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to take a stand on this and demand the apology that is owed to us and that the oralism (oral / aural only) mandate be rescinded.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.