Sunday, November 14, 2010

AFA letter to Jubilee Filmmakers

Greetings Jubilee Filmmakers:

Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots group dedicated to reducing audism*. We would like to commend you for making a short film to support the American Society of Deaf Children (ASDC).

We want to share our disappointment with two things:
1. the casting of a Hearing person to portray a Deaf person. Since many Deaf people see themselves as a cultural and linguistic minority and since there are many skilled Deaf actors, we find it objectionable when Hearing people are used to portray Deaf characters just as Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Latino Americans etc find it objectionable when Caucasian people are cast to represent them.

2. the last line of the film "You are still beautiful" communicates a message of "despite your being Deaf...."
We are eager to see media the de-stigmatizes what it means to be Deaf and devoid of sexism and lookism. Deaf women are often used in films as a sexual, desirable object. A source of fascination and a damsel in distress.

We are confident that none of your casting or writing choices intended to convey the adverse messages noted above. We know your desires were good.

We ask that you consider doing a re-shoot and casting a Deaf actor in the role of the Deaf character as well as revising the last line in response to "I'm Deaf" to either the written reply of:

"COOL" or "ME TOO."

Please do not hesitate to contact us about this matter or if you desire any input on future project ideas. Again, we thank you and commend you for this undertaking.

Let Freedom Roll,

Patti Durr on behalf of Audism Free America

*Audism = 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.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

AFA endorses Deaf & Native community

AFA is concerned and would like to share sad news from Seattle, Washington. A Deaf Native American, John T Williams (see photo)recently passed away. This is what happened: A cop saw him carrying a knife and yelled at John to drop the knife three times. Then, the cop shot him 4 times in the chest. John died instantly from the shooting on the street. We, AFA truly grieve for his brothers, family members, friends, Deaf Native Community members, and our Deaf community. We have also signed the petition protesting this incident and endorsing their call for a rally asking the Seattle Mayor and city officials to investigate this truly horrific tragedy.


This deadly incident never should have happened to John T Williams.The cop could have used other means to confront him such as using a taser, sign language or gestures--but instead they responded making a flawed assumption, shooting a Deaf man 4 times. Imagine: John T. Williams was only about 10 feet away and yet he was shot 4 times. That was a deadly decision that was truly sad. We encourage Deaf community members and all others to sign the petition to support calling for an investigation of that incident. There are a number of good reasons for us to take action to sign this petition. For many years, we, Deaf people have been seen, experienced, and been aware of events such as this one. We know that there have been many incidences and issues of concern with police officers. Sometimes, the police are involved with misunderstandings, some have demonstrated jumping to conclusions, some have made serious errors in decision making, and approached Deaf people in dangerous ways. As a result, Deaf people are at risk for being shot--leading to injuries or death; Deaf people have told stories of being pulled over and needing to deal with miscommunication with the police; police have responded with violent actions when Deaf people have simply been trying to use sign language to communicate; in addition to many other situations where Deaf people's safety is at risk. Its been reported that innocent Deaf people have been killed, injured or arrested by the police. There are also some issues related to AUDISM and police officers demonstrating this attitude. It has occurred repeatedly in our life time and it will even today in the year 2010, it is still happening...

(Sigh)We (Deaf community members) are very concerned and recommend to tap all of you to wake up, to roll up your sleeves along with us to take action challenging the legal system such as the police to educate them about Deaf people, encourage them to learn sign language and Deaf culture, and learn how to deal with us appropriately. Learning some sign language, the officers could communicate with Deaf people when they are pulled over such as asking for driver's licenses, telling them to slow down, warning them not to use a knife or gun, or anything related to safety and other issues. We also encourage you to contact the mayor of your town to check on how the police are trained to handle Deaf people and other relevant issues. The mayor could change and improve the criminal justice system for our Deaf community including Deaf people with Low vision/Blind and Deaf people of color, and other minority groups.
Because we value the diversity in our Deaf community, we need to work to ensure our safety. Some Deaf people STILL feel paranoid and scared around police officers because they know that police officers could easily decide to take action against an innocent citizen that could result in shooting death or injury. The police do have a job to do and in that job they have the POWER to decide to violate the rights of people which can lead to the loss of life. AFA values you all and encourages you all to take action to cause a ripple effect in the community so that incidents such as what happened to John T. Williams will not happen again in our life times. This must STOP. Deaf people have died in incidents such as this... We value the Deaf community, all of you...

Audism Free America

Monday, September 13, 2010

AFA: End of Milan (130 anniv) and the New Era Beginning


AFA would like to tell you about a historical event in Deaf history, commonly known as Milan 1880. This was a historical event in Deaf education that removed sign language from the classroom. This event took place from September 6-11 in 1880 – 130 years ago today.

In Milan, Italy there was a convention in which many Hearing educators and 1 Deaf person convened. They discussed and debated and then voted. The vote was in favor of removing and banning natural signed languages in favor of oral / aural methods – Oralism ONLY. This declaration had a profound and far-reaching impact on Deaf children’s education and upbringing. The lights went out on their education in natural signed languages. Their hands were silenced – speech and listening ruled the day.

Families struggled with communication – there was a disconnect and a chasm of understanding even amongst peers. Looking in ward, there was a loss of identity and an absence of feeling centered. One was always off kilter. This has been our enduring experience for the past 130 years. We have lived this through and through for the past 130 years.

FINALLY this past summer at the ICED (International Congress on the Education of the Deaf) people convened and discussed the matter concluding that Milan 1880 was WRONG – the removal and banning of natural signed languages from Deaf education was truly wrong so they issued a proclamation to the world of their sincere regret for that unjust past declaration in favor of Oralism and official removed those past erroneous resolutions. They also declared that hence forth natural signed languages should be included in Deaf education across the globe. When a Deaf child is born they have a natural right to be exposed to a natural signed language in educational, social, family settings and this can take place between Deaf and Hearing people ensuring global citizenship. This will positive influence their lives – their education will soar, their socialization with soar, their center will be found and rooted to be whole and complete as an inalienable right hence forth.

Text quote:

We learn ASL

We learn through ASL

We learn about ASL

“Forbidding Deaf children to learn/acquire sign language is a crime against humanity”

- Lawrence R Fleischer

Now with this new accord for the future in which natural signed language is recognized, we need you Deaf people and members of our community to send out our energy and pull up our sleeves so that our central core is strengthened and grows. We bring it forth to share with Deaf children –via going to schools, Deaf clubs, Deaf social events – meeting Deaf and Hearing parents so they know that natural signed language is truly a language and a beautiful one at that. We need to get this message out and a ripple effect to take place.

We need you, YOU, to do your part. To core being – I am Deaf and I am Human and I am ASL. This will be spread outward and impact a positive CHANGE. We can then come together as a collective community – our international comm-unity – this is a new beginning.

Really I kiss-fist this Deaf artwork behind me here (indicates the artwork behind her). It relates to what we are discussing here – natural signed languages are really a remarkable gift to Hearing and Deaf people – Hearing babies, Deaf babies… All of us.

Why? Envision the world is round and a Deaf and Hearing person go onto an airplane – it takes off and soars – and sky dive. The Deaf person signs, “Wow, whoa – this is so beautiful. Check out the landscape below us – see the sun glistening on the lake and the eagle flying above…” Meanwhile the Hearing person can only gesture “two thumbs up” as the wind and air goes rushing past their face as the plummet downward with a few other basic gestures “clap, clap, disco dance.” They both land on the earth and approach a person at a window. The Deaf skydiver explains about her/his experiences through the window but the Hearing skydiver cannot shout loud enough for the person behind the glass to get the information. They move on to go scuba diving, jumping into the ocean going down under the waves with oxygen tanks and the Deaf person signs, “wow, look at that beautiful puffer fish going by, and that creature, and that and watch out a shark.” S/he looks back and indicates to the Hearing partner – “look out a shark’s coming.” The Hearing person just gives a “thumbs up” and takes out the oxygen tubing to try to speak but then has to put it back and returns to the surface.

Look at that – signing is handy and dandy. Three different spheres make up the whole. Signing can be used on three layers of our one earth (underwater, on the surface, and in the air). Signing is phenomenal, champ – it can be part of your educational experience, your work experience, your whole life. Wow, it is so inspiring – take it out and take a good gander at it – its beautiful and precious.

Hence forth we encourage you to roll up your sleeves and when audism come a calling – just blow it away. When lingucism rears its ugly head – don’t suppress your feelings, let it all out. Speak the truth and take a stand. Show the world how to be audism free. Show what being DEAF truly means to you. Thank you very much. Let Freedom Roll.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AFA's Immediate Release re: ICED's Historic Announcement FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Historic Announcement Rejecting the Exclusion of Sign Language in Deaf Education

On July 19, 2010, the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED) made important history by rejecting their resolutions from 1880 that banned the use of Sign Language in education for Deaf children and promoted the exclusive use of speech and residual hearing called Oralism. ICED also apologized for the detrimental effects that Oralism has had on the Deaf population for 130 years.

The infamous resolutions from 1880 have been described by many scholars and historians as an attempt at linguistic and cultural genocide as as well as a systematic effort to institutionalize audism, the belief that to hear and speak is superior to being Deaf.

The Congress organizers in conjunction with the British Columbia Deaf Community released at the opening ceremony, their “A New Era: Deaf Participation and Collaboration” which:

• Rejected all ICED Milan 1880 Congress resolutions passed that denied the inclusion of Sign Language in educational programs for Deaf students
• acknowledged and sincerely regretted the detrimental effects of the ICED Milan Congress,
• and called upon all Nations to ensure that educational programs for the Deaf accept and respect all languages.

According to the ICED 2010 press release, “The audience, both Deaf and hearing, spontaneously responded with an outpouring of emotion and a standing ovation.”

Audism Free America (AFA) joins with the Deaf community world-wide in the celebration of this historic event and will remain vigilant of the rights of Deaf citizens. AFA is grassroots Deaf activist organization which advocates for Deaf American rights, cultural resurgence, and seeks primarily to challenge the ideological foundations of audism in America.

Additionally, in a letter to Audism Free America (AFA), Claire Anderson, ICED 2010 Chair wrote, “The impact and decision of the Milan (1880) Congress to ban Sign Language from schools for the Deaf has clearly had a marked affect on the education and indeed the lives of Deaf students. We can all agree that this decision was, quite simply, wrong. it polarized the field of Deaf Education, introduced a contra-productive dogma and limited free choices of individuals and organizations. More importantly from a human and social/emotional aspect, it has been devastating for many Deaf people, their families and the Deaf Community.”

The timing of the New Era document is particularly auspicious, as scholars and activists have noted the beginnings of another wave of Oralism severely impacting Deaf babies and children. Excessive marketing and mandating of assistive listening devices are often integral components of educational programs serving Deaf students today. The claims of reliability and effectiveness of devices such as cochlear implants are highly questionable. Cochlear implants and digital hearing technologies are often coupled with Auditory Verbal Therapy (AVT), which effectively prohibits Sign Language. Governments at various levels have begun to utilize developments in genetic engineering and genetic study to implement the diagnosing, documenting, and tracking of Deaf infants genes and family genealogy in a push to deny Deaf people true equality of condition.

The New Era manifesto from ICED 2010 includes an Accord for the Future, which is signed by representatives of ICED, BC Deaf Community, Canadian Association of the Deaf (CAD) and World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), calls upon the Nations of the world to right past wrongs, guarantee all Deaf infants and children a right to natural and fully accessible language, and recognize the full human, cultural and linguistic rights of Deaf people. By actively partnering with Deaf people on this document, ICED reaffirmed its new commitment to ensuring equal involvement of Deaf people in their education and issues affecting future generations of Deaf people.

If you would like more information about Audism Free America please contact

Saturday, July 17, 2010

AFA Letter sent to NTID President Search Committee

(letter AFA sent to the NTID Search committee via their Co-Chairs - Miller and Kurz)

27 February 2010

Greetings to the NTID Presidential Search Committee,

It is our understanding that one of the responsibilities of the NTID Presidential Search Committee will be to put together the position description. As a grassroots community organization, Audism Free America (AFA* hopes that the Committee will solicit feedback from campus community as well as the Deaf community at large in the process of choosing the next NTID President.

Input from the stakeholders about the job description as well as each candidate has proven to be very important for Gallaudet presidential searches, and should also be important for this search.

We request that the Search Committee members remain mindful of the fact that NTID’s 1992 Strategic Plan was to “recognize, study, and use English and American Sign Language as languages of the educational community..” Given this, it would be of utmost importance for the next NTID President to have bilingual skills in ASL and English. Furthermore, a record of commitment to bilingual education needs to be part of the experience that a viable candidate would bring to the position.

In addition, it is clear that the next President needs to be a person willing to take on the challenges of audism, both inside the Institute and as an ambassador to the outside. Thus, the Committee should actively examine each candidate’s history related to advocating against policies and procedures that have systematically discriminated against Deaf individuals. Many of us who work inside Deaf educational institutions have found---despite appearances to the contrary---that audism and hearing privilege are particularly rampant in these settings.

A summary of qualities that potential candidates for the next President of NTID should possess include:

• The ability to communicate effectively in American Sign Language.

• Demonstration of a cultural view of Deaf people rather than a pathological view.

• A commitment to addressing audism and promoting its recognition in social and educational contexts.

• Experience with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students from a variety of cultural backgrounds, with preference that the individual be a member of a disenfranchised group.

• Record of promoting educational programming which uses/values BOTH ASL and English. Knowledge of Bilingual pedagogical strategies. Fluent use of ASL and English, experience in Deaf and hearing cultural contexts.

• knowledge of educational reform movements and a record as an innovative change agent in educational programs with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students.

• a visionary in terms of what NTID could become, with experience in making significant changes in an educational institution.

• A visible and active member of the Deaf community both nationally and internationally—or demonstrates the potential to become such a presence.

We wish you the best in the process of creating a job description, which will solicit the best candidates to serve NTID, and actively work to fulfill the vision of RIT as an innovative Institution.

Let Freedom Roll,


*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

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ICED's Reply to AFA re: Apology and Our Follow Up Response

AFA had requested that ICED formally apologize for the ICED 1880 Milan Congress resolutions proclaiming the pure oral method to be superior and the law of the land in Deaf education. ICED's response is below as is AFA's follow up reply.

July 6, 2010

To Claire Anderson and the 2010 ICED Planning Committee,

Thank you for your letter in acknowledging the concerns expressed by Audism Free America (AFA) regarding the lack of apology that appears to be forthcoming from ICED for the 1880 Milan Conference resolutions.

While we appreciate the uniqueness of the organizational structure of ICED, there is clearly a continuous history of the Congress as your website traces the lineage of the current Congress back to 1878. In addition, those of you who take on the organizing of the conference do so under the banner of ICED. The explanation of the ICED organizational structure dangerously veers toward an attempt to deny accountability.

Nevertheless, we hope that you can look positively at other cases in which governments/organizations/individuals have made public apologies. For example in 2008, the Australian Prime Minister formally apologized to the indigenous Aboriginal peoples. This acknowledgement of the pain and suffering was caused by laws and policies enacted centuries ago. This apology is a first step toward healing. There are countless other precedents of apologies made in recent years:

Jewish People:

In 1994 the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America apologized for the strong anti-Jewish statements made by Martin Luther and the lasting effects his words had on the church and future generations

In 1998 the Roman Catholic Church apologized for its inaction during the Nazi Holocaust.

Native People:

In 1998 the United Church of Canada issued an apology to former students of United Church Indian Residential Schools in regards to cultural assimilation and child abuse.

African-American People:

In 2008 the American Medical Association issued a formal apology for discriminating against black physicians, which did not end until the 1960s

In 2008 and 2009 the US House of Representatives and the US Senate apologized for slavery and Jim Crow injustices.

Deaf People:


Your awareness of some of the devastating effects of the 1880 ICED Resolutions as “wrong” lends support for a formal apology. Scholars have noted that the concept of regret contains no right or wrong associated with the action. In addition, “regret” communicates that the consequences of the resolutions were unintended or something ICED had little control over.

We believe your intentions in working with the BC Deaf Community are good, but you should do the right thing. Be accountable. We are owed an apology.

Let Freedom Roll,


Monday, July 5, 2010

Questions for NAD CEO Finalists from AFA

The National Association of the Deaf has named the following individuals as finalists for the CEO position:

Shane H. Feldman
Howard A. Rosenblum
Darlene Goncz Zangara

During the upcoming NAD Conference, these individuals will have an opportunity to make presentations and answer questions. AFA encourages the finalists to consider addressing the following questions which we feel are of vital importance for those taking on leadership positions:

1. Please share examples of how you have advocated against audism and the strategies you would use as NAD CEO to combat audism.

2. Do you subscribe to a deafness model or a Deafhood model of what it means to be Deaf?

3. Are you aware of the AFA petition calling for an independent and impartial investigation of CI safety? Have you signed it or would you sign it now that you are aware of it?

4. What is your understanding of the neo-oralism/neo-eugenics movement and how do you feel NAD should respond?

5. Are you aware of the DBC petition promoting bilingualism as the birthright of all Deaf children? Have you signed it or would you sign it now that you are aware of it?,com_joomlapetition/Itemid,/catid,1/func,viewcategory/

Friday, July 2, 2010

AFA Vlog: Y E S we can - KUDOS

AFA wishes to recognize and congratulate some recent positive activism:
1. NAD for requesting the term "audism" be put into the dictionary
2. Advocacy Services for Abused Deaf Victims ASADV and Deaf Abused Woman’s Network DAWN for writing letters opposing Cyberbullying within the Deaf community
3. Cochlear Implant Suits:
- Dept of Justice fines Cochlear Americas for kick backs
- FDA fines Advanced Bionics for faulty cochlear implants
4. AB 2072 activism - rallying and lobbying for positive and just legislation
Its wonderful to witness all of this growth as we all work for an audism free America.
Big hand waves to all of you for making a difference

Friday, June 25, 2010

AFA: AG Bell 3 Demands Revisited

Audism Free America would like to remind the AG Bell Association of our past demands and request that they revisit them in light of recent events.

In a July 29, 2009 letter to AFA from the AG Bell Association President Wyant and CEO Graham they stated:
"The AG Bell Board of Directors reviewed AFA's demands and voted unanimously to not meet the demands."

AFA's Three Demands and AG Bell's actions and inactions:
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.

While AG Bell's board unanimously voted to not meet this demands they did mention the AG Bell Association's Position Statement on American Sign Language which acknowledges that some Deaf people do use ASL.

Notice that this position statement was ratified by their board 2 weeks before the Deaf Bilingual Coalition conference and demonstration in Wisconsin in 2008.

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.

AG Bell has NEVER apologized for this offensive letter to Pepsi. AG Bell must refrain from misrepresenting Deaf folks who use ASL as being dependent, isolated and unsuccessful.

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.

The AG Bell Association continues to have very close ties with numerous cochlear implant companies including companies that have been sued for faulty and harmful products or for unethical actions. AG Bell has had Advanced Bionics and Cochlear Americas as their Circle Alliance partners for the past several years. Both companies have had to pay heavy penalties for unethical wrongdoings in the manufacturing and/or marketing of their cochlear implants.

A judge in Idaho has ruled that parents must make their Deaf daughter wear her bilateral implants all her waking hours regardless of whether or not they might be malfunctioning or causing her discomfort. Yet there has been no statement of opposition from the AG Bell association to this order.

AG Bell association has yet to sign the AFA petition calling for an independent and impartial investigating of the physical, psychological, and social impact of cochlear implants on infants, children and adolescents.

In addition to these three demands, we'd also like to know what your thought of the film Audism Unveiled, which we donated to you. Secondly, when will we be getting a copy of the CART transcript of the meeting we had with you and thirdly we'd like to to see you participate in the International Day of Sign Language this September since you now have a position statement on ASL.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

AFA's vlog and letter to ICED re: APOLOGY

Vlog explains AFA's position on the importance of an "apology"
letter to ICED:
Audism Free America (AFA) announces our grave discontent that the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED) refuses to apologize for the ICED resolutions of 1880 at their Milan Congress. This infamous resolution erroneously and unjustly declared "the incontestable superiority of speech" to be the rule of the day in Deaf education resulting in decades of abuse (physical, emotional, social, spiritual, educational, and linguistic) and the removal of Deaf people from the classrooms and boardrooms of Deaf schools across the globe,

In declaring our discontent with ICED's refusal to acknowledge and apologize for their role in the ICED Milan 1880 resolutions we heed ML King Jr's words of "We must have the spiritual audacity to assert our somebodyness."

The resolutions were unjust and have never formally been rescinded or apologized for by ICED. We understand that ICED has been in negotiations with the British Columbia ICED Apology Committee and have reached an agreement for a "new beginning" document which does not include an apology. While we were always puzzled as to why the concept of an apology should have ever been a negotiable matter, we were assured numerous times that an apology was in order and would be forth coming. The latest information we have is that no apology will be granted.

In the spirit of asserting our somebodyness, AFA asserts that the apology is owed to us and those who came before us and will come after us. Now is the time for standing - not for yielding.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu stated "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights."

We are only requesting that which is right, just, and good - and long overdue - an apology for your ICED MIlan 1880 resolutions.

Let Freedom Roll,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

AFA's letter opposing 2072 to the Senate Health Committee

Note: to see AFA's letter sent in April to the Assembly Health Committee opposing 2072 go to

15 June 2010

Greetings Members of the Senate Committee on Health:

Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots Deaf activist group which advocates for our human rights, cultural rights, 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.
On the eve of your deliberations, we urge you to vote against AB2072 because the bill violates the human and linguistic rights of Deaf citizens. Our human rights - at its core - value the promotion and protection of our culture and the right to a fully accessible and natural language. It includes all that encompasses safety, social relationships, emotional and spiritual well-being, community engagement, educational attainment and health. We, Deaf people, should be guaranteed the inalienable right to a language we can acquire naturally and equally - this being American Sign Language (ASL) in the US. It is the 3rd most popular language in the US and we assert that all infants who are Deaf and Hearing are entitled to this language.

We urge you to reconsider about the bill requiring parents to get information from audiologists and other related professionals as it leads to disinformation. Those audiologists and professionals lack the knowledge and expertise in our culture and natural language. Their license is specific for repairing the ears and they work closely with manufacturers of Cochlear Implants. Many of them actively discourage sign language and visual acuity and some cochlear implant companies have been sued and fined for kickbacks, inflating costs at the expense of the government, and faulty products that have harmed children. (see Dept of Justice re: Cochlear Americas and FDA re: Advanced Bionics).

This system of the "specialists" advising parents has resulted in a violation our human and linguistic rights. It has prevented full parental decision making and has not demonstrated equality of condition for their children's future.

The bill must be obliterated!

If the bill is passed, it will contribute to a genocide of our culture and language and the Senate Health Committee will have neglected Deaf children's human rights and linguistic rights - equal access as well as for hearing babies to learn sign langauge for the success of their future. It is an act of audism to vote in favor of this bill because the legislation prioritizes audiologists and other professionals as the main contact for the parents. The bill was initiated by a slew of oral / aural only proponents who work with the assumption that being able to hear and speak is superior to being Deaf and is further evident by the neglect of a requirement that parents meet with ASL specialists and Deaf bilingual / bicultural professionals.

We, AFA, urges you to vote NO to AB2072.

Thank you
Let Freedom Roll

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Letter to Judge Stow (Case number CV 043266)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Honorable Judge Stow.

I have a matter in discussion as it relates to Case number, CV043266. In looking at the case, you have ordered that the plaintiff, (the father) is to force his daughter to wear her cochlear implant devices during all waking hours, despite the minor child's protests and reluctance, expressing her wishes not to wear them. Regardless of this, your ruling states that she must be made to wear them all day, (all waking hours). This is a form of Audism.

The term Audism means the belief that is focused on the attitude that people who hear and speak, or hear and speak better, or have excellent English skills, are superior to others. As it relates to Deaf people and their human rights. This includes the language of American Sign Language, (ASL) and the right to use that language. When a majority group displays attitudes, behaviors, (that are associated with hearing and speaking) approach a minority group, (the Deaf signing community) and takes away their human right as it relates to communication other than speaking, is a form of Audism.

In looking at this as it relates to the ADA, (Americans with Disabilities Act), and an individual's human rights as it relates to one's language preference, the father is Deaf, and uses American Sign Language. The minor Deaf child also uses American Sign Language. This is their preferred method of communication and it is their choice that best suits them. You have ordered that the child must wear cochlear implants in order to accommodate the hearing community regardless of the right to her preferred method of communication. This ruling is a violation of the ADA.

This ruling is unjust and displays inequality. It is biased.

Imagine if you will, that you have an 8-year-old daughter, and your daughter was born without one arm. You have discovered that there is new technology in which a bionic arm can be attached to an individual. The device can connect to nerve endings, sending messages to the brain electronically thus making the arm move. Unfortunately, you and your partner or spouse have separated, and your spouse's doctor goes forward with the procedure, and attaches the bionic arm. Your daughter repeatedly protests and states that she does not want to wear this device because the electronic connections to her nerves are hurting her causing much discomfort, and she continuously removes the bionic arm.
However, a Judge has ordered you to force your daughter to wear the bionic arm. What would you do in this situation? What are your rights? Where is your protection? Your daughter has continuously expressed to you that she does not wish to wear the bionic arm, yet despite her wishes as presented in court, her rights are oppressed. Imagine if this were your daughter?

The proceedings with this case have demonstrated a violation of the ADA, a violation of human rights, and the right to use whatever language an individual chooses. To show this form of neglect to a child's repeated protests and wishes is a form of child abuse.

We believe that you should remove the argument and ruling of the cochlear implant use in this case, and move forward in understanding our human rights as Deaf people in seeking equality and justice in the court of law.

Thank you.

Ruthie Jordan
On behalf of Audism Free America

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cochlear Implant- Audism

AFA discusses about a vlog "Missoula Moanings"
and it is AUDISM clearly. We urge you to recognize how this violates a Deaf child's rights - human and linguistic rights. They forced the child to use cochlear implant while it is clear that the Deaf child does not want to use it. She kept saying " NO NO NO" however they neglected her message and forced her. It shows their actions are, "RAPING OUR SOUL" to get what they wanted. We emphasize that we do not blame parents/grandparents for this because it is from medical system. Sign the petiton to get the answers about CI safety

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

resources on audism and linguicism

In addition to scholarly articles and books like "The Mask of Benevolence: Disabiling the Deaf Community" by Dr. Harlan Lane and the documentary film "Audism Unveiled" by Drs. Ben Bahan, Dirksen Bauman, and Facundo Montenegro - AFA would like you to know of v/blogs covering audism and linguicism. Feel free to email us any v/blog urls we have overlooked.

Listing of vlogs re: AUDISM

Listing of vlogs re: LINGUICISM

AFA Opposes the bill California AB 2072


April 16, 2010

Dear Members of the Assembly Health Committee:

Audism Free America (AFA) is a grassroots Deaf activist group which advocates for our human rights, cultural rights, 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.

AB 2072 violates the human and linguistic rights of Deaf citizens. We, the Deaf community, urge you to reconsider support of this bill. Our human rights at its core, value the promotion and protection of our culture and the right to a fully accessible and natural language. We, Deaf people, should be guaranteed the inalienable right to a language we can acquire naturally and equally - this being American Sign Language (ASL) in the US. It is the 3rd most popular language in the US and we assert that all infants who are Deaf and Hearing are entitled to this language.

However, the AB 2072 bill promotes disinformation which will be shared with parents, educators, and specialists under the guise of "communication options." These communication options are provided by medical professionals and specialists often operating under audist principles. The specialists are audiologists, Audio/Verbal Therapists, Doctors, Cochlear Implant surgeons, Speech therapists, and Hearing professors/researchers and all promote methods, technology, and services that approach the Deaf child as broken and unfit. Many of them actively EXCLUDE American Sign Language as part of the “options” of services they offer. In addition, entrusting "specialists" who have vested monitory interest in pushing for the use of invasive technology to be the agents that instruct the parents on their options is reckless and biased.

All communication programs for Deaf and hard of hearing children should be required to provide BOTH ASL and English. We, Deaf people are automatically "People of the Eye" and our acquisition of language, information and equality comes via having a fully natural and accessible language. ASL has proven to be successful for communication and
language development of BOTH Hearing and Deaf babies. AB 2072 bill is not written in a way that shows mutual respect for ASL—it is written with respect for the multitude of other “communication options” which are all English-based and often actively prohibit the use of ASL. As the bill is currently written, it clearly promotes Audism and Linguicism
(the belief that one language is superior to another - in the bill's case
English over ASL).

If this bill is to pass then you will be sanctioning crimes against humanity by endorsing and institutionalizing severe language deprivation via the Oral / Aural only AVT "options" that actively exclude lipreading, gestures and sign language (see AVT guideline #3 via the AG Bell Academy which certifies "specialists" in this exclusionary practice.) We, AFA, urge you to respect our human rights and understand that the bill is an example of AUDISM. We urge you to decline the bill to prevent the genocide of our culture and language.

Let Freedom Roll,

Friday, April 9, 2010

AFA Urges NAD Wake Up Action!

Greetings NAD,

We, AFA, urge you (NAD) to wake up to the results of your actions. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

(VP Light Flash blinks)

The reason we are vying for your attention to our concerns is that we, as members of the Deaf Community, are disappointed in the weakness of your actions as they pertain to supporting ASL and the human rights of Deaf people.

I would like to begin by reminding you of the history of NAD and the roots upon which it was founded. Long ago, in 1880, during a conference in Milan Italy there was a vote to ban the use of sign language in Deaf education and to reject sign as the natural language of the Deaf. Since that time, for the last 130 years, NAD has been fighting to preserve and to protect our human rights and our right to communicate using sign language. NAD has been fighting for not only our rights, but our value as human beings and our linguistic culture. We have noticed that the size and power of the NAD has diminished and this mission has shifted. NAD has been focusing on the fight for captioning and other disability issues as if this were the purpose of the organization.

What has happened to you, NAD?!? What NAD has become has lost sight of the values that we need from you. Is that NAD's mission? The AG Bell Association states that they have been working with NAD closely. Closely!?! NAD is well-aware that the AG Bell group is a strong A-U-D-I-S-T organization. In fact, AG Bell completely rejects the use of sign language in the Deaf Community; they validate only oral methods of communication. How is it possible that NAD has a close relationship?! NAD allows AG Bell to disregard sign language; they allow them to attempt to eliminate ASL completely. This relationship is in direct contradiction to the founding principles of NAD.
AG Bell has a measly, single sheet position paper that recognized ASL and that was acceptable to NAD? AG Bell has not committed to endorse ASL with their actions in any way! We have noticed that NAD has been meeting with AG Bell on a regular basis, working hard on concessions and as a result, devaluing the rights and language that is supposed to be NAD's mission. All of their support is focused on English, captioning, etc. Do you realize that "support" is a mutual, two way process? A sharing of endorsement and support would require AG Bell to embrace ASL, to join in our celebration, to work to expand the linguistic and cultural right to use ASL. The relationship between AG Bell and NAD is not a sharing of values, there is nothing in this relationship that endorses the core mission of NAD- NOTHING!


We are very disappointed with you NAD! NAD touts that it values ASL as a language and as the center of our Community and Culture; that being DEAF is in fact a human right. NAD, your actions contradict everything you are supposed to support.

NAD has announced that the group supports the elimination of Audism. In fact, since 2006, NAD has made public their campaign to add the word "Audism" to the dictionary, and to give recognition to the oppression that it represents. However, it is now 2010, when will you act? When will Audism be included into the dictionary and given recognition??

NAD has stated that they have a committee to investigate the impact of Cochlear Implants and to publish the pros and cons of their use; including, the psychological, social, educational, family and medical ramifications. When will see ACTION on this commitment? Audism Free America (AFA) has many supporters, including, leaders, professors, authors, researchers, parents, friends, Deaf Community members and a variety of others that have signed almost 1,000 petition lines to endorse this investigation of Cochlear Implants. We did this to show NAD that they have our support, and yet, NAD does not supported us in return??

We as community are READY to give you all the evidence needed to call the FDA to action to formally investigate Cochlear Implants. Cochlear Implants are well-known not to be 100% successful; many deaf people that have tried them have removed them because they fail. Where are the rights of Deaf children, where are their rights to remove or not to use cochlear implants? They have no one to stand up for their rights and are being deeply oppressed. The core of who they are and the natural expression of that core is being held hostage. When will this be addressed?!

NAD, please WAKE UP and CHANGE YOUR ACTIONS related to the core of our Deaf Values, our human and linguistic rights. These rights include the endorsement of the education of our Deaf children. AFA has been getting e-mails from hearing parents who are struggling against the school system for not allowing their children to have ASL interpreters. They are looking for support at the Federal Level, support that NAD is supposed to provide! There are many issues like the ones I mentioned that have created this level of frustration with NAD's current activities. Where is NAD? Where is NAD?? Where???.....

We are very disappointed that NAD has chosen to focus on issues that do not support the identity of who we are as a Deaf Community and what we need from our organization. Don't you realize that if you neglect your roots, they die? The choices you have made to endorse AG Bell, for example, have grown the organization in finances, membership and power. AG Bell has only been around for 100 years, NAD was working to support ASL and Deaf Schools long before AG Bell even existed. And yet, their conference is attended by anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people. Where is the push for NAD? We feel like we are standing outside of a glass window looking in and waiting for NAD to take action; thus far NAD has refused to even let us in the room.

We, Deaf people, are READY to stand up and change for NAD and our Deaf Community; READY to stand up so that America includes ASL in education and recognizes our rights. With the current technological advances providing equal visual access to the phone, the use of Vlogs, blogs, video online, instant messaging, text messaging, etc. we have access to the hearing community and they have access to us. We do not need to be FIXED!

NAD, your organization has been asleep and we are distressed that this downward spiral has been going on too long! It is time to change this trend; it is TIME TO WAKE UP!!!!

We, AFA, urge NAD TO WAKE UP!!!

(VP Light flash blinks!)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AFA's message to Joey McIntyre's Family re: their Deaf infant

To the McIntyre Family:

Congratulations on the birth of your Deaf son Rhys and welcome to the Deaf community. While some people see being deaf as an affliction, many see it as a blessing - an opportunity to be bilingual and bicultural. Please do contact us if we can be of any support or assistance to you in your family's journey of discovering ASL, Deaf culture, bilingualism and biculturalism. Best wishes and again congratulations. Griffin and Rhys are both delightful boys.

Let Freedom Roll,
Audism Free America

Friday, March 19, 2010

AFA message to ICED and BC Deaf Community re: apology

click link to see the video message in ASL

Transcript of video message re: ICED
[AFA Logo]

Audism Free America (AFA) would like to let you know about the ICED (International Congress on the Education of the Deaf) historical event that took place back in 1880 in Milan, Italy that is where people debated which method was better for the future of Deaf education – speech or signing. The outcome was a vote to forbid sign language and to focus exclusively on oral / aural methods resulting in the destruction of our language rights via sign language and the eradication of our D E A F center for over 130 years.

So we along with the British Columbia (BC) Deaf grassroots people confront ICED and demand the overdue apology owed to us for the past injustices caused by the ICED 1880 Milan Congress. Today we make this demand.

We applaud and are impressed by the BC Deaf grassroots group and their efforts. Two thumbs up. In this group’s recent vlog they explained that when they presented the current ICED with their proposed resolutions for an apology, the ICED modified the resolutions to read as an “acknowledgement” only. Shall we yield to this – N O. N O. We Deaf people, including the BC Deaf community, must remain firm. We are owed an apology. Their thinking they can so easily alter this shows that they continue to believe they are superior and adopt a patronizing attitude to us by modifying the document to simply be an “acknowledgement.” No way. We the Deaf community are ready to take a stand on this and demand the apology that is owed to us and that the oralism (oral / aural only) mandate be rescinded.

The BC Deaf Community as you move forward, we do not have any desire to push you out of the way. We value you and thank you. We aim to join along side you for a collective push forward so that ICED will see how Deaf people have experienced oral / aural only methods (Oralism) throughout the years, 130 years to be exact. The result – has Oralism been a success? No.

Now you see the trees in the background here? What do these trees represent? Deaf people who also have their own root systems and depth, which allows them to find their center, grow tall and strong, and form unity and bonds that are universally D E A F. No matter where you may be – in America, Canada, Europe, here or there, you have experienced Oralism. We come together to move forward only to be told to wait. Our spirits will not be dampened. We are ready to continue to push forward to end Oralism.

We are ready to face ICED with you BC Deaf people. AFA is rolling up her sleeves ready to support you BC Deaf people. It’s time for this change. You know for the past 130 years NAD presidents, teachers, leaders, etc have politely approached different dominant groups and individuals like AG Bell, ICED committee, doctors and specialists etc. carefully and gently explaining why oral / aural only approaches have not worked and the value of ASL only to be told, “oh we see. Sorry you feel that way.” And that is all that is said as they continue to take over again and again and swell larger and larger. Meanwhile we are complacent and accepting. The time is DONE for that kind of conduct. Finish. They are WRONG. Oralism must be removed and natural signed languages must be returned to their rightful place in Deaf education.

We Deaf people are ready to take a stand and push, push, push forward to ensure that ICED wakes up and rescinds ICED 1880 Milan resolution. You owe us Deaf people from across the land an apology, an admission of your past error and commitment to removing the oral/aural only mandate. Presently the majority of people on ICED are Hearing. This needs to be rectified so that Deaf people are in the lead and the Hearing and Deaf members can work together recognize and advocate for Deaf people’s language rights and human rights, which includes developing their center just as these trees behind me are rooted and aid us in pushing forward.

It’s time to change things for our future for Deaf children – to allow signing back in the classroom now and forever. Again, to the BC Deaf community we want to confirm we have no desire to push you to the side – we want to affirm your work and express our gratitude and support your efforts. Stay firm as we confront them to demand change. Do not allow them to manipulate or control us. I know you are tough and have courage. You are right. It took courage to confront them and now they must find the courage to apologize and rescind the ICED 1880 Milan Congress resolutions of Oralism. We, AFA, believe in this change.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Notes Summarizing AFAs Meeting with Nancy Bloch (NAD)


In July 2009, AFA representatives met via VP with outgoing NAD CEO Nancy Bloch. The following information is a summary from the minutes of this meeting.

I. Related to AFA mission’s of human and linguistic rights:
We had ask the role that NAD would play in the upcoming International Sign Language Day (ISLD) in September (2009). At the time of our meeting in July, NAD had not yet made any plans for this celebration but was thinking of reviving their “ASL Awesome.” We are unaware of any activity on the part of NAD related to ISLD.
NAD has called for investigation of CI’s in terms of risks and outcomes. This basically calls for public disclosure by manufacturers and makers of CIs. NAD was described as approaching the CI investigation as a ‘legal issue’ whereas they saw AFA’s activities as addressing it as a human rights issue.
Nancy Bloch stated she could not sign AFA’s CI petition either as a representative of NAD nor as an individual. She says as a figurehead of NAD she can never sign a petition. Whether figureheads of various agencies/civil rights groups can sign petitions was a source of contention during the meeting.

II. Related to AFA’s mission of unmasking audism and media misrepresentation
Getting ‘audism’ in the dictionary was mentioned as one of NAD’s priorities, and it was noted that this should be accomplished within the year. AFA asked if there were any way that we could work with NAD to support this effort, but were told it needed to be taken care of by NAD alone.
Nancy Bloch outlined NAD’s history of working with AG Bell: They meet every six weeks with the DHHA: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance coalition of which AG Bell is a member. In dealing with AG Bell Association, NAD/Nancy considers the role of NAD as ‘watch dogs’ rather than complicit in working with AG Bell. She cites IDEA as a ‘success’ of this collaboration. There was some discussion as to the wisdom of sitting down at the table with an audist organization such as AG Bell.

Media misrepresentation is still an important area in which NAD wishes to be active.

NAD has requested a new Commission on the Education of the Deaf study from Congress and asked for support.

Nancy Bloch corrected statements that “NAD recognizes and endorses AFA” as being “recognizes.” NAD “cannot” endorse AFA nor can they publically make any statements regarding ‘working with” AFA.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

AFA: Clarke on Recent Name Change

Greetings our community & allies,

This is very important alert about AUDISM happening on Feburary 22, 2010 from president; Bill Corwin at Clarke School for the Deaf / Oral Education in Northampton, Mass. The president response to Clarke alumni and friends about Clarke on recent name change.

Here's a letter he response:

February 22, 2010

Dear Clarke Alumni and Friends,

As many of you may know, Clarke recently changed its name from Clarke School for
the Deaf / Center for Oral Education to Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.
I appreciate the passion and deep feelings so many of you have for Clarke and I
am writing to address concerns that have been raised by some of you about the
name change, and to share with you some of the reasoning behind the change.

To begin with, I want to state in the strongest possible terms that Clarke is
not seeking to deny anyone's deafness. As the proud parent of two deaf children,
I believe that it is very important for my daughters and all deaf children to
take pride in their identity. I also have the utmost respect for each and every
alumnus of Clarke, regardless of the philosophy of deaf education they each
embrace, and regardless of which communication mode(s) each person chooses for

At the same time, there have been tremendous changes in deaf education in recent
years, and the change in our name reflects this. The children who participate in
the programs at Clarke's five campuses are benefiting from advances in
technology that allow them to use either hearing aids or cochlear implants to
develop listening and spoken language skills. The development of those skills is
at the heart of our mission, and the new name reflects that mission.

We are a very different organization than we were just a decade or so ago. We
are now five campuses, and the majority of the children we serve are under seven
years old and located outside of Northampton. Their families are interested in
Clarke because they want their children to learn to listen and speak, using the
best technology and teaching methods available. In the extensive research we did
about our name and our identity over a two-year period, the message of listening
and speaking was one that was embraced very strongly by a wide range of people,
including alumni and alumni parents.

We debated at great length the removal of the word "Deaf" from the Clarke name.
Among the reasons for doing so was the fact that schools with the words "School
for the Deaf" in their names are increasingly associated with programs that
emphasize signing. Based on the former name of Clarke School for the Deaf,
many people have wrongly assumed that our approach emphasizes signing.

To best attract families of deaf and hard of hearing children who have the
ability to learn to listen and speak, we needed to convey Clarke’s area of
emphasis including the work we do and the approach we use. The primary focus of
the name change was to appeal to the needs of potential and current Clarke
children and their families, now and into the future.

Research we conducted showed that Clarke has been perceived by some as being a
bit behind the times, perhaps because we were viewed as being slower than others
to embrace the idea that cochlear implants would revolutionize deaf education.
Our old name did not help to counter that perception, but we believe that the
new name does.

During our research we noted that several other schools serving deaf and hard of
hearing children have also adopted names with a similar theme. AG Bell has also
recently adopted a major accreditation program focused on Listening and Spoken

We are deeply sorry to anyone who has been offended by the recent name change at
Clarke. It was the furthest thing from our intention. I understand that some
alumni feel that they were not sufficiently included in the process, and I would
like to address that here.

We do have alumni representation on the Clarke Board of Trustees, and as I
mentioned, alumni and alumni parents and many other stakeholders participated in
the research that ultimately led to the name change. However, at the end of that
process, we were wrong in not apprising Clarke’s Alumni Council of the name
change. The Council should have been notified, and they should not be held
responsible in any way for this misstep in the process. I very much regret this
mistake on our part, and plan to work with the Council at their meeting in March
so that we can learn from this experience and move forward together.

One of the recent alumni comments on the CSAC site stated that it seems that
Clarke is no longer the school that most alums grew up in. Similarly, at
Homecoming last fall, during a question and answer session, one of the alumni
asked if I thought that Clarke was going to survive. I responded with a strong
yes, but said that we are likely to look very different from the Clarke that
many alumni have known.

These are times of great change and promise for Clarke and for oral deaf
education in general. They are also times of great economic challenge for
nonprofits everywhere. Clarke must broaden its appeal so that we can serve more
families and strengthen ourselves programmatically and financially. Clarke is
not one campus with four satellite locations; we are an organization with five
equally important campus locations. Northampton is the only campus with school
programs for children beyond a first/second grade level.

We believe that our evolving programs best meet the changing needs of families
who want their children to learn to listen and speak using the latest
technology. In addition to our greater focus on younger children, we are also
now directly serving more children in mainstream settings than ever before.

In closing, I know that many of you think of Clarke as a family. I do as well.
Before joining the Clarke staff, it was clear to me that my daughters'
experiences at Clarke made us part of a very special and unique community. That
community is something that my children, wife and I cherish about Clarke, and
want to help preserve. Each one of you is part of this special community, and
your dedication to and support of Clarke are very important to me and to the

Again, I am heartened by the fact that many of you feel passionately about
Clarke, and I truly appreciate your comments. I hope that we can continue to
dialogue about this and other issues affecting Clarke as the organization moves

Bill Corwin
Clarke Schools

His letter is not acceptable and disinformation about our Deaf people. It is AUDISM!

Please share with others.
Update and VLOG coming soon!!

Let Freedom Roll!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010