Open Letter for Gallaudet President Cordano

 

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Gallaudet University

800 Florida Avenue NE

Washington, DC 20002

Dear President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano,

I voted for you as President of Gallaudet University because of the vision you presented. I even made a vlog in supporting of you and your wife where a certain Deaf guy preaching self-hate claiming that homosexuality is illegal.

You knew who I am. I was the one who had a massive heart attack and left dead for 600 seconds on November 8, 2016. When I became conscious again, there were many people being panicked in the hallway crying and cheering. I used both thumbs up to let them know I was all right carrying on stretcher on the way to hospital where I stayed there for a week. It was really tough week for me emotionally.

Last January 2018, I was hospitalized for heart condition, and an interpreter who works for Gallaudet University on a regular basis, informed me that you and certain people were discussing about discrimination to prevent Deaf returnees to receive higher education, and told me that I was the one who had been advocating for a change.

Finally, last April 2018, at an art show on the campus, we met each other, and you seemed very nervous to meet me. I wonder why. I introduced myself politely, but you knew who I am. I became the digital pariah forever. I asked for a meeting with you, and you said to me, “Sure, I will have my assistant get in touch with you once I am done with graduation, NAD conference, and all that and will schedule a meeting with you”

I had hope. I wanted to come home and finish my goals. I wrote an e-mail to your assistant, Patricia Thompson on October 18, 2016—few weeks before massive heart attack, no response. You said to me, “Yes, I got your e-mail” but why did you said to me after waiting for two years? I became puzzled.

After we met in April, then I waited for four months then I wrote an e-mail to you directly to do friendly reminder about the meeting. No response. Completely neglect. I had a lot of patience. I realized it is not going to happen. I felt completely fool.

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I give up. There is no point for me to return to Gallaudet. I do not feel safe anymore. I accept the fact that I am the most hated identity on Gallaudet campus. I accept the fact that I am banished from Gallaudet University. I accept the fact that I am publicly shamed. I accept the fact that I am barred forever. I wasn’t even a teenager. 32 years ago. No one wanted to hear my stories.

Most likely, I will never see a degree from Gallaudet University, I will be always cherishing the most by being an alumnus forever. I had a lot of academic ideas to make Gallaudet proud.

I give up. There is no point why should I return to Gallaudet built on fear. Labels hurt the most. Labeling does not contribute to public safety—instead my life was robbed of my own humanity. No employment opportunities. No networking opportunities. Gallaudet University was supposed to be healing and a safe haven. Earning a Master’s degree from Gallaudet could have improve the odds in trying to re-enter the workforce, but I had been unemployed for eight years and very difficult to find. I realized Gallaudet was not the right place to help Deaf returnees. They don’t even believe in second chances.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

The picture, the meeting between President Cordano and me does not lie. Photography is powerful even with words. I became the digital pariah forever. Although, I still love Gallaudet University. It’s the system that built on fear.

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

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Deaf President Now: Fool to Fight for Our Rights?

Was it foolish to fight for Deaf rights and supporting the protest for Deaf President at Gallaudet University in 1988?

Honoring the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. Washington, DC.

When I was living in Portland, Oregon—I visited Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr statue called The Dream just right outside Oregon Convention Center. That was where Deaf People of Color Conference was taken in 2010. I was blown away with each of presenters. I see dream in the conference theme “Hands Joined, Signs United, Colors Flying”—with the main objective to heal from Racism, one of the society’s most venom letter in the English language. The quote by MLK continues to inspire as well as struggle to overcome hate, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”

That quote was mind-boggling—and we must continue to honor MLK’s legacy. When I visited National MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C; the statue of MLK had reflected many values that unite all of us to continue to fight against hate. Especially in the Age of Trumpism, we need to continue to fight for civil rights, and the legacy what MLK had done made us to be socially responsible to be on the front lines to make a radical change to overcome hate.

I remember one day when I visited Lincoln Memorial and stood where MLK gave the most famous speech, I Have a Dream front of the largest audience—no way you can ever take that away like that. Moving from Portland to Washington, D.C. is a huge difference.

Portland, the whitest city in America, to DC, one of the largest Black populations in America, I see oppression every day around the city. This is 2018. For example, I remember standing outside in the back of the apartment in Trinidad area, my next-door neighbor was hosting a party, so they asked me to join the festive and appreciate the DC life. I was only living in DC eight months that time…and saw something surreal what I saw. It was hot summer.

Maybe one of the hottest summers so far and there were couple of Black people sitting, standing, and drinking a bottle of water and all of sudden, the police was driving around and decided to make a power trip and got out of the car and decided to grab their water bottle and emptied right front of them with laughter and one of the mothers became so upset and had bravely confronted them and the cops laughed and drove away. I saw the whole thing—I was like, what the fuck? Of course, the police officers—who were white.

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The language is different from Portland and DC. It has been a lot of experience to understand the problem of Racism, and I have seen the stereotype and full of hate. One of the best examples that Donald Trump said about Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, “SHIT-HOLE”—what a SHIT HOLE PRESIDENT. As for Deaf community, we have to be thankful for National Black Deaf Advocates for its leadership. I’ve met few Deaf people from Haiti, and few African countries and they are incredible people!

As for Trump, you cannot fix a personality disorder—Trump is mentally nuts. People with personality disorders do not think there is anything wrong with them, and Trump is one of them. Trump will never acknowledge the fact that he has a problem even when he spewed hate as an American President—just wrong to see like this.

The growing of white supremacy in America is alarming, and the President of the United States creates the big picture about Racism and encourages violence against Black Deaf people. Remember the way he encourages harsher police brutality front of police officers and they all laughed. It was an alarming experience to see this. Perhaps there is a racist angle in there somewhere if we look hard enough.

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MLK day—the reflection about “soul searching” is important for us in the society. The book you see on the left side is one of the best books I ever read about MLK.

Please honor MLK’s legacy and celebrate his life. Oh, yes, please reserve a ticket in advance should you visit in DC to see National Museum of African American History and Culture.

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Dr. Issac O. Agboola’s Lecture I Never Got to See

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Last night, I was going through boxes filled with flyers, brochures, etc to clean up and found this brochure by MLK Library “MLK Week 2016: Jan. 11-20/Black History Month: Feb 1-29” and I decided to scroll through and saw this that I never knew about this.

Dr. Issac O. Agboola who recently passed away the other day, he co-lectured at MLK called Dr. Andrew Jackson Foster and the African American Deaf Mission in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 2016. It is too bad that I did not see his lecture. I am sure that lecture had been educational for everyone else. May Dr. Issac O. Agboola rest in peace.

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-JT

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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

MLK Holds Strong Inside My Heart

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Today is Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday. One of my favorite places to hang out at Lincoln Memorial where I would sit there and read a book, almost every time I am there, I always see the spot where MLK gave “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. It holds dearly inside my heart. Not too far from Lincoln Memorial, there is a beautiful memorial in honor of MLK. It is a beautiful sight to see!

Exactly a year away from 50 years anniversary where MLK was assassinated was a repugnant act by racists. Now with President-elect Donald Trump with the inauguration day coming in couple of days, there will be pervading ugliness of their souls by racists, I see the white supremacists are out in force today than ever.

I cannot imagine the pain what MLK was going through that time and now inauguration day coming up, we are forcing to give up our time and honor white racism and treat Trump like equal. Trump treated minorities like a piece of trash. Without white privilege, how would they get their way? The mere existence of racism is proof. If Trump had to oppress minorities including Deaf people by calling them “retards” and yet, we are nothing but invisible. That’s the power of white privilege and hearing privilege, too.

Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice-MLK

I write this with every word I mean it. The country was founded as a racist nation. After the Civil War, all non-white people are second class citizens by law. This is not what America was supposed to be. I rather live in MLK’s America because I refuse to live in Trump’s America!

Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier

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