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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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.

How Oralism Ruined My Christmas Spirit

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I really liked that artwork. Unknown Deaf artist.

It was 1983. It was also the year when President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King Day to remember the legacy of MLK and end the power dynamics of Racism. I was nine years old that time—a third grader. However, that time, it was one of the most humiliating experience I ever faced in my life.

The school district forced me to learn how to speak well—the truth, I was the worst oralist you can imagine. The painting by Nancy Rourke, the original Mask of Benevolence, hanging on my wall had really made me think of my growing pains. No one should ever steal, ruin, or destroy anyone’s Christmas spirit. Especially Deaf children’s welfare. When I was part of Deafhood Monologues, it really hit me hard with one of the stories that apply my life—Christmas story.

The speech therapist by the name of Sandy, forced me to learn how to ace top-notch speech—it does not work that way. It was illegal child labor that took my human dignity away. Speech therapists were the lowest form of my own humanity. I remember all the hours—taking away my own education instead of focusing on speech so I can be part of choir that I never knew that I would be part of. No one would tell me. No one! Looking back, I did not stand up and fight against Oralism. I was just a kid that they exploited me.

The day before the night, my father took me to do some shopping to find some nice clothes and I became confused why my father would do this. So, the time came—that really ruined my Christmas spirit. Not only me, but my father, too.

I was “blended” into the crowd with my hearing classmates that I never knew that it would be choir. Not even a hint. I was really that naive. Then I was standing the very front row before large audience—all the hearing parents including my father. Fuck that shit. It was no more than 30 minutes of choir—maybe longer, but I remember when Sandy, the cruel speech therapist was looking at me along with the interpreter right there telling me to use my mouth properly—and I remember looking at some of the faces in the audience looking at me like awful….and it was fucking disaster. My father was humiliated, too.

Shaking my head! I really did my best to make my father happy as much as I could. It was also the hardest time, too. When the event was finished for the evening, you know, everyone would greet and cheer each other, but my father just cannot stand this anymore and took me home right away. He did not bother to tell speech therapist or teacher THANK YOU. Nothing like that. That’s where Oralism became a failure. My father was only 29 years old. Poor father. He was lied by Alexander Graham Bell’s ideology.

That’s where my Christmas spirit ruined that year. My father told my now deceased grandparents what happened and they all tried to cover it up and told me to forget what happened that night. While I am writing this post, it made me cry. Literally. Then I realized, Oralism is the reason why the power dynamics of Audism ignored that time. FUCK YOU, Alexander Graham Bell for ruining my Christmas spirit—you owe my father a big apology.

I want you to know that you, Alexander Graham Bell are along my personal heroes…to me, the greatest fraud in Deaf community, a blend of hatred, and true bully, of phobic analysis, and emotional damage, capable of great achievement in the highest spheres of human ignorance. I have placed your life directly my experience, and I now use your image for inspiration and encouragement as I purse my own goals as a writer. This post is already looking into Alexander Graham Bell’s eyes that helped me provide me with great source of knowledge. Thank you for the most stupid work you do—certainly, you are another hate-monger with real passion to destroy Deaf community in pieces.

-JT

Copyright @ 2016 Jason Tozier

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