Monday, March 24, 2008

DBC California Update #2 at the Rally in AG Bell State Conference

Here is the last update report from David Eberwein. Thanks to Nick Horn for sharing his link that includes beautiful and inspiring photos of DBC-California peaceful rally that you can view it below.

DBC Report #7: (note: this is not a transcript of the video above)

Wow we just wrapped up. Total in attendance more likely 100-150! ( AG Bell only had 40 attendees!). The sheriff requested to talk with us so we gathered with him engaging in a dialogue. He very gratefully thanked us for being "the best group he's ever worked with"!! He complimented us on how we kept our area clean, peaceful, etc.! :)

Yoga was fun- tried to get kids involved but the kids were more for running around so adults joined in for some stretching on the grass. It was fun!

Then AG Bell ended at 4 PM without any wrap-up. Cat, Beth (DBC reps to AGB) came out and reported to us that after the keynote, it was very technical-focused, and the panel with 5 recent college graduates (all Deaf, oral etc.)... They shared their experiences at college, and a common theme was frustration, strife, etc. They've gained 150 new friends in us, DBC CA! And right now a few went back to us and are mingling with us. We've invited 'em to our suite party tonight. :)

We closed with a few more announcements after the sheriff spoke with us. More chants, etc. and one middle school student proudly declared that she and here young friends are our next generation and that they'd continue our work! :)

It was a great day with a large number of DBC participants, peacefulness, including having a great diversity in our rally.

We did good and it is only the beginning!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

DBC California Update #1 at the Rally in AG Bell State Conference

The DBC California chapter is hosting a rally today at Milpitas, California outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Here is a list of interesting report updates submitted by David Eberwein explaining the positive dynamics of the rally. Future updates will be posted later on and video clips will be shown.

To obtain more information about the background of the DBC California, please check out their blog.

DBC CA Report #1
At the hotel, it appears that there is way more police appearance than Arlington, VA- there you can see this humongous police RV.

DBC CA report #2
Wow- one AGB convention attendee just flipped us off, and the police went into the convention and yelled the woman out, saying it was unacceptable.

Luckily Kristen Weiner already met w/ the hotel mgr and all the police this morning and they were very appreciative of our cooperation. We are standing on the grass in front of the hotel very good location.
Media is coming later today. :)

DBC CA Report #3
The AGB Keynote speaker, Josh Swiller, just finished and came out and joined us! Guess what? There are more of us than the AGB convention attendees!! (They have abt only 40!). Josh then spoke w/ us!!! He was genial, humorous, etc.!! We all have him hand waves, etc. Now ppl are speaking- and Dr. Klopping is explaining Sweden etc. Cat Cassidy, Beth Ticehurst, and Adam Lovelace- DBC CA's representatives in the AGB convention, are sharing their experiences this morning. They say Josh's keynote was great and mostly about his African experiences, however, the Q+A was solidly about his CI, etc. So far so good. There are about 80-90 of us here for DBC at this moment! And- AGB's conv is on the 2nd floor overseeing us...we are on the grass and AGB kept opening and shutting the drapes on us. We are very visible to 'em and they kept checking us out but slamming the drapes often.

DBC CA Report #4
It is lunch now and just before lunch, one of the AGB panelists, a Deaf audiologist in her late 20s/early 30s came out w/ another CI Deaf and chatted w/ us. She even presented to us- and AGB opened the drapes to spy on her. Anyway, she was pleasant and signed a bit and told us she tells families to use ASL in her job etc... We invited her to our suite party tonight and she enthusiastically said YES, YES! Then Tom Holcomb proposed that we mingle w/ AGB in the hotel restaurant and now we are mingling. Many of AGB CA ppl do sign. And before lunch, one of DBC CA's reps, Adam Lovelace, spoke w/ us and thanked DBC for asking him to rep us. He is oral, and just learned ASL 2 mos ago thru Kristen Weiner. Adam told us that he is a poster child for AGB- college degree, no ASL, owns a restaurant, etc- but when he met Kristen, and learned ASL felt his life is more complete now. Wow!! More at 1 PM- ppl are really mingling in the restaurant now. Connectedness, connectedness!

DBC CA report #5

After lunch, all 90-100 of us took a group picture. Weather's perfectly sunny. Beth Ticehurst, one of DBC reps in AGB reported that the AGB conv is now talking abt auditory tech stuff, very routine. Then AGB Keynoter Josh Swiller re-joined us and brought along another oral Deaf (w/ CIs), Michael Chorust (sp?), author of "Rebuilt" something to talk w/ us. Now others are talking to the group and soon yoga activities will begin. Its 2:15 now and the AGB conv is still in swing, but more and more of AGB attendees are coming out to join us ha. More drapes are opened now- either they're peering at us or have given up . Really mind-blowing to have around 100 of us as compared to 40 of 'em- and its a STATE convention!

Report #5- ADDENDUM!!

Michael Chorst just declared to us this, "I have learned more since my book...some of the things I wrote in my book,... My opinions have changed." He said he applied for a fellowship to Gallaudet University for ASL training! In closing, he said, "15 years from now, its unknown- but we need to work together." We are making in-roads!!!

DBC CA report #6

Its now 3:20 PST and more people are here. Children's activities- so cute! Someone donated her/his car for the kids to PAINT on- yessss, paint the car!! There are a lot of cute slogans on the car, and the kids are happily painting away.

Sandra Ammons, Don Grushkin, Ella Mae Lentz, Judy Gough, Roberta Daniels, Eugene LaCosse, Nan Zhou (represting Bay Area Deaf Asians), Ralph Singleton (representing CAD Bay Area), Hank Klopping, etc. spoke eloquently.

Also, the DBC CA committee was introduced to everybody- Kristen Weiner, Tara Holcomb, Brian Morrison, Liann Osborbe, Justin & Jonathan Reynolds, Jenny Cantrell, & Sean Hauschildt. All cheered 'em on.

Then we returned to the sidewalk and held out many signs- beautifffull and all photographed. We also were videotaped during our chant, etc. Will post photos & vlogs sometime soon.

T-shirts are selling like HOT wow..

AGB convention is winding down in about an hour and we'll be seeing them as we plan to invite as many of 'em to dinner w/ us.

More to come.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

DBC video presentation at DPN20


On behalf of DBC, we would like to thank you for including our newly founded coalition to be a part of the DPN20 celebration. It is an honor for us to share our thoughts on where we have been, what we are doing and where are we going.

For 124 years, Gallaudet students remained silent until March of 1988 when the outrageous selection of a hearing president over qualified Deaf candidates led to the DPN protest. The leadership style of the DPN protest that was shown and the unity of purpose that it engendered made it successful and proved that we can all can fight together to break down harmful political barriers. The 1988 protest made change for the better and caused more doors to be opened for Deaf people who sought and received promotions to higher positions in their employment. It conveyed the message that Deaf people are capable of handling such higher positions and that they should no longer be treated as second class citizens.

As we fast-forward in our view of the timeline to the present 20th-anniversary DPN celebrations, we should reflect on what has been accomplished and all the positive changes that have been made so far. We already know that more and more superintendents, members of boards of directors, administrators, etc., of schools for the Deaf are now themselves Deaf since the aftermath of DPN. Increased levels of self-determination and empowerment are now recognized in the Deaf community. Even steady increases in the number of advanced degrees awarded to Deaf people are taking place. Prior to DPN, it was easy to name all deaf people holding doctorates, but not anymore. Does this mean that everything is all fine and dandy now? Should we just sit back now after all these gains and allow our political efforts to coast? We know very well that nothing is guaranteed and that these numbers, which continue to be on the rise, could later plummet. The question we need to ask is: How can we prevent such a reversal from happening?

For 128 years, the AG Bell organization has plowed their way onto the political scene by spreading the practice of oralism. They have not really been challenged since the days of the debates with Edward Miner Gallaudet. In early 1900's, George Veditz made efforts to preserve sign language by recording signers' speeches and performances on film, due to the threat of manual practices being banned in programs and schools all over the country. Some of the schools for the Deaf adopted an oral-only philosophy and shunned the manual practices completely. Some of the schools kept both methods. Nevertheless, the students were oppressed and they suffered the consequences, thereby being prevented from developing strong literacy skills and achieving higher levels of education and career success in the mid 20th century.

In the 70's, Total Communication (TC) came in the picture because of the findings of the Babbidge Report in 1965 which declared oralism to be a failure. However, the problem with TC was that it included a broad range of varied communication modes, such as Signed English, Signing Exact English, Simultaneous Communication, and what used to be called "Pidgin Signed English." ASL was not yet accepted as a primary at that time, although it was a part of the TC package. For as long as anyone can remember, the average deaf high school graduate's reading level remained stubbornly low. Many deaf children did succeed, but overall, the figure still remained low.

Then the evidence of research began to come in: Deaf children of Deaf parents tended to do much better. More recently, study after study has been released showing that a natural signed language should be the default language of deaf children, since they are VISUAL learners. Independent bilingual-bicultural charter schools began to spring up in the 1980's, but only slowly. Too often, a main obstacle has been ignorance and fear which has sometimes had the effect of pushing parents away from bilingual approach. Parents then make the misguided choice of thinking that spoken English should be their Deaf children's primary language. Too much propaganda has been marketed by the AG Bell Association for the Deaf (AGBAD), an organization which has persuaded parents to buy into their philosophy without really having the chance or taking the time to become educated about the benefits of the bilingual approach.

It is now 2008 and progress in bilingual education has, even at this late date, not yet been placed steadfast motion, even though research is being done and programs have been established at Gallaudet and in some prominent universities. We have seen the beauty of the results of these practices, but this good news has not been well publicized. Many parents still haven't been informed. In addition, only very few bilingual-bicultural courses are offered in teacher preparatory programs, as many educators who have been surveyed respond that they feel like they need more information, but that they are aware of the programs. However, along a contrary direction, clinical programs are on the rise, and a lot of misleading intervention materials are being made available to parents. We should see this as a red flag. Parents are being kept in the dark about the importance of allowing their Deaf babies to be exposed to ASL and acquiring it as a first language. Early acquisition of ASL is the only effective way for Deaf children to develop English skills, with English being learned as a second language.

We now have resources and programs but who will do the necessary marketing? This is why DBC was set up in July 2007, to enable us all to speak up about the findings of the benefits of bilingualism and to encourage parents and members of the public to learn more about the truth.

As Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized, we should take a stand for that which is right, just and true.

Thank you!

Please spread the word for others to come and join our first annual DBC education conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 27-30th. There will be workshops and presentations by keynote speakers, training sessions, rallies, entertainment, and various children's activities. More details will be announced in the website:

Note: DBC thanks DPN leaders and conference organizers for including us in the DPN20 event.