Laurent Clerc: United Nations Human Rights Prize

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70 years ago on December 10th, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was brought up with the idea to recognize that as humans we adopt equal rights, freedom, and pursuit of happiness.

I just read the winners for 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize who deserve an award. From the United Nations website writes:

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights.

In the past, United Nations Human Rights had given to someone who passed away such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Why not Laurent Clerc? He contributed to Deaf community in the heart of human rights. Establishing the first American Deaf School in Hartford, Connecticut. For next 50 years, the school had trained many Deaf students in the field of educators to teach Deaf pupils to be successful. Laurent Clerc’s spirit embodies the self-determination of the newly Deaf space; his thoughts are still considered the strongest influence in Deaf people’s bodies, minds, and spirits.

Laurent Clerc’s quote:

“A knowledge of history is extremely useful; it lays before our eyes the great picture of the generations that have preceded us; and in relating the events which passed in their time…it lays before us the precepts of the wise…of all ages…”

There was no “rehabilitation” program or education for Deaf students. Laurent Clerc predicted the importance for future of the Deaf citizens to preserve and perpetuate in the language and culture, protecting and promoting ASL. French influence upon American Sign Language (ASL) and intellectual life of the Deaf has become quite pronounced as the result of the contact between Deaf people to seek for higher education. Not only in America, but influenced Canada as well, too.

Last September 2018, United Nations recognized its first International Day of Sign Languages, and it is a huge step. There was more than 70 million Deaf people living world wide, according to the World Federation of the Deaf, the higher education is pretty difficult to grasp, only two percent out of 70 million Deaf people have the human right access to a formal education.

Since Laurent Clerc’s arrival in America, his mission has been to provide quality individualized education honoring the talents of Deaf students, making sure they were given the highest opportunities to acquire academic skills necessary for success.

Making sure the long journey, the dark moments of doubts and struggles, going through series of emotional, mental and physical—and the feeling in a life time would end up being over, until Laurent Clerc’s arrival made sure it was never over. It was very much part of human right. Being the state of Deaf is a human right in the highest form of freedom.

Honestly, I do think Mr. Laurent Clerc deserve United Nations Human Rights Prize, the largest honour of lifetime work. What do you think?

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-JT

Copyright © 2018 Jason Tozier

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

References:

https://usdeafhistory.com/tag/laurent-clerc/

https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/news/dspd/international-day-sign-languages.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Prize_in_the_Field_of_Human_Rights

 

 

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Indigenous People’s Day: Resistance in the Epoch of Christopher Columbus

 

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Please support Indigenous Peoples’ Day all over the cities and towns in the country, “Columbus Day” is a commonly used as a white privilege label to support to any bigotry, hostility, and discrimination against Native Americans and its use is often politically motivated. That is why I do not support Christopher Columbus’s legacy in secrecy, war, and violence in Native American lands. To date, if Columbus was alive today, hate crime charges without question where the trial is necessary for Columbus.

There are plenty of literature reviews on Native Americans and criminal justice, found one of the literature reviews focusing ethno-violence and found not a single case of Native Americans as victims of racially motivated violence. It makes them deeper than an invisible cloak. It is literally bad! What had Native Americans done to them? Kurt Vonnegut writes in his book, Breakfast of Champions: As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North American for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.”

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What is Indigenous People’s Day? It is about celebrating of the Indigenous peoples in North America to celebrate their culture, language, and arts. It is important to appreciate them as part of humanity and it is also difficult to imagine and understand the current strains of Indigenous peoples where they face the connections with colonialism. As for Columbus’ trial, according to the United Nations: 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such:

 a: Killing members of the group;

b: Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

c: Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

d: Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

e: Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. (Article II)

Do we need to celebrate Columbus Day what he has robbed Indigenous Peoples lives? It should be student-centered, human-centered, and love-centered that we need to retain our knowledge about Indigenous People in schools. Also, it can be educator-led that we need strong educators to bring in stronger awareness that impacts learning. At a human compassion, we all need a healthy terminology such as Indigenous People’s Day.

Finally, it should be Hate-Free, as Indigenous People deserve an education without financial hardships. They deserve a chance to thrive in their lives, without facing hate and racism daily. We need teachers and learners clearly to share a common interest in positive meaning and we need to re-invest Native American literature more often in our public schools and universities. Can we channel our knowledge toward the essentials of teaching and learning about Indigenous People’s Day? Please visit this YouTube video with captions provided:

 

-JT

Copyright © 2017 Jason Tozier

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