Thursday, December 20, 2007

DBC's rebuttal points to AG Bell's letter

(Note: Below is not exactly a transcript but close enough.)

Read below a letter sent to Chapter Members of A.G. Bell in Indiana with a memo from A.G. Bell. Also, a response (rebuttal) from Deaf Bilingual Coalition. The National DBC core committee worked together and developed these rebuttal points.

From: Naomi Horton []

Dear Chapter Members:

I have attached (and posted below) a Memo from AG Bell national regarding a protest by the Deaf Bilingual Coalition of our conference this Friday.

The Coalition says they are protesting because:

" Deaf Infants and Children are being denied access to American Sign Language at an alarming rate. Alexander Graham Bell Organization supports Auditory Verbal Therapy Programs all around the United States promoting listening and speech without the use of sign language. "

Please direct questions about the protest to

By the way, today is your last chance to register for this year's 25th Annual Education Conference.

Please visit our website for detailed information.

Please plan to attend our Annual Members' Meeting, we will begin immediately following the special session (~4:15pm in Stewart Center Room 322). If you cannot attend please return the attached Volunteer Opportunities document.

The Wine and Cheese Reception is from 4:30 - 6:00pm in the Purdue Memorial Union - W. Faculty Lounge.

If you are NOT attending the conference, but would like to join us just for the reception, please complete the attached paper registration form by Tuesday, Nov. 27th at 5pm.

November 26, 2007

To: Indiana AG Bell Chapter Leadership
Fr: Catherine Murphy, AG Bell Director of Communications
Re: Media Talking Points for Potential Upcoming Conference Protest

In response to a rumor of a potential protest situation at your upcoming state conference, I've put together some general action items on managing any protesters should they arrive as well as talking points and guidance in the hopes this will assist with any response you may have to give to members of the media (in case any actually come to cover the event).

The Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC) came into existence to ensure that families of Deaf babies & children succeed and thrive. ASL and accessible English have provided and continue to provide the best guarantee to good education, literacy, happiness, and for families of Deaf babies & children to thrive.

DBC is committed to raising public awareness about the significance of American Sign Language, which is the key in improving education and literacy for ALL Deaf babies and children.

We are responding to AG Bell’s memorandum to the Indiana AG Bell Chapter point-by-point.

1. AG Bell:

In response to a rumor of a potential protest situation at your upcoming state conference, I've put together some general action items on managing any protesters should they arrive as well as talking points and guidance in the hopes this will assist with any response you may have to give to members of the media (in case any actually come to cover the event).

1. DBC:

DBC campaigned at AG Bell conferences in Virginia (July 2007) and Colorado (September 2007). We were peaceful throughout both campaigns.

We had good working relations with local police. Both Virginia and Colorado campaigns were apprised by local police and DBC followed all guidelines established by the local police.

DBC will continue to remain peaceful throughout all current and future campaigns, and we ask that AG Bell, instead of attempting to “manage” us, to engage in real dialogue about supporting families of Deaf babies.

2. AG Bell:

Facility Security. First and foremost, you should contact the security office at the facility where you will be having your event and inform them that you are expecting protester at your event. They should be informed that the protesters are deaf and will require interpreters in case they need to communicate with the protesters. Most facility security offices have a standard procedure for these types of events. If there is aggressive action, i.e., the protester attempt to enter your conference, AG Bell should not confront the protesters but allow for security to handle the situation. If needed, they will contact local police (local police had to be contacted
twice at the Colorado conference).

2. DBC:

DBC has contacted the police for the Indiana campaign, in the interest of following all appropriate guidelines. Again, DBC will remain peaceful throughout the weekend.

3. AG Bell:
Protester Relations. Any attempt by volunteers or conference attendees to engage in conversation or debate issues with protesters should be strongly discouraged. It will be a futile effort and if anything might stir up emotions. AG Bell's approach should first and foremost be providing a safe, peaceful environment for conference attendees. If protesters attempt to
enter into the conference meeting area or try to attend any conference-related event, notify security immediately and let them handle the situation.

3. DBC:

DBC is disappointed in AG Bell’s continued unwillingness to engage in meaningful dialogue about supporting families. DBC is ready to talk with anyone about supporting families of Deaf babies.

4. AG Bell:

Media Messages. DBC will try to "pitch" local media to cover their protest. The good news is the media will also want to get your side of the story as well. Protesters will try to say to the media that AG Bell is "anti-ASL" and that we deprive deaf and hard of hearing infants and young children of their natural language. In response, AG Bell Chapter leadership has the opportunity to promote the issue of deafness among young children, the continued need for early detection and intervention, and spoken language as a choice for parents.

4. DBC:

DBC would like to clarify that it is the AG Bell Association who has proclaimed that:

  • families should be coached to not use sign language or even lipreading with their Deaf child (Auditory-Verbal Therapy Principle #3)
  • families should use “listening” in all aspects of the Deaf child’s life (AVT Principles #5 & 6)
  • families would be provided with financial assistance from AG Bell’s Children’s Legal Advocacy (CLA) program should they desire to bring lawsuits against school programs that use ASL-based instruction

The DBC does not subscribe to AG Bell’s “one-approach-only” position. The best guarantee for Deaf babies to develop literacy, English and other languages, speech, and for families to bond, is through American Sign Language (ASL).

5. AG Bell’s talking points:
AG Bell's messages in response should include:

a. AG Bell:
Hearing loss affects 12,000 children born in the United State each year, making it one of the most common birth defects.

a. DBC:
This is a matter of subjectivity. AG Bell’s insistence on using the label, “hearing loss/birth defect” stems from the viewpoint of Deaf babies as defective and disabled.

DBC views the birth of Deaf babies as a gift.

DBC is concerned that using the “hearing loss/birth defect” term is creating a stigma and negativity, preventing people to embrace Deaf babies. DBC hopes that AG Bell will eventually realize that embracing Deaf babies will enable them to grow and prosper and for families to thrive.

b. AG Bell:
Ninety-five percent of children with hearing loss are born into families where one or both parents are hearing.

b. DBC:
DBC is here to ensure that families of Deaf babies are supported. ASL is the best guarantee for families to bond, for their babies to achieve language and literacy.

c. AG Bell:.
Today, about 95% of babies are screened for hearing loss at birth.

c. DBC:
Since we have an advantage with early detection, we should all invest our energies in ensuring that Deaf babies succeed in the best and research-backed way. The critical language learning period is indeed an invaluable time for Deaf babies to develop language and literacy. That happens best through ASL as a first language foundation.

ASL guarantees 100% accessibility to success. Once again, DBC does not agree with AG Bell’s “one-approach-only” position.

Hearing infants benefit from sign language, which accelerates their English development and increases their IQ points. DBC emphasizes this benefit for Deaf infants as well. (,

Families of Deaf babies need unfiltered access to the truth.

d. AG Bell:
The most critical period for learning language is from birth to age 3;
early identification and intervention (before 6 months of age) combined with
appropriate amplification can enable a child with hearing loss to develop
language skills comparable to their hearing peers.

d. DBC:
Language, literacy, and success have been achieved more effectively when ASL is used during the critical period.

e. AG Bell:
Over the past 10 years, universal hearing screening (at birth) and
advances in hearing aids and cochlear implants have dramatically increased
the opportunity that children with hearing loss can learn and use spoken

e. DBC:
DBC prefers guarantees over “opportunities”. Using ASL guarantees 100 percent accessibility to language, literacy, world knowledge, and communication.

f. AG Bell:
AG Bell recognizes there are many choices available to parents when
their child is diagnosed with a hearing loss, including spoken language,
sign language and total communication.

f. DBC:
AG Bell may claim that they recognize choices however, the information shared has never been balanced. The clinical parts (the ear and the mouth) of the Deaf child are only focused on and emphasized upon. DBC is interested in the whole-child approach, with healthy families supporting the Deaf child.

g. AG Bell:
AG Bell supports informed choice and serves as a resource for those
parents who specifically choose spoken language education for their deaf or
hard of hearing children.

g. DBC:
There is no strong evidence that AG Bell promotes informed choice. The AG Bell website shows that all of their workshops, presentations, articles, and so forth are focused on speech and listening. A complete, informed choice would include ASL.

h. AG Bell:
AG Bell does not "prohibit" or is not "against" the use of sign language if parents decide that is the best course of action for their child. AG Bell simply supports those who choose the use of spoken language for their child by serving as a resource for those families.

h. DBC:
Please refer back to #4 and the Auditory-Verbal Therapy Principles.

For the participants in the DBC Indiana Rally and the DBC Colorado Rally, the National DBC wishes to extend their gratitude for their leadership and excellent organization. Thank you!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Right of the Deaf Child to Grow Up Bilingual


Hi! I would like to share about the article written by Francois Grosjean who provided his perspective by researching Deaf children. The article mentioned that ASL should be the primary language of a Deaf child. Despite the use of various technological aids ( i.e. cochlear implants), sign language is mandatory period. Why? I will explain the reasons for you to think about it.

When hearing babies are born, they normally acquire language in the very first years of life that their parents communicate with them and that babies receive information by listening to surrounding sound environment such as T.V., radio, people having conversations, etc. Even some parents sign with their hearing babies making it more accessible. “Language in turn is an important means of establishing and solidifying social and personal ties between the child and his/her parents. What is true of the hearing child must also become true of the Deaf child.”

It is crucial for Deaf children to see a visual, 100 percent accessible, natural signed language that they are able to completely comprehend the information as they grow up.

But is this really happening for all Deaf children? Unfortunately, no. Why? Organizations like AG Bell, AVT (Auditory Verbal Therapy), etc. think it is not necessary to include ASL but focus on listening and speaking ONLY. That only approach HURTS! I will explain to you why.

First of all, we don’t know for sure if a Deaf baby will grasp information completely through auditory. All cochlear implant users don’t pick up the information in the same way. We know that some hearing aid users have developed strong listening skills and some of them don’t at all in spite of having the same decibel loss. Too often, people assume by exposing one language (oral) would do just fine until the moment they realize that this approach did not work. So what happens to that child? “He or she falls BEHIND in his/her development, be it linguistic, cognitive, social, or personal.” It becomes TOO LATE!

This issue is disturbing to DBC that this oral only approach is GAMBLING the Deaf child’s life away from academic development, social development, healthy emotional development, etc. We need to advocate more strongly on having both languages, ASL and English, for all Deaf children.

The responsibility, the duty and the goal of DBC are to make sure that ALL Deaf babies from the start have access to natural sign language that is acquired naturally as much as possible where two-way communication takes place. For a Deaf child to bridge to English (spoken English and/or written English), the most important part for academic success and future professional achievements is to master written English. Once a Deaf child has the ability to write well, he/she can do anything!

By using one language (oral) approach and excluding ASL with those who use listening assistive devices, is it a right way? No! We know that obviously oralism involves RISK! BET! GAMBLE!

Having the ability to develop cognitive/personal skills will be minimized when using oral only approach. Why limit the Deaf child’s ability? He or she would have developed much more advanced in these areas (linguistic, cognitive, social and personal). Oral approach with most Deaf children is not perceived as communicating in a two-way street in a natural way. Research states that for a Deaf child to use oral only approach impedes communication and that the daunting effort to develop speech skills is consumed rather than focusing on developing cognitive skills. When using ASL, “it allows the young Deaf child and his/her parents to communicate early, and fully, on the condition that they acquire it quickly.” ASL play an important role in the Deaf child’s cognitive and social development and it will help him/her acquire knowledge about the world. They can express about anything that is much easier and clearer for them to communicate.

Hearing parents can learn signs and they need to get more support. What DBC wants to see happening out there is the establishment of ASL Therapy Centers. We don’t even have one here in America but we always have numerous speech therapy centers even hotline phone numbers where immediate attention can be given. More fund is needed to establish such centers where support to facilitate hearing parents’ signing skills will be much more possible in the future.

In the meantime, DBC has been sharing an important message that every Deaf baby has the right to sign. Why is this so important? There are numerous benefits and opportunities using ASL when a Deaf child grows up. In this case, opportunities are more of GUARANTEES.


Friday, November 30, 2007

DBC backs Indiana Rally

Part I:

DBC has been supporting the organizers of the Indiana Deaf community by preparing the flyer (see below), talking points, etc. The organizers have prepared their signs, contacted with the local police to follow guidelines and much more. Hands wave to these wonderful Indiana fellows!!

Here is a video clip by Jill Lestina explaining about the rally in support of ASL acquisition for Deaf Babies and Children during "The Indiana Conference on Listening and Spoken Language" at PU on Friday & Saturday, Nov. 30 - Dec 1, from 10am - 4pm.

Why? Deaf Infants and Children are being denied access to ASL at an alarming rate. Alexander Graham Bell Organization supports Auditory Verbal Therapy Programs all around the USA promoting listening and speech without the use of sign language. Please view the video explaining more about the background.

Where: Purdue University, Stewart Center West (adjacent to Grant Street Garage)

Meet at the Indianapolis Deaf Club at 8:30am on Friday and Saturday mornings or at Purdue in front of Stewart Center West at 10:00am.

Contact Person: Beatrice Pfaff at (Please contact Bea to let her know you will be joining this rally and for more details.)

Part II:

This is another video message from Jill Lestina sharing more details and procedures about the the rally.


Hi, I'm here to keep communication open with you all. This message is for those rally supporters who are thinking about going to Purdue University for the Indiana DBC rally this Friday and Saturday. I want to share with you all that I have been in communication with the police. The police have shared their communication with me regarding the planned rally. I want to share what was communicated to me to make sure we are all on the same page so that there will not be any misunderstandings. Purdue itself is a public university and Stewart Center, where we will go for the rally, is also a public place. We can enter the building, we can be in the hallway, we can mingle in the lobby and we also can be on the sidewalk outside of the building. What is important is that we do not block the doors to the building, we have to let people walk in and out of the door freely. We cannot block the hallway, we have to let the people walk freely in the halls. We cannot go near where the registration table for "Hear Indiana Conference", we need to stay back from that area. Also Purdue has other activities and events on campus where students coagulate, we cannot disrupt these events and activities on campus. We need to respect these activities and events occurring on campus.

Remember our purpose to go to the rally is to support ASL for Deaf babies. We are not there to protest or complain. For those of you who will go to the rally, please be friendly, smile, stay positive, keep the peace and be respectful to everyone. I want to mention a word often mentioned in statements by some people which have labeled us as "protestors", I want to be clear in informing the public that we are not protestors. We are supporters.

DBC, Deaf Bilingual Coalition, has a purpose and that is to inform, educate, and raise public awareness. ASL is truly important. ASL improves education and literacy for all deaf babies and children. DBC wants to make sure that families who have deaf children and babies are able to succeed and grow. It is true that ASL provides the best guarantee of good education, literacy and happiness for all families, deaf babies and children.

The goal for us at the rally is to keep an open dialogue and to give support to families that have deaf children and babies. We want to raise awareness about AGB's oral training method which is called AVT, Auditory Verbal Training, AGB's principles which is outlined in their website, #3 which states that "families should train and not use sign language or lipreading..." and #5 and #6 which states "families should use listening skills at all times in their child's life....". Also AGB provides assistance by giving funds to families who files a lawsuit against schools that promote ASL education. It's called "Children Legal Advocacy Program". DBC does not agree with AGB's approach.

The BEST guarantee for deaf babies to succeed and improve their literacy skills, education, English skills, learning other languages, speech, family relations, etc. is ASL.

DBC is concerned that AGB has labeled us as "hearing loss" which causes nothing but stigma and negative view of us which prevents people from embracing deaf babies. DBC hopes that AGB will understand our concern, be more aware of, and embrace deaf babies so that families can grow, succeed and be happy.

Babies between the age of 0-5 years old are in the most critical period for language learning. ASL is guaranteed, 100%, for access to success!

DBC does not agree with AGB's "one way approach" which rejects ASL.

As most of you are aware, hearing parents are teaching their hearing babies, "Baby Signs". Research have shown that those babies have improved their English development, which shows that ASL is important and critical for deaf babies as well.

DBC is interested in the deaf child's "whole, healthy family approach".

So, the purpose for us to attend the rally is to make sure there is open dialogue to show the truth. The truth is that ASL is definitely "Success for Life".

View this link for a larger view of the flyer or click on the flyer below to download:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

DC Examiner Published a Report on Jenny Botero

Press Release

Thursday, October 18, 2007, 8:44 am Eastern Time

The DC Examiner has published an article today quoting Barbara DiGiovanni and giving a detailed report of the infamous incident which occurred at a Marriott hotel last July involving the suppression of free speech rights of members of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition. The Marriott Corporation failed to mention in their response that the police advised Barbara DiGiovanni that a civil suit was one option she could pursue.

Click on this link to download a PDF version of the full newspaper page and newspaper clipping:

Here is the article from today's "Yeas & Nays" column in the DC Examiner:

Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin cover people, power and politics in the beltway. Want to comment? Got a juicy tip? Send an email to dish the dirt, chew the fat and wag the tongue

Yeas & Nays

Some say new W.H. housekeeper has dirty laundry of her own

October 18, 2007, 1:49 AM

by Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin

Congratulations are in store for Jenny Botero, who's leaving her
position as Marriott International's head of cleaning operations to
become the White House's new executive housekeeper. The move was first
reported in Wednesday's Washington Post.

But one group isn't too impressed with the White House's hiring of Botero: The Deaf Bilingual Coalition, which "promotes the basic human right of all deaf infants and young children to have access to language and cognitive development through American Sign Language."

In July, the coalition headed to the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington to distribute fliers criticizing the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Convention, which was taking place inside (the DBC stresses American Sign Language as a primary form of communication, whereas the AGB Association does not).

The coalition later described its take on events on its blog: "AG Bell convention site coordinator/manager Botero snatched the fliers from Brianna DiGiovanni, Barbara DiGiovanni's 8-year-old deaf daughter, and in the process, harmed her. Brianna had scratches on her hand where the AG Bell coordinator/manager snatched the fliers from. ... Brianna was briefly traumatized by this unprovoked assault. AG Bell coordinator/manager Botero then added insult to injury by ripping the fliers in half. Why would anybody do that to a 8-year-old child?" (For the record: Botero was not a coordinator of the event, but simply a resident manager of the Crystal Gateway Marriott at the time.)

The video of the confrontation does not include footage of Botero with Brianna or ripping up fliers, but it does show Botero approaching protester Raychelle Harris outside the hotel and attempting to snatch Harris' fliers before storming away. Harris later wrote on the DBC's blog, "I mean, she might approach hearing protesters and talk to them. But would she actually grab onto fliers in an attempt to
confiscate them?"

The 8-year-old child also wrote that she was "shocked," "scared" and physically "hurt" by Botero's treatment of her. Upon hearing the news of Botero's new White House gig, Brianna's mother, Barbara, told Yeas & Nays that she didn't think Botero was "competent enough to be employed at the White House because of her historic action of suppressing our freedom of speech."

But Marriott stands by its gal. "We're very aware of that incident," a representative said. "Jenny Botero certainly did not harm anyone at all, and police authorities involved decided no action was required."

The White House told us that, as a standard policy, it does not comment on personnel issues.

LINK TO ARTICLE (Click on link, then scroll down to make comments):

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

DBC At ASL Expo in Florida video clip

The Deaf Bilingual Coalition had a fabulous time this past Saturday, October 13th, at the ASL Exp in Kissimmee, Florida. DBC was able to establish networking and met so many wonderful people. It was a huge success. The people of Florida are enthusiastic and motivated to help DBC with the mission of ensuring all Deaf babies and children have a right to access language from the state through ASL. Thank you, Florida!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


We had an extremely successful trip to the ASL Expo in Kissimmee, Fla.

Our DBC team consisted of David Reynolds from Fremont, CA, Stephen Hardy from Gainsville, Maria Dollhopf from St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Carl Chapman from Orlando, and myself from Ft. Myers. The team was extremely skilled in presenting the mission of DBC, the meaning of bilingual, and how we all can work together person by person...state by state... to be progressive activist to ensure that all Deaf babies and children have a right to American Sign Language and access to it from birth.

We met so many wonderful people from Florida including members of the Florida Association of the Deaf, Chris Wagner from NAD, and the organizers of the Deaf Expo whose mission to create on-going exposure for promotion of American Sign Language We were able to network with these individuals along with many other advocates for the State of Florida. We collected over 250 names and email address of people who are interested in helping whenever and wherever they are needed and interested in the work that DBC is doing.

Our day ended and we were all very exhausted but very inspired by how enthusiastic people are, not only here in Florida, but also around the USA and the world about the mission of DBC. Here are some pictures of the ASL Expo.

by Tami Hossler

Monday, September 24, 2007

The DBC's flyer and plans on International Day of Sign Languages

Here you will see a flyer that you can post it in public places or pass it around in your community. It is a good way to spread more awareness about the benefits of using signs and for people to gain more understanding about the celebration of the International Day of Sign Languages.

Friends of DBC will participate in the following events:

  • Movie Showing at California School for the Deaf, Fremont
  • Colorado Pre-Rally (September 26th) at Rocky Mountain Deaf School, Cherry Creek Hotel and Rally on Sept. 28th and 29th
  • Rally/March on Saturday at RIT Field House
  • Minnesota Deaf Community March
  • Indiana Deaf Community March
  • Deaf Hope's Tea Party at Castro Valley, CA
  • ASL film WRONG GAME by Mark Wood sponsored by NorCal Center
  • Deaf Celebration Day at Summit Place Mall in Michigan
  • Deaf Awareness Day at San Diego, CA (SD Chapter of California Association of the Deaf and San Diego chapter of American Sign Language Teachers Association)
  • International Deaf and Sign Languages Day march in Salem, Oregon
  • Celebrate ASL at Gallaudet University led by the National Association of the Deaf and the ASL and Deaf Studies Department.
  • And much more as listed on NAD site.
Kudos to NAD to coordinate this special event here in Deaf America! Information about NAD's involvement is explained by DBC's friend, Raychelle at her site.

Please feel free to add your plans to celebrate and don't forget to pass out the flyer. Remember it is for the sake of Deaf babies!

Have a splendid time!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Welcome to our Deaf Bilingual Coalition Temporary Website


Hello everyone,

This is a temporary website to keep you currently posted about the progress made by the Deaf Bilingual Coalition (DBC).

Please feel free to ask us questions as we are now working on developing organizational system, resources and materials, mission statement and more.

This is just revised as of August 12, 2007

Mission (draft):

The Deaf Bilingual Coalition promotes the basic human right of all deaf infants and young children to have access to language and cognitive development through American Sign Language (ASL).

Purpose (draft):

The main purpose of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition is to emphasize the importance of the social, emotional, linguistic, and cognitive aspects of ASL pertaining to early visual language acquisition for all deaf infants and young children. The secondary purpose is to make the general public aware of the prevalence of misconceptions and misinformation that devalues ASL.

Goals (draft):

DBC is a community of deaf and hearing people whose goals are to promote language acquisition, social justice, and quality education through the awareness of ASL and its excellence in cultivating the critical intellect of deaf infants and young deaf children. The Deaf Bilingual Coalition will work to inform parents of deaf children, guardians, teachers of the deaf, doctors, audiologists, government officials, businesses, and other organizations on the importance of ASL in early language acquisition for all deaf infants and young deaf children. DBC will work to spread awareness of the research that shows that ASL does make significant contribution to the development of literacy skills in both languages, ASL and English. And lastly, DBC will work in collaboration with others to promote the respect and understanding of ASL.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

#7 Wrap Up at the AG Bell Conference Protest

Leaders summarized its goals and purpose of the Deaf Bilingual Coalition.

Again, thanks a zillion to Ruthie Jordan for her hard work with filming and editing!

#6 The Participants' Testimonies about AG Bell

See what the participants got to say during the AG Bell conference Protest.

Kudos to Ruthie Jordan for filming and editing!

#5 Children in the AG Bell Conference Protest

You will see different children, both deaf and hearing, making comments during the AG Bell Conference Protest.

Play Quicktime

Thanks to Ruthie Jordan for her filming and editing work!

#4 People's Reaction when receiving the flyer at AG Bell Conference Protest

This video clip will show you how people reacted when the demonstrators passed out the flyer at AG Bell Conference.

Link to flyer

Much appreciation to Ruthie Jordan for her filming and editing work.

#3 AG Bell Protest: Day One: A Deaf Child Harmed

From the Deaf Bilingual Coalition:

After today's (July 27th) commotion (Crystal Gateway Marriott manager Jenny Botero's unprovoked attack on us) at the AG Bell convention, we debriefed each other and made more discoveries to today's attack.

AG Bell convention site coordinator/manager Botero snatched the flyers from Brianna DiGi, Barb DiGi's 8-year-old Deaf daughter, and in the process, harmed her. Brianna had scratches on her hand where the AG Bell coordinator/manager snatched the flyers from.

Yes, AG Bell coordinator/manager Botero abruptly snatched the flyers from a 8-year-old child and scratched her. Brianna was briefly traumatized by this unprovoked assault.

AG Bell coordinator/manager Botero then added insult to injury by ripping the flyers in half. Why would anybody do that to a 8-year-old child?

Brianna was OUTSIDE the hotel on a public sidewalk, and she was handing flyers to people LEAVING the hotel for lunch.

Before we go on, we assure you that Brianna is now OK and she retold her experience on video.

The video also includes evidence of AG Bell coordinator/manager Botero struggling with Raychelle Harris, who was peacefully handing out flyers and raising social awareness. See for yourself.

Is it acceptable to physically harm and traumatize an innocent 8-year-old Deaf child who was outside the hotel and not provoking anybody?

Tomorrow we continue our campaign 9 AM-approximately 2 PM. We stand ready to talk w/ media and raise awareness. We also will remain PEACEFUL and hope that AG Bell coordinator/manager Jenny Botero does not attack Brianna or us again. Again, we are to remain PEACEFUL and continue raising awareness of Deaf children's and their families' plight.

Thank you.
Deaf Bilingual Coalition

This transcript was composed by two people, Jenny Cantrell and Brian Riley who graciously offered their transcription services.

((Footage of Raychelle Harris being accosted by the hotel manager))


We’re outside!… (after the manager leaves) whoa.


We were outside the hotel and I could pass out our flyers. Hey, it’s a free country, right? No problem there. I was outside and conference attendees passed me on both sides as they were leaving the building. I passed out the flyer with a smile on my face and people took the flyers, seeming to accept them just fine. I kept passing them out as people walked out past me and it was peaceful. Suddenly, much to my shock, the manager was in my face, a woman with shoulder-length hair, approached me and seized my flyers. It happened so fast. She forcefully grabbed the flyer. I was holding them as she tried to pull them out of my hands. She was trying to speak to me while tugging and yanking on the flyers. She suddenly let go and walked away. WHOA. I, stunned, couldn’t help but WONDER… would she do this to hearing protesters? I mean, she might approach hearing protesters and talk to them. But would she actually grab onto flyers in an attempt to confiscate them? Would she rip them, like she actually did to someone else?


I was walking outside and I looked over and noticed something happening — I saw Raychelle’s tussle with the security guard, the very same security guard, um, manager, named Jenny. After the struggle ended, I told my daughter to come along with me to the sidewalk area, because I remembered very clearly that this was specifically where we were permitted to distribute flyers. We, happily, were right by the bus area where conference attendees were lined up to board. We seized the opportunity to pass our flyers out to the people in line. My daughter and I were passing out flyers peacefully. Everything seemed to be going fine. But then wouldn’t you know it? All of a sudden, the woman came up to us the minute she saw us, Jenny I mean, and GRABBED the flyers from my daughter’s hands. My eyes flew to the manager. She then snatched the flyers from mine and I was so confused and stunned. This was totally unexpected and it happened so fast. She just came up from behind and yanked them from us. Bewildered, I said, “Wait, what are you doing? What are we doing wrong? We’re here on the sidewalk area.” She said, “No, this is my property! You all just get out! You’re not allowed!” And the she began ripping up all our flyers! I couldn’t believe what was happening. I just felt that she completely shut us out. There was no attempt to discuss it with me or try to initiate a dialogue. NONE. She totally jumped the gun by snatching the flyers from my daughter, confusing her and me too. Then, as we were still reeling from what had just happened, she just up and left without finishing the discussion. She walked away like this very angry woman, just walking around like that. You can see how crazed she looks on the video. That’s evidence.

I pondered the recent events. Later on, yes, I was still stunned. I talked it over with my daughter to make sure she was all right. We discussed feelings at length, and she shared that she was stunned and afraid. This went on for a while. Some time passed after that discussion. But it wasn’t until only one hour ago that she finally shared something, y’know, during quiet time, just the two of us bonding and sharing. My daughter told me, “That woman scratched my hand.” I was like WHAT??? A SCRATCH? If I had known this in the first place, I would have reacted much differently at the time. With the knowledge that she TOUCHED her, I became furious, unhappy, and heartbroken. It grieved me to think of what that woman did to my daughter. What will my daughter think? Will she hate this hotel and hearing people because one treated her this way? This was so completely unnecessary. She should have approached me first in a calm manner and talked it over with me, not simply grab and yank the flyers out of our hands. I was actually following their policies! This just threw me off and she was trying to be mean and squash us. When my daughter told me all this, I put my own feelings on hold and focused on supporting her. I’m feeling down and I’m grieving. These feelings will fade with time, but at the same time, I will do something! I will have to. I’ll write letters, tell others my story, let it out. And all of you can add your own contributions to the effort. The process will gain momentum. What right do they have to do that? Scratch into her hand like that? Is that right for them to do that? No!


Today I was at the AG Bell convention. We were in a group, passing out flyers to people. Everything was fine when I saw Raychelle trying to keep her flyers from the woman. I watched, shocked. We walked fast to the sidewalk. It would be better. I was just passing them out with my mom. We were just passing them out when I saw; I had no idea, the manager, behind my back, grabbed my hand and scratched it. It hurt. Ow. I watched her grab my mom’s papers. I watched, scared. She grabbed the my papers out of my hands and then ripped them up into pieces! I felt really scared. I watched, uh-oh. What’s wrong with her?


From Amy Cohen Efron:

The morale of this story: Deaf people uses our hands to communicate, and we desire that all Hearing people to use THEIR hands to communicate with us. We do not tolerate having THEIR hands to control us, by touching, pushing, snatching, hitting, grabbing, but not using their hands to communicate.

Why cannot people just try to use their hands to communicate, instead of using them on us?

That is a very serious communication breakdown, but sad, very… very… common for us to be controlled by their hands all of the time.

The irony is… hearing babies are encouraged to use their hands to communicate before they can speak. Deaf babies are not allowed, and will not…

Think about this.

Special thanks to Aidan Mack for filming and editing.

#2 Here you can see what the AG Bell Booth Display looks like

The video clip shows what materials are exhibited at the AG Bell Booth area to give you an idea how they market their ideology.

Do you think the bilingual ideology is well publicized and organized like that? That is why the founding of DBC is necessary to reach out to parents of deaf babies about the benefits of ASL.

Special thanks to Ruthie Jordan for her filming and editing work.

#1 AG Bell Protest:: The Day Before

Thanks to Aidan Mack for filming and editing.