A Place of Healing: Deaf Prison

Take No Deaf Prisoners (Unfairly)

Judge Orders Relief for Deaf California Prisoners

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What’s Wrong with Deaf Prison Idea?

Wounded by Labeling

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Lecture: Deaf Returning Citizens as Forgotten People. October 2015. CSUN Social Justice Conference.

July 26, 2019:

Dealing with old wounds again. Cycles kept circling around and defining who I am. Pushing me to the brink of human collapse.

Labeling on my forehead–that is very evident in my case, and dealing with that every day, unleashing so much insanity and throwing at me, the hostile dementia, and I had been spending the last 35 years of my life trying to extricate myself from negative drama that was full of deception and been tired of the pain and humiliation anymore. Never mind that I had been raped at age of ten years old with a wood stick up my ass, bleeding, and causing a life-time scar–emotionally. No one wanted to hear my story. Quick enough to jump and judge right away without asking my story.

I was 12 years old when I forced to commit a crime. Now I am 44 years old. The last 35 years of my life has been painful. People do not really know the whole story. It’s amazing how much hate had been infected so fast on social media. I am truly sorry what I had done and there is nothing I can change the past. The system had failed my life. I asked for help at age of 12, and it never happened.

I am not a perfect human being and it is just another in a long line of colossal mistakes. For one thing that I know that I am a good heart and sensitive guy. I care too much. I had been going through a fallow period when I must let the soil rest to prepare for a new growth.

Typical words coming from the paranoid, reactionary, delusional, and fear-mongering crowd that worships hateful labels. If you want to keep your freedom then arm yourself with facts and reject the fear-based, “safety-at-any price” thinking.

I do not need the most hateful label where, like today, results in discrimination, stigmatization, shaming, unemployment, under-employment, homelessness, and general social exile are the norms that must be reversed. Would it be better of killing or murdering me and dispose of my body for its own pleasure? Can in this society, believe in facts before myth, science before faith, and reason before assumption?

I refuse to live down what I am being defined by my character. People had been spreading nasty images about me, powerful biased language was to utilize and draw disgust and fury to the readers. My own face is forever tarnished around Deaf community. It is known as character assassination.

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The social media to a point has emotionalized it where people are pushing for destruction of my own life. It is true that it would be better off to end my life instead of living and struggling in the society where hate is spreading my name like a soulless monster. Instead of the usual political careerism that is being built on the society’s collective and cultural of fear.

Can we have at least sensible and detailed reporting where it is not based on a low fruit, emotionalize piece but on the many sides of this issue? There are millions and millions of dollars of waste fraud and abuse in the criminal justice system. I’ve spent $80,000 in four years alone starting at age of 21. All when I was just 12 years old with no guidance, naive, and all that.

Suicide is a big problem in Deaf community.

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/

Mistakes were: the interpreter whom was a CODA where I never met in my life at age of 19 and a senior in high school before going into the interviewing room with detective telling me to get a lawyer and knew that I was 12 years old to protect my life, and I failed. I ignored my own stupidity. I was not educated enough about it. I thought I would get plenty of help and be honest. It was one of biggest mistakes in my life. It ultimately cost my life for good. I destroyed my own life.

Yet, at 44, after paid my debt to society a million times over, I deal with Internet shaming, and do I deserve a second chance? Most likely, no, and telling me to kill myself or disappear off the face of the Earth would solve everything, is it better off? Deaf community thinks so. I completely understand. Because it is not completely self-healing society yet, refuse to repair the problems, turning bad into good, and reintegrate returnees back into society.

If people break the law then they deserve to be held accountable. Otherwise, freedom and liberty should be the shining societal goals. But, I do not think it would ever happen in Deaf community because they prefer Internet shaming, lynching, and sending me death threats I receive all the time. How can the society provide any degree of safety? Shaming and humiliation is best, while rehabilitation and reintegration is not.

As I wrote an article in DEAF LIFE December 2018 Issue: Deaf Returnees: What do they return to?

“The true stories of Deaf returnees have been too often hidden from the American people. They have been shamed and ignored for political reasons. Did the perpetrators encourage bullying tactics that tear Deaf returnees down?

We must take bold action to defend human rights and the core values of democracy in supporting Deaf returnees. We are tired of being attacked, seeing the truth distorted, the media playing mind games, targeting Deaf returnees as scapegoats.

Terms such as ex-convict, felon, offender, and criminal are negative. The terms returning citizen and returnee are positive.

Media images of Deaf returnees are all too often negative, grotesque, suggesting that they can’t survive in society, can’t turn their lives around, are incapable of giving back to the Deaf community. They are seen as unintelligent, sick, lazy, and not to be trusted. How could they succeed if they actually had to earn merit to advance in society? Why bother giving them second chances?”

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

 

 

Choosing to Overcome the Greatest Shame in Deaf Community: Suicide

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There were couple of older blog posts I wrote about challenges of suicide in Deaf community. It’s really powerful. I’ve experienced a Deaf friend by the name of Greg from the school bus we rode together committed suicide when I was in 8th grade, and one of my hearing professors who committed suicide which hit me hard. She was only 39 years old. My first Sociology class was Sociology of Health and Medicine under Professor Heather Hartley.

I never forget the day when I showed up into classroom with injured right arm from kick-ass bicycle accident where I crashed my right shoulder so hard on the road and I was wearing an arm sling that time. I couldn’t write. Too much pain. That day was final exam. Yet, I still showed up with bicycle again.

She had a better idea and asked me to meet her in her office, and took the final exam by typing down the answers on her computer to take final exam and save it and send it to her. That was a brilliant idea. She was a good professor. Also, I remember the day when the news broke where I showed up for a Sociology course, Criminology and my professor was looking really down, it was not the professor I know. It became quiet in the classroom. It hit the hardest. They were good friends. The same professor in that quiet classroom later discussed about “Suicide: A Study in Sociology” book by Émile Durkheim.

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When I had a fatal heart attack last November 2016, I continue to question my death experience and how I defied death. Living in real world at this current hour has been much harder than I ever face with, and it finds a lot of strength and growing pain to deal with, and one of the most challenging part, was the haters who went after me after I woke up from death. It is much worse than death. Living with labels. Especially most damaging labels. It leads a major culprit.

On the face of it, gaining access to find help, support, and strength how to overcome adversity, it was also cynical, is the most difficult thing. The last 32 years of my life has been rough enough that is way too much to deal with everyday, and when I got a gift certificate for my birthday from my mother last December 2018, I stopped by Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy a book to read: Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem by Joseph Burgo, Ph.D.

Joseph Burgo writes: “Self-esteem can’t thrive in the soil of nonstop praise and encouragement. Instead it depends upon setting and meeting goals, living up to the expectations we hold for ourselves, and sharing our joy in achievement with the people who matter most to us. Listening to and learning from encounters with shame will go further than affirmations and positive self-talk in helping to build authentic self-esteem.”

One of my many and beloved Sociology classes, I learned a great deal about Erving Goffman, a high-thinking sociologist who coined “stigma” where he described, “Society establishes the mean of categorizing persons and the complement of attributes felt to be ordinary and natural for members of each of these categories.”

How do you cope with the society when it establishes the mean-spirited of battling with tendencies to go toward suicides?

I am not writing this for myself only, but it applies to Deaf returnees living in Deaf community lacks for accessibility and big help, over the past couple of decades have shaken Deaf America and made them the most invisible minority group and their own identity and forgotten stories. When it comes to Deaf returnees who comes back into the society to change their life around, and blowing the whistle to test the strength, and the story is very much related to my experience.

When Calvin Young, a Deaf vlogger made a vlog: “Life is like a Jenga” is a great example of how to overcome adversity. Dealing with Jenga through shadows, and try to think positive as much as possible, and try to be in my shoes if you can handle Jenga. Beyond the shadows of Jenga, there are real consequences for living with the label. I learned of the news that there are four times more likely to commit suicide for young children as much as ten years old, with hard life lessons.

There are plenty of people who got away with miserable actions, but did not own up to their actions. Again, I am far from perfect and I make human mistakes, too. Will you be willing to learn the culture of Deaf returnees?

As the author of Shame: Free Yourself, Find Joy, and Build True Self-Esteem wrote from the book: “You’re a fucking loser. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Nobody likes you. You might as well die. You’re stupid. Why bother doing anything? You know you’ll fail. It goes on and on like that for hours, repeating the same things. Relentless, like I’m always being watched and judged. You’re pathetic. You’re ugly. Over and over.”

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I know the feeling. I won’t let it control me to set up for self-hatred so profound it sometimes left me dealing with the label. Will you accept me to be part of Deaf community? I’ve told many times that I should not doing anything and set me up for failure, and judged without knowing my life stories.

Bullying: Deaf vs. Deaf is the hardest thing to deal with. I am no better either. In this time of crisis, it is Deaf leaders and Deaf community itself who hold out, by our very nature, the deepest vision of healing and peace that is possible for Deaf people including Deaf returnees. It begins in our hearts, in that place that is never separate from the living heart of ours. Am I allowed to earn empowerment that is something that begins within ourselves that finds a big mirror to reflect who we are between healing and growing pain?

-JT

Copyright © 2019 Jason Tozier

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

Additional blog posts to read about suicide:

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/06/09/treatment-of-suicidal-deaf-people/

 

 

Ted Baran: A Calumny of His Duty

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I would like to bring this message that Ted Baran, so-called Chief for Department of Public Safety (DPS) at Gallaudet University is still keeping his job even with his bullying tactics, and it does not make sense why he’s still the Chief for “PUBLIC SAFETY”—time for Ted Baran to be replaced with someone who is more understanding. No white supremacist ties.

“We want to make it very clear that we do not tolerate any form of hatred nor oppression. We believe that hatred and oppression have no place in Washington DC, especially on the campus. We aim to establish a safe space for all students to learn and grow within the city and campus.” You know what Ted say? EXCELLENT MESSAGE! Practice what Ted preaches—-remember that forever. Unbelievable.

I was forced by Ted to stand up front of classroom explaining why I was in jail —details must be explained—every day. Not just classrooms, but everywhere I walk around Gallaudet, I must explain why and if I do not explain what I was told, I would face expulsion from Gallaudet for good. It was actually a hate crime. It was never a safe space for me as a student to learn and grow within the campus. I never experienced so harsh like this in my life. I was never given a due process that I wanted to challenge Ted Baran.

Even today, I still deal with the effects of trauma on a continual basis. I guess one of the worst consequences of being attacked, murdered, bullied, and thrown at, should I walk around the campus with a label on my forehead. Yet, “we do not tolerate any form of hatred nor oppression” is the biggest insult to my intelligence and my journey to be better person. When I accepted into graduate school, I cried of joy. I cried because I thought there was a hope that I would get better.

When Baran was sharing his experience why he became a police officer through Registry of Interpreters for Deaf (RID) interview knowing that Deaf kids need help—it was unbelievable. I wonder those Deaf kids would feel trusted around Baran.

I was 12 years old KID asking for help. I was the ONE who asked for HELP. I cried! I cried! I cried! Columbia River Mental Health did not report this. State of Washington failed to report this. I was RAPED when I was ten years old. It was Spring 1983.

How? My female babysitter ordered me to take my clothes off in bathroom. She touched my penis. She put a wood stick up my ass and rough up couple of times. She got away with it. I could not understand. Did I understand it was wrong thing to do? I was naïve. I was clueless. I was powerless. It was perfectly normal. No one wanted to hear my stories. If I share my stories, I’d get threats. Hearing privileges at best.

Today, I still cry. I suffer more. I hurt deeply more. There are times I feel like giving up. There are times I feel like worthless. My life is very complicated—people throwing at me to live in the past over and over. It makes a trip for suicide attempts.

I really thought Gallaudet University would be very committed to provide a learning environment that is both safe and rigorous, one that empowers students the most, treating with the utmost respect and create a safe environment where students feels more empowered to learn with opportunities to reach their full potential as informed and knowledgeable students. Also, isn’t Gallaudet University supposed to be about learning, teaching, and make new meaning in anyone’s intellectual life?

Would I have encountered the same amount of ridicule, exclusion, and abuse at Gallaudet? Probably. Would I still have some of my self-esteem and self-image issues? I do not know. I write this post just to relate my experiences that I am still ostracized today and tomorrow until my life expired at final breath. I work extremely hard to change my life around. I had turned my back on the past I no longer wished to be part of.

I just cannot understand why Baran still keeps his job. Privileges. What affirmative steps that Gallaudet University claims that they advocate for oppressed minorities within in the Deaf population. That hurts the most. The fact that the law exists in the first place is the real problem. Any law that gives people freedom to kill others even if they provoked a fight is a flawed one, with such a perverse history of hatred and discrimination.

That is why we need to talk about institutionalized hatred and the subtle ways that Deaf returnee’s experiences impact our thoughts, our society, and our institutions including Gallaudet University. Supposedly, if Ted Baran murders me in real life, the jury’s verdict would be consistent with the law and Baran because he is Chief for Department of Public Safety. Unfortunately, the law is disgusting. Ted Baran is probably laughing when he reads this post because he thinks he’s untouchable. This guy is full of hatred.

One more time.

“We want to make it very clear that we do not tolerate any form of hatred nor oppression. We believe that hatred and oppression have no place in Washington DC, especially on the campus. We aim to establish a safe space for all students to learn and grow within the city and campus.”

You know what Ted say? EXCELLENT MESSAGE!

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

 

 

Treatment of Suicidal Deaf People

 

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There is an important discussion about the surge of suicide rates in America. This morning when I woke up and discovered the most recent news about chef Anthony Bourdain who committed suicide in France. It was tragic, indeed. Less than 24 hours ago, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued alerting news about suicide: 30% percent across the nation since 1999.

I am focusing on Deaf Community. CDC showed a nationwide map of states showing which the highest suicide rates. Idaho, one of the highest suicide states, most recently, a Deaf couple—‘murder and suicide’; Depression is invisible stigma. I had my battle with suicide tendencies in the past even as Gallaudet graduate student few years ago. Mental health at Gallaudet University is major problem.

In 1988, I was in eighth grade, I remember getting the news on a small school bus and was informed that Greg, a Deaf friend of mine who rode on the same school bus with me, committed suicide and that was a major flashback for me. Greg was a phenomenal artist. It was not supposed to be that way.

Two Deaf persons committed suicide within last four years in Gallaudet community. It is profound. Last March 2018, a Deaf student at Illinois School for the Deaf committed suicide. Few years ago, a Deaf student in California committed suicide. I could go on more.

Last year, I wrote a post, Suicide is a Big Problem in Deaf Community https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2017/04/03/suicide-is-a-big-problem-in-deaf-community/ has reflected many things. Labeling is powerful. Hate is a bigger problem. The mental health does impact Deaf community. The problem is that it is not enough discussed. Before everyone continue to rush to judgment and do their due diligence on the society. Each and every one of you needs to understand that when suicide rates in Deaf community is invisible now and then; the society has absolutely no interest in the truth.

They are after one thing: lack of knowledge. Suicide is a tragedy act. Deaf community should be not shunned. How does they teach the society when Deaf community should earn an earned opportunity—earned by knowledge? At any rate, America used to be the land of chances and Deaf community rarely believes in second chances as from walks of life dealing with their struggles.

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There are plenty of Deaf people struggling for counseling. Deaf community is not enough discussed in mental health community.

How can the society allow Deaf community to resume their own lives? This is a terrible and faulty narrative about Deaf community. The notion that Deaf community does not feel the pain is simply not a factual. To be sure, there is a huge impact on them. Sometimes, depending on situations, the most brutal ones imaginable.

But mental health community, for example, counseling can make a great leap of difference, and for those Deaf people who seek support and help, in fact, overcome adversity and labeling. Further, how long is long enough for Deaf community to suffer suicide awareness? We must remember that Deaf community is the gatekeepers to all knowledge regarding struggles and suicide awareness.

Stigma reinforces Deaf community. There is a direct line between struggle and help—a human error that would lead to suicides and that is where the society is ignorant about Deaf community. To accept the reality would be to acknowledge that suicide is nothing but a powerful statement, used by hearing privileges to divide Deaf community. It is simply baffling that Deaf community struggle to seek support system. Moreover, the mental crisis seems to be no longer the community accountability.

The only challenge for the crisis is that Deaf community must continue and support mental awareness of any kind is well discussed about suicide awareness and human responsibility.

Please visit Deaf Counseling Center:

www.deafcounseling.com

https://audismnegatsurdi.com/2018/05/23/why-mental-health-awareness-month-is-important-for-deaf-community/

-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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