Thursday, August 9, 2007

#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.


Anonymous said...

Questions about Donation:

Does DBC have license for non profit organization or profit organization?

Does DBC pay federal taxes?

Are Donations tax deductible as charitable contributions?

Does DBC have federal tax I.D. number?

Jean Boutcher said...


Merci merci merci. Merci beaucoup fpr recording each and every historic minute at Marriott! Wish you had been at the 1800 Milano Conference where many people hysterically and excitedly and wildly jumped from the stage.

We do not know what to do without someone called "Aidan Mack" who speaks out from the bottom of her heart!

Merci bcp!

Deaf Eagle said...

I just want to say I cannot believe they did to you - I do feel that their A.Bell priciples should be scrapped, and must be stopped - sign language all over the world must be supported.

You have a supporter from London, UK.

DBC said...

To respond to Anon 11:33;

DBC was just born a few weeks ago so it takes time to apply and process in order to be qualified as a non profit organization.

The California Association of the Deaf (CAD) was generous to offer DBC a temporary nest. CAD has a federal I.D. number as non profit organization with a 501(c) status. All donations will be tax deductible according to federal tax laws and it must be reported to the IRS as well as to the members of CAD.

As soon as DBC establish its own board members, by-laws and I.D., it will be independent from CAD.

Thank you for your interest.

Anonymous said...

I hope someone called the cops on that POS.

I really do.