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Please pardon our mess, we are undergoing reconstruction and redesigning our website. Please bear with us.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact any one of our officers below:

Bob Green, President — boaren@comcast.net

Wade Doster, Vice President — gadvicepresident@gmail.com

Patty Patton, Treasurer — gadeaftrea@gmail.com

Shannon Biezenbos, Secretary — gadsecretary@gmail.com or gadsocialmedia@gmail.com

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GAD Former President, Dr. Frank Lala’s respond to AGBELL Letter to Nyle DiMarco

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
3417 Volta Place Northwest
Washington, District of Columbia 20007

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing’s everlasting aggression and relentless campaign against ASL and Deaf culture.

We promote the rights of deaf people, We advocate for the elimination of the prevalent public mentality of audism, linguicism, apathy, prejudice, oppression, paternalistic attitudes, and discriminative employment practices.

We are not in the hands of an inevitable fate or destiny — Fate and destiny to shape, mold and frame by the foresight and vision we dare to see for ourselves.

We will prevail, thrive, and survive through empowerment!

A CREDO FOR DEAF AMERICANS

We don’t choose to be the common linguistic minority.

It is our right to be the uncommon and noble linguistic minority.

If we can, we seek opportunity, not security.

We don’t wish to be “kept” citizens, humbled, dulled by having the state look after us.

We want to take the calculated risk to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

We want to abolish stereotyping and to remove the prevalent public mentality toward prejudice.

We will not tolerate biased perceptions, criticisms or censures of our beloved American Sign Language.

We will not accept abuse of our Deaf identity by oppressors, nor our rights to self-determination.

We refuse to barter incentive for a dole.

We prefer the challenge of life to a guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.

We will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor our dignity for a handout.

We will never cower before any master, audism, or paternalistic attitudes, nor bend to any threat of discrimination.

It is the heritage of our Deaf Culture to stand erect, proud, and unafraid; to think and act for ourselves; to enjoy the benefits of our creations, and to face the hearing world boldly and say, “This we have achieved.”

All of this is what it means to be Deaf Americans.

________________________________

By Frank James John Lala, Jr., Ph.D.

Past President –?Georgia Association of the Deaf

? Revised 2015 All Rights Reserved

THE DEAF ARE AN OPPRESSED MINORITY. THE HEARING ARE THE OPPRESSORS. HISTORICALLY, ANY TIME THE DEAF COMMUNITY HAS ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT ITSELF, IT IS SUMMARILY IGNORED. THAT HAS BEEN TRUE FOR OVER TWO HUNDRED YEARS IN WESTERNIZED SOCIETY.

Ancient Israel

Those born deaf were not allowed to own property or conduct major business transactions. They also were neither liable nor punished for any damage or injury they incurred.

Ancient Greece

Those born deaf were considered “non-persons” in Greek society and rejected by parents as their legitimate children. Killing of deaf and other disabled babies was a common practice. Aristotle was quoted as saying that those born deaf “become senseless and incapable of reasoning”.

Ancient Rome

Roman law specified that those born deaf had no legal rights or obligations and were forbidden to marry in addition to being required to have guardians to look after them. Those who became deaf after having developed speech were allowed to enjoy full legal rights.

Early Christian Church

St. Augustine (354-430 A.D.) taught that the deaf are excluded from salvation on the grounds that they cannot hear the Word of God, citing St. Paul: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). St. Augustine also taught that handicapped children were the results of the “sins” of their parents.

Europe, 1880

The International Congress on Education of the Deaf, which met in Milan, Italy, over the protests of many Deaf and Hearing educators, rammed through a resolution endorsing the oral method in deaf education worldwide, ushering in a new “Dark Age” in the history of the Deaf which saw hundreds of Deaf teachers fired from their jobs and an overall decline in the quality of deaf education.

United States, Early 20th Century

Alexander Graham Bell’s history of atrocities and oppressive philosophy. Alexander Graham Bell, calling the deaf “a defective variety of the human race,” begins a crusade to destroy sign language and to push for laws forbidding marriage between deaf persons and requiring compulsory sterilization of deaf girls in the name of “eugenics.” Some states passed such legislation.

United States, Late 20th Century

Dr. Harlan Lane’s book “The Mask of Benevolence: Disabling the Deaf Community”, presents a strong and eloquent case in that professionals, in their efforts to “rehabilitate” the deaf child and to “alleviate” the effects of deafness, actually exacerbate the deaf child’s disability, rendering him/her more handicapped – a classical case of the “cure” being worse than the “disease“. Medical View/Deafness as Pathology, paternalism, audism. oralism, ableism, phonocentrism, and linguicism.

United States, Early 21st Century

Deaf Grassroots Movement’s National Rally for Deaf Civil Rights May 4, 2016 at more than 45 State Capitals across the United States about lack of equality in jobs, communication, and education. AG Bell’s everlasting aggression and relentless campaign against ASL and Deaf culture. A firestorm was ignited when the Alexander Graham Bell (AGB) Association characterized the comments of Nyle DiMarco, the popular star of “America’s Next Top Mode” who is profoundly deaf himself, as spreading myths about the benefits of American Sign Language. ADA routinely violated by prisons in the case of Deaf inmates.

THE DEAF CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IS DEDICATED TO FIGHTING THIS KIND OF OPPRESSION AND RAISING AWARENESS OF DEAF HISTORY AND DEAF CULTURE WITHIN THE DEAF COMMUNITY.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR; Keynote Speaker at the World Congress of the World Federation of the Deaf on Mental Health Issues (1999), and author of, “Counseling the Deaf Substance Abuser”. Dr. Frank Lala, recipient of Gallaudet University’s prestigious Laurent Clerc Award by Dr. I. King Jordan in recognition for the work in mental health and substance abuse. Author has both School Smarts (Education/Degrees) and Street Smarts (Experience/Harsh Childhood that gives him Survival Skills, Character, and Perspectives on Life)

Definition of Audism: Audism the seizing of control over deaf people — has been summed up by Dr. Harlan Lane with the simple statement, “Hearing people have enormous control over the lives of Deaf people.” For example, non-Deaf people make the decisions about the language choice, educational options, service provision, employment, and other aspects of a deaf person’s daily life.

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Georgia Association of the Deaf respond to AGBell’s letter to Nyle DiMarco

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Attn: Meredith Sugar, Esq., President
3417 Volta Place, NW
Washington, DC 20007

Dear Ms. Sugar and AGBell Board:

The Georgia Association of the Deaf is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We promote the rights of Deaf Georgians and hard-of-hearing citizens. American Sign Language provides us with complete access to communication. We support Bilingual ASL/English education, the highest quality of education for all deaf children and adults in our state.

Just over 100 years ago, in 1913, the great Deaf leader George W. Veditz, then President of the National Association of the Deaf, presented a 14-minute film, “The Preservation of the Sign Language,” that still carries a powerful message. He called ASL “the noblest gift God has given to deaf people,” and asked that we “cherish and protect” it. We are still actively advocating for the right to learn, speak, and teach ASL. Veditz’s film, one of the Deaf community’s treasures, was recognized by the Library of Congress and included in the National Film Registry in 2010.*

After we reviewed both of your letters — “Response to Washington Post article about Nyle DiMarco/Dispelling Myths about Deafness” and “AG Bell Responds to Letters about Nyle DiMarco” — we had to respond. The first letter states that “The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing applauds DiMarco?s achievements and recognizes that American Sign Language (ASL) exists as a communication option for deaf children.” Then your second letter states “AG Bell continues to recognize ASL as a FULLY accessible, visual language.” If you recognize the value of ASL and are advocating for the families of deaf or hard-of-hearing children, then why don’t we see your organization supporting the Deaf community by encouraging parents to use ASL?

The second letter notes that your organization “believes that all deaf or hard of hearing children should receive dedicated, quality services to develop and maintain communication, language and literacy skills.” These services should include ASL for the benefit of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults. AGBell affirms that ASL is a fully accessible language, yet both letters contradict each other, which makes it difficult to accept your position.

In June 2015, Matthew S. Moore gave a stirring keynote address at the GAD Conference. To borrow his title and theme, we would like to remind you of “the three R?s: Responsibility, Respect, and Reality.”

It is your Responsibility to gather the facts and research all methods of language development for Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults, including ASL. Your organization should recognize ASL even if it is not a spoken but a visual language. Listen and Spoken Language (your exceedingly misleading term) = Struggle for Deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Many of them have suffered from language deprivation. A good number of those “AGBell alumni” have sent letters to you, but none of them have received a response.

Your organization needs to Respect the Deaf community. Respect for our community and not denigrating us because of our choice to use ASL. Limiting our ability to communicate to spoken language alone does not work. Your organization has not been willing to listen and understand that we have the ability to do many things except hear. Listen and Spoken Language = Contradiction by not listening.

The Reality: Your organization’s name includes the phrase “Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.” But your mission statements and core values are basically for those who have a hearing loss with emphasis on spoken language. Your philosophy of Listening and Spoken Language is an absolute EPIC FAILURE as far as the Deaf and hard-of-hearing who chooses to use ASL!

Sincerely,

Georgia Association of the Deaf Executive Board

Robert Green, President
Wade Doster, Vice President
Shannon Biezenbos, Secretary
Patricia Patton, Treasurer

Cc: Sarah Polus, Washington Post

* “News from the Library Congress”, December 28, 2010. (https://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2010/10-273.html)

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