Monday, March 16, 2009

Meeting with AG Bell Executive Director and April 3, 2009 Rally

BIG THANKS FOR ALL YOUR CONTACTS OF SUPPORT

OUR RALLY AT AG BELL HEADQUARTERS WILL BE ON APRIL 3, FRIDAY FROM 11 AM TO 9 PM
AFA PR WEB (vlog at bottom)

LETTER TO AG BELL ASSOC FOR A MEETING:

1. On March 3, Audism Free America (AFA) sent an email and hard copy letter (see bottom) to Alexander Graham, executive director of AG Bell association, and Jay Wyant, president of AG Bell Association, requesting a meeting on April 3, 2009 Friday in order to discuss our three demands face to face. (see letter)

2. We, AFA, did not get a response from AG Bell’s executive director, Alex Graham, until Friday March 13 (10 days after we sent our letter) and we only got the reply after repeated phone calls to AG Bell Association and an email check in. He replied that he could not meet with us on April 3rd as requested but could meet with us April 2 at 9 am. AFA has conflicts in our schedule on April 2nd but we have made ourselves available for April 2nd at 4 pm if April 3rd is still not doable for Mr. Graham. We have not received any response from president Wyant.

3. The same day AG Bell Executive Director Graham replied to our letter, AG Bell Association sent out an AG Bell Assoc. e-blast update to their members - (See bottom)

a. notice how they are still using media to misrepresent Deaf ASL people
b. notice how they pick and choose our demands to share with the public
c. notice how they say the purpose for telling AFA they can meet with us on April 2nd instead of April 3rd is to encourage a peaceful demonstration the next day and to clarify AG Bell's association’s mission of supporting families and individuals who choose listening and spoken language.

They are twisting things and trying to control the agenda.

4. We have already informed AG Bell, we are committed to peaceful activism and we know full well what their mission is. We are requesting the meeting to address our three demands in person.

5. We have sent the email reply below to Alex Graham’s March 13 (Friday) on March 16 , 2009 (Monday).

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AG Bell Association's Update

Friday, March 13, 2009

In This Issue….

Group Plans Demonstration at AG Bell Headquarters

A number of our members have contacted AG Bell regarding a recent announcement of a planned demonstration at its national headquarters.

Last week, a newly formed group calling itself “Audism Free America” announced that it will be demonstrating outside of AG Bell’s national headquarters, also known as the Volta Bureau, in Washington, D.C.., on April 3, 2009. In a press release entitled, “Audism Free America Targets the Volta Bureau,” the group states its intent is to “call attention to the denial of linguistic and human rights of Deaf citizens and to highlight how the Volta Bureau/AG Bell Association has worked to perpetuate the denial of these rights.” The group claims that the Volta Bureau “houses a shameful history in the establishment and perpetuation of audism in the United States.”

Audism, as stated by this group, is “the assumption that behaving in ways of those who speak and hear is best and desired. Audism manifests itself as a stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice against Deaf culture, American Sign Language and Deaf people.”

In a letter from the group’s representative to AG Bell Executive Director Alexander T. Graham, Audism Free America demands that AG Bell “cease and desist from denying Deaf infants, children and their families the right to a natural and fully accessible language,” among other things. The group also contends in its letter that “oralism (oral/aural only methods) has been proven to be an abysmal failure, it is time for us to unite and work together to ensure the birthrights of Deaf infants and children and the human rights of all Deaf people who have suffered under your iron grip.”

The group also requested a meeting with AG Bell leadership to discuss its demands. On behalf of AG Bell, Graham agreed to meet with the group the day before the demonstration to encourage a peaceful demonstration and to clarify AG Bell’s mission of supporting families and individuals who choose listening and spoken language. “AG Bell’s primary concern is the safety of all those involved, including our staff who work at the Volta Bureau and the particpants in the demonstration,” stated Graham. “AG Bell recognizes that differing viewpoints exist within the deaf and hard of hearing communities and respects the rights of those viewpoints to be expressed in a positive and lawful manner.”

During the AG Bell Convention in Milwaukee last June, AG Bell President Jay Wyant conducted a lengthy on-camera interview with the now-leader of Audism Free America. The interview addressed many of the issues that continue to be raised by this and similar organizations. To see the interview, click here (captions were not provided). Also, in a further effort to clarify its position on ASL, the AG Bell Board of Directors issued an official position statement on American Sign Language. To read the full statement, click here. Any inquiries related to this event should be directed to AG Bell’s director of communications, Catherine Murphy.

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Our original letter to AG Bell Executive Director A. Graham and President J. Wyant:

3 March 2009

Greetings President Wyandt and CEO Graham:

Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots Deaf activist organization in the US, which advocates for Deaf American rights, cultural resurgence, and seeks primarily to challenge the ideological foundations of audism in America.

Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in
the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a
system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and
prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign
Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life.

AFA is committed to:
1. human and linguistic rights of Deaf people
2. unmasking audism and media misrepresentation
3. advocating for future generations

Thus, we would like to request a meeting with you on April 3, 2009 when we are in the D.C. area. Our meeting is to clearly state our demands that:

1. the AG Bell Association and Academy cease and desist from denying Deaf infants, children, and their families the right to a natural and fully accessible language.

2. the AG Bell Association cease and desist from misinforming the public and the media about ASL Deaf people. The AG Bell Association has not retracted its letter to Pepsi objecting to the commercial featuring ASL in a positive light and continually paints ASL Deaf people as unsuccessful and dependent.

3. the AG Bell Association cease and desist its incestuous relationship with cochlear implant manufacturers and join AFA in calling for an independent and impartial study of the physical, psychological, and social impact of cochlear implants on infants, children and adolescents.

Indeed the AG Bell Association follows in the footsteps of your founder in trying to destroy the linguistic and human rights of Deaf people by EXCLUDING ASL from your services, programs and schools (except when legally mandated). A.G. Bell, the man, through publicized reports was an eugenicist, xenophobe, and audist along with recent reports that he was also thief and plagiarist (see D. Baynton, H. Lane, and S. Shulman as well as Bell’s own writings). Oralism (oral / aural only methods) has been proven to be an abysmal failure, it is time for us to unite and work together to ensure the birthrights of Deaf infants and children and the human rights of all Deaf people who have suffered under your iron grip.

We look forward to this meeting as an opportunity to present our demands to you in person and to address any questions you may have.

Please let us know the time and location that is best for you both to meet with us on April 3, 2009.

Let Freedom Roll,



Ruthie Jordan, Audism Free America
AudismFreeAmerica@gmail.com

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Our reply to Mr. Graham after receiving his March 13 email reply (10 days after our letter above) saying he can not meet on April 3 but could do April 2 at 9 am.


Greetings Mr. Graham:

Thank you for your reply of March 13, 2009 – 10 Days after we sent our email to you. We regret that you have some conflicts on April 3. We are hoping that you will be able to change your schedule in order to meet with us on April 3 as we have a conflict on April 2.

The only possible time we could meet with you on April 2 would be at 4 pm. We also want to know if AG Bell Association President Jay Wyant will be joining us as well.

To clarify the purpose of our meeting is not to discuss the importance of a “peaceful demonstration and to clarify AG Bell’s mission of supporting families and individuals who choose listening and spoken language.” AFA is committed to non-violent, peaceful activism and we are VERY familiar with your mission as well as your position statement acknowledging the existence of ASL.

While we appreciate your spreading the word about our website, mission, the definition of audism, and our April 3rd rally to your members via your March 13 AG Bell update, we find it very interesting that this announcement stating that you have agreed to meet with us on April 2nd was composed before you even notified us and secured our agreement to the date and time you specified.

We look forward to establishing an agreed upon meeting date and time (April 2 Thur at 4 pm or April 3 Fri anytime between 9-4) so that you can keep your word and meet with us as you have informed your members you would be doing so.

Let Freedom Roll,

Ruthie Jordan, AFA

Our Three Demands:


1. the AG Bell Association and Academy cease and desist from denying Deaf infants, children, and their families the right to a natural and fully accessible language.

2. the AG Bell Association cease and desist from misinforming the public and the media about ASL Deaf people. The AG Bell Association has not retracted its letter to Pepsi objecting to the commercial featuring ASL in a positive light and continually paints ASL Deaf people as unsuccessful and dependent.

3. the AG Bell Association cease and desist its incestuous relationship with cochlear implant manufacturers and join AFA in calling for an independent and impartial study of the physical, psychological, and social impact of cochlear implants on infants, children and adolescents. video