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 http://audismfreeamerica.blogspot.com/2010/04/afa-opposes-bill-california-ab-2072_20.html

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