Friday, April 9, 2010

AFA Urges NAD Wake Up Action!

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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!

THIS IS NOT THE VISION THAT NAD REPRESENTS!

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!)