Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Deaf awareness month

With all the stuff going on around here, I'm not surprised that this tidbit almost got away from me. It seems March is deaf awareness month.
This has roots in the Deaf President Now movement that started in Gallaudet University back in 1988. Perhaps I should back track a bit.
Gallaudet University is the premiere school for the deaf in Washington DC. In 1988 the board of trustees selected a hearing president to lead Gallaudet. This didn't sit to well with the students and alumni of the school. One of the things being deaf teaches you is self reliance. Having a hearing president was akin to letting the hearing people decide what was best for you. As if deaf people couldn't make their own decisions. This morphed into a movement referred to in deaf culture as DPN, or deaf president now. By the time March 13,1988 rolled around, several members of the board of trustees had resigned or stepped down due to the immense pressure put on them by the students, faculty and alumni, as well as the media attention Gallaudet was receiving. A deaf president by the name of King I. Jordan was selected. The other demands from the students were eventually met, including 51% of the board of trustees must also be deaf.
In turn, this inspired an entire deaf civil rights movement which is still going on to this day.
From what I've read in many books including Train Go Sorry by Leah Hager Cohen, deaf people have led a difficult life. Even to the point of having their language and reproductive rights taken away.

I count my blessings.

If anyone says I'm a bad father just because I'm deaf, they better be out of my arm reach. For that matter, I'm not a big fan of the words 'disabled' or 'handicapped' either.
I am proud more than I can say that one of my daughters wants a career in deaf advocacy.
To this day, deaf people are relegated to the back of the social bus, but adversity like this brings out the best in deaf culture. More and more I'm seeing articles about deaf owned startups and deaf entrepreneurs. Deaf people are creators and I count myself among them. 

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