and readily identify? Perhaps it could not evolve in the university mission for the matter because of its hidden agenda that defines Gallaudet of so called “new order of Deaf people”–and it is Orwellian utopia where the Big People are watching, isn’t EPHPHATHA part of those who cannot procure it for themselves to hear? (The funny thing is that LOC is one of my favorite places to hang out and study).

-JT

Copyright © Jason Tozier

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