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