I am proud to be on executive team and Director for We the Deaf People, Inc.–District of Columbia Chapter.
‘We the Deaf People’ was founded by Matthew Moore.
As today is Constitution Day (September 17, 2016), it is very important to be aware about this, I can think of no words to describe the great honor to have inherited the United States Constitution with flame that has been burning since 1787–the Founding Fathers signed the most important documents in American history—-the United States Constitution.
Today, Deaf community has been dealing with very difficult social and economic changes and I need to address an aura of optimism among ourselves who see the possibility of making American Sign Language (ASL) a more dynamic force in communication and instruction for all Deaf people.
In 1880, for example, educators of the Deaf from all over the world convened in Milano, Italy and drew up a resolution, hence the 1880 Milan Resolution, to ban the use of sign language in communication and instruction of the Deaf people. There have been numerous barriers to language access and development occur. It is important to know that being Deaf is a biological condition that calls for a different channel, that is, sight, through which information, knowledge, and communication are conveyed.
ASL is the lifeblood of Deaf community and culture, too. It can be easily agreed! The United States Constitution need to be aware that ASL is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. Of course, by denying or doubting ASL is anything but deficit to incite the mind to language bigotry and prejudice.
Or, whether it finds some people unaware, in idle and false security, it captures their mind with secret contrivances of Audism. Deficit thinking is, therefore, far from pure “tabula rasa”—we do not live in the vaccum. ASL should not be missed as a sense of language, as a living subject—as part of human life. ASL can lift us up and take us anywhere on Mother Earth. Nothing can hold us back from ASL.
Now, this message is as a tough read as the English statement by Jean-Paul Sartre in his book, Being and Nothingness:
“The being by which nothingness arrives in the world must nihilate nothingness in its being, and even so it still runs the risk of establishing nothingness as a transcendent in the very heart if immanence unless it nihilates nothingness in its being in connection with its own being. The being by which nothingness arrives in the world is a being such that in its being the nothingness of its being is in question.”
I know it is difficult to follow it because it can be confusing as nihilating our state of being Deaf—many of the issues in language of ASL are really issues in sociological of being Deaf.
But it is each person’s right to know what being Deaf means. We also need to know where it comes from as well as the activities and attitudes which it describes. If we do not know, with confidence, our part in the whole and our place in a history, we can become frustrated by what we have to do. If we know what being Deaf means, our self-esteem and self-determination would be much more sure. It is important to understand how much importance of United States Constitution means for us to preserve our language and culture. Really! It is a good way to celebrate Constitution Day!
Copyright © 2016 Jason Tozier
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