Audism Free America (AFA) contacted the NAD board candidates with questions - see this link
Chris Wagner's answers are below.
AFA thanks Mr. Wagner for his prompt and thorough responses.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to AFA's questions. Below are my responses.
1. Please give us 3 examples of how you have worked to end audism in America
I worked with NAD Board members to request that dictionary companies include audism among their dictionary words, both online and offline (hard copy). The letter that was sent out can be found on the NAD website. We are making progress, and ending audism requires a community effort, by everyone. I have also worked to combat audism in its various forms through individual and collective efforts – through training and presentation efforts, through contacts with advocates and leaders, and through my work with organizations. As President, I am committed to continuing these efforts, by working with the board, headquarters staff, volunteers, members, as well as organizations like AFA and others having the same goals of ending audism and audistic practices.
2. Please identify specifically how can you lead in a way that NAD will improve its image in taking a strong stand in upholding the rights of Deaf citizens to ASL in the face of mounting oral only forces
The NAD, since 1880, has cherished ASL and remains committed to preserving ASL as our linguistic right. In 2008, the NAD Board reaffirmed that acquisition and usage of ASL as a language from birth is a human right – and that deaf and hard of hearing infants should be given the opportunity to acquire and develop proficiency in ASL as early as possible.
As President, I both cherish ASL and want to see it continue to be championed as our language as well as preserved. I am committed to investing needed resources to increase awareness and education about the importance of ASL in our Deaf community as well as within society at large. Nothing should diminish the focus of NAD on ASL as a core value – ASL is the heart of our community, tied to representation of our own interests and needs in our own natural language. We must find ways to promote ASL acquisition and usage across the nation – this includes working closely with ASLTA, AFA and others– so that we can see more widespread acceptance of and respect for ASL as the language of the American Deaf community.
3. Please share how you envision AFA and NAD working together in the future
As President, I want to see the NAD strengthen its collaboration with organizations, including AFA to expand awareness and education to eliminate audism and promote ASL as our civil, human and linguistic right. This includes our efforts to see U.S. Senate ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), in line with other countries across the globe
4. Please explain how the NAD election process can be changes to include direct voting by its membership
I envision that members and interested persons would work closely with their organizations to push for a major reform of NAD’s governance structure, by changing the NAD Bylaws. This way we can come up with a more participatory system where all members – individuals, State Associations, Affiliate Organizations, and other groups can be more involved in and vote as part of the priority-setting process at every biennial NAD conference, including positions on the NAD Board of Directors and its committees.