Monday, December 1, 2008
I’m studying towards a Government major, not an Economy major. But I do recognize that politics and economy are inextricably linked together, as with the wellbeing of our nation. I’d like to write this entry to examine upon the deaf faces of American economy.
I’m not talking about the professors, the pundits, the professionals – though the deaf community is proud of quite a few accomplished and respected individuals in economy and business. I’m talking about the real faces, the ordinary American citizens and families, people in America who just happened to be deaf. And the economy is affecting us all.
A grassroots deaf organization, Deaf Seniors of America, suffered a major financial loss when their bank holding the organization’s money collapsed. Silver State Bank collapsed in early September and Deaf Seniors of America lost more than $170,000 out of more than $270,000 deposited in the bank. The upcoming convention will go ahead as planned but profits will not be made and a deaf community center that was planned to be built with the profits will not come into reality. The Nevada bank was the 11th bank to fail in 2008.
“The money belongs to the deaf community, in our minds. It doesn’t belong to us,” Cecilia Rosen, co-chairwoman of the local convention planning committee, said through a sign language interpreter.
When Bill Moran, the committee’s co-chairman, heard the news about the bank, he couldn’t sleep that night.
When the Vardon family found out they had won an Extreme Home Makeover, they were overjoyed. The deaf parents, Larry and Judy Vardon have two sons and one of them is blind and autistic. With Ty Pennington and Marlee Matlin starring in the episode, it was a happy moment as the hearing son Stefan received scholarship from the Starkey Hearing Foundation and the house was renovated magnificently to ensure safety for the blind and autistic son Lance. Flash forward four years later, the Vardon family is one of the many families in America struggling with deep debts and they are now losing their beautiful home.
The Vardon family isn’t the first “Extreme Home Makeover” recipients to face foreclosures; other families on the show are also facing foreclosures in today’s mortgage crisis.
Small businesses are still in the market, for the deaf people at least. The above article refers to Jason and John Yeh, a father-son team who established the Viable video communications company, which has been extremely successful with two products released so far (VPAD and VPAD+) and a burgeoning company. They’re not the only deaf people in the business world. Deaf businesses have long persevered through adversity to succeed. One needs to only go to the local Deaf Expo to get a taste of how many deaf small businesses there are. However, the question remains – how many of the small businesses that are pride and joy, golden nuggets of the deaf community, will survive through the recession?
So is Viable ... viable? "I want them to succeed," says T. Alan Hurwitz, president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, N.Y. But, given the competition, "it will be a challenge." Still, Viable's staff face challenges every day. And as far as the Yehs are concerned, their rivals are impaired by hearing.
In times of economical hardship, we must remember that the deaf world is both small and large and we’re a proud community. With the Thanksgiving over and the holidays nearing, it might be a modest and humble time for many. However, the season is also a giving season and I want all of you to keep in mind that generosity counts far more this year. Reach out, do good, and support each other through the recession.
The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So you’re a firebrand Republican, your heart filled with the color red, and you voted for McCain/Palin. Some of you, like quite few Republicans I personally know, crossed party lines and voted for Obama. But you’re not willing to let go of your Republican brand and political identity. That’s fine.
It’s important that you keep on calling yourself a Republican. No wait, make that a Deaf Republican.
It’s more important than you realize to be a Deaf Republican at this turning point in American politics. Why? Because things are changing and both political parties are at the point where they have to embrace change – either by choice or not by choice.
It’s prime time for you.
The most crucial thing for you to do as a Deaf Republican: Don’t give up. The worst thing you can do for yourself, your deaf community, and your political party at this moment is to give up your interest in politics or activism out of disappointment at the election results.
What’s more, it’s a rich opportunity for YOU the Deaf Republicans to enter the party. You can be part of the resurgence of the Republican Party and in return you will get the respect and ears of the Republican party. Our deaf issues needs to be heard and taken into serious consideration by both parties.
The reason why it’s so important for deaf people to get involved with both parties is because if deaf community chooses to become overly involved in “one party,” then the deaf community will lose allies with the another party.
Here's a good piece about how the GOP - "Grand Old Party" Republicans can "get back in the game."
Be proactive, be strong and impressive, and get involved with your own party!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I videotaped a variety of reactions around Gallaudet campus to Barack Obama's election on November 5th.
Le Toudjida Allara: Hello, my name is Le Toudjida Allara and Im from Chad, Africa. Yesterday I watched at the meeting as the announcement was made about the president-elect. And who was it? Obama wins. Oh?? Wow! It's great. Really, I supported both... neutral. I watched both political parties' philosophies, their politics, and their strategies for the future. I think that both candidates had good strategies, yes, but I looked at Obama and he was such a good speaker and he had good plans on the economy, specifically. McCain had a good plan but his strategy on economy wasn't all that good. Obama, oh yeah, he was better and more clear on explaining himself. I really liked his philosophies, his economy plans, and I can see his influence on the people of the world, too. I hope that when Obama becomes president, he will do good. Yeah.
I videotaped a variety of reactions around Gallaudet campus to Barack Obama's election on November 5th.
Bradley Gantt: Hi, my name is Bradley Gantt. I’m from Indiana. Today... Obama is gonna be our president for the next four years. I’ll let you know – I’m very happy. The time has come. We need a change. Obama winning the presidency is amazing and it has made history. And not just because of his skin color – no – but because he will bring change to America, when we needed it the most due to the past eight years. So, rock on!
I videotaped a variety of reactions around Gallaudet campus to Barack Obama's election on November 5th.
Dustin Cutrer: Hello, my name is Dustin Cutrer and I'm from Louisiana. I'm a second year Gallaudet University student and I support McCain. My feelings about the election... It happened. Many people voted and I'm satisfied with that. Obama has won. I accept that. The world is still alive. The sun still shines. I got up today in the morning and nothing happened, no big change. I look forward to what Obama will bring to America.
Nick: Hello, my name is Nick.
Norah: And my name is Norah.
Nick: We're here in the Bison Shop. Now, I'd like to explain about something amazing. Today is November 5th 2008, the day before the election.
Norah: No, after the election!
Nick: Oh, I meant AFTER the election! Haha, anyway who won the election? Obama is the President. And what happened??? Look at the newspapers
(Shot of empty newspaper stand)
Nick: It's all GONE! It was emptied in less than half a hour when this store first opened today. And still, so many people came here asking for newspapers. We have nothing left, nothing. I had to apologize. It's Obama! And it's all gone.
The crowds are gone.
The visual noise has declined.
The big television screen is blank and dark.
Yet... it's November 5th, 2008. History is here and change is in the air.
The Sorenson Language and Communication Center was mostly empty and quiet. Only thing that reminded us of the historic night spent here were the students setting up video cameras to record fellow students' reaction to last night. Everybody knows we're witnessing history as we move through the day.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
November 5, 2008.
Still, time doesn't stop. Life goes on. I'm still just a college student. I've got classes to worry about, professors to please, and grades to make. I went to all of my morning classes and as soon as my final morning class ended at 11 AM today, I immediately hurried over to the university bookstore to grab a piece of newspaper. To my surprise, there were no newspaper. I know today was a historical day but I had still some faith that the stock would be enough to last for few hours in the morning. I was wrong.
I asked the workers at bookstore and they said that newspapers had run out in the first hour. Throughout the rest of the day, I checked SEVEN different locations and no November 5th 2008 newspapers were in sight.
I even paged my family in Maryland, asking them to get some newspapers - the reply from my mother was that she had gone to 711, CVS, and food stores and they were all OUT.
It's becoming increasingly clear that today's such a historical day that the newspapers have run out of stock rapidly. Therefore, I have a suggestion for you - my dear readers.
I've gotten many comments and emails thanking me for my blog work. They all mean a great deal to me and I want to say that it's out of sheer passion and pleasure that I maintain this blog for you, the hearing and deaf community. I truly do believe that the deaf rightly deserve to have a place at the table and be part of the conversation about politics in America... It's just a matter of getting there.
Now, there is one way you can express your gratitude to me. One way you can pay me back.
You can buy me a November 5th 2008 newspaper and send it to me.
:-) That's all I ask of you, my dear readers. Otherwise, keep on reading and being involved in American politics!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Just as the seconds were being counted down "New Years Eve"-style, the biggest TV screen on campus went dark suddenly. The room erupted into chaos and confusion and some people immediately went to smaller televisions in adjacent hallways and rooms. Then they ran out shouting OBAMA IS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT! ITS DONE!! over and over again.
There was still more disbelief, many people did not immediately cheer at the same time. Some people let a smile grow over their faces, some shouted, some cheered, and even more stampeded to the smaller televisions - abandoning the biggest TV screen on campus. SLCC may have been the place for our historical night, but the biggest TV screen on campus did not claim the prize for being the exact TV to report Barack Obama's presidency.
Many people huddled together, smiled, congratulated each other, and broke out into spontaneous high fives and hugs for strangers. Then we all went back to the biggest TV screen on campus for John McCain's speech, which was moving and very well done. The anticipation built up and up for Barack Obama's speech.
Then he walked onstage with his family. The deaf people in SLCC, on Gallaudet University campus, broke out into loud applause. Some of us supported John McCain, quite a number of us supported Barack Obama - but by the end of his moving speech, we were all reminded: We are all Americans. Our union can be perfected.
For the deaf community, we have greater hope now. All we need to do is move towards it, to have faith and work hard for the greater good.
Yes we can.
Yes we can.
Yes we can.
A four-way conversation with the wonders of modern day video chat technology has brought us the Deaf View a Deaf twist on the TV talk show The View, in which four well known and respected ladies talk about issues with each other. In this version, we have four well known and respected members of the Gallaudet community chat with each other and discuss about political ramifications of tonight.
THE DEAF VIEW:
Gallaudet University's own ASL/Deaf Studies professors speak to the students about the importance of tonight and the history of Gallaudet University students finding out about election results before there were TVs.
However, I do remain consistent and unwavering in my support of the need to transcript/caption videos.
Transcripts are extremely time-consuming to type up, that is the reason why they're not up yet.
A Historic Night in a Historic Building!
On my metro ride home after a long day working the Maryland polls, I was mulling over the upcoming event at Gallaudet. I was anxious to see how many people would gather and take interest in the Election Watch. The polls closed and the broadcast started at 7pm. Once arriving at Gallaudet I was amazed by the amount of people that showed up. The president-elect will be a big part of the next four years, so I was really inspired to see a large number of the Gallaudet community that showed up to watch and discuss the broadcast of this event.
I explain about the hidden room next to the room next to the voting booths. There's plenty to feed the volunteers and it's a nice place to take a break.
Hello. Right now we are in a small room that is hidden right next to the gymnasium where all the voting booths are set up. However, we cannot take you into there since video recordings taken place inside polling places are not permitted. As you can see there is a table filled with food that have been donated by the various people in the community or paid for by the county or paid by local campaigns for the volunteers helping out today which is greatly appreciated. There is also a T.V. in the break room stationed on the CNN channel so the volunteers can just sit back and relax and keep up to date with what is going on. So it’s pretty nice that we have all this here.
Some advice about voting. I tell you what it's like in person. I'm a first time voter!
We began filming inside the polling center, but learned quickly that it is against the law to film inside the building due to voter intimidation. We decided to move the filming location outside of the building. As I said in the polling center, I recently voted! When I was voting, realized the sample ballots are very useful. This sample ballot contains detailed information regarding which platform best suits you and is a helpful guide when making decisions in the voting booth. The law allows you to bring that with you when voting. I encourage you, when you go and vote, find the sample ballot and bring it with you as you vote. When I arrived, I was lucky the line was not that long, and now look at the number of people lined up to vote.
Today is a good day to go outside and exercise your basic American voting rights!
So I strongly encourage you to click on the "The Deaf Perspective" link on top of this blog so you may view all of my blog entries. Or just bookmark my blog and check back on it frequently. Some of the entries I've posted include really important information, such as advice on voting and Election day, but due to Deafread's strict standards on publication - whenever something is not related to deaf issues, it will not be published.
So this is a reminder to you to keep on checking my blog in its entirety. Thanks!
And of course...
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE TODAY!!
Just a glimpse into America on Election Day 2008
Leah Katz-Hernandez: One thing I'd like to talk about that's really special about this year the fact that there are a lot of young voters turning out. Voters voting for the first time. And people who haven't voted since but they're voting for the first time today. There's a lot of new voters being added to the rolls. A good example is my family my family has five people in it. Out of that number, three are first time voters. That's my brother, me, and my brother! :-)
Hello! Here I am! This is Leah, reporting from where? The Clopper Mill Elementary School in Montgomery County, Maryland my home area. Now the voting lines are getting long. The booths and everything are over there in the building. The Democratic Partys booth is here, a little separate from the lines. The voters can walk over here if theyre interested in our stuff. But we dont bother them. Its all volunteer work here. What do we give them? We give them information, about the Democratic candidates. Such as this Those three are the Congressional district candidates. And down here, Obama and Biden. What is this piece of paper? Its called a SAMPLE BALLOT. Its purpose is to encourage you to vote for the Democratic Party by giving you a visual sample ballot of who to vote for. So that you may be clear on whom youre going to vote for, understand and go into the booth knowing exactly whos the right person to vote for not the wrong person! And also we have information about local ballot motions, that people dont support or encourage you to vote for. Heres an example of no support: Three Good Reasons to Vote NO on Question B Bad policy, cutting of finances/funding, and increasing class sizes in schools. This one talks about education, obviously. See this flyer? The apple reminds you of school, right? The information related to educational motions is printed here. Today is such a historical day! Judy Stout, who I work with, says that shes never seen such a huge line before especially out into the street! The lines used to not be so bad; sometimes, thered be no lines and people would just walk in and out. But, wow, lines out into the street! Never seen that before. Amazing. Its a historical day. I feel really inspired to be here. Thank you!
Judy Stout describes her role in local politics and talks about the extremely long lines due to massive turnout. This was taken at 7:45 AM today.
Judy Stout: Hello, I’m Judy Stout. I’m precinct chair of here, 9-26th of District 39. I’ve been the chair for almost one year now. I was involved with voter registration last January. Oh, that was a cold day! I was there all day from 6 AM until 6 PM, when we had to stop. Today’s a really special day! I’ve never seen so many people, they’re lining up so long all the way to outside!! This is a historical moment – for both parties! The minority ticket is there. It’s amazing. It’s thrilling. And I’m also thrilled to have Leah Katz-Hernandez here with us today, helping out and working to pass out the fliers and information. She will videotape all this information, you’ll see them. And she’ll catch all the long lines on the video for you. Take a look!
Monday, November 3, 2008
This is what Election Day will probably look like at the voting booths.
I want to be practical here and prepare all of you who are going to vote in person today. My personal advice, from what I've read in various publications and older people's words would be:
Do your research. Know who the candidates are for Senators and House Representatives. They are just as important as the President, sometimes even more important because they control the law-making.
Know what propositions are being brought up. For example, Prop. 8 is being brought up in California that has controversial support for and against it. It's important for you to know what to vote on so you may not make a mistake and vote for something that you do not support.
Bring a pen and paper. If you have NOT requested it in advance, forget the request for interpreters, I'm sorry to say. Unless you're lucky enough to bring along a friend who may interpret for you, CODA family members, or meet random people who can interpret for you. The reason is practical - Election day is going to be VERY CHAOTIC. Expect it.
Don't get frustrated at the long lines. Be prepared. Bring a book, homework, or whatever else you think may keep you occupied.
Let know your school or work place in advance. Laws currently allow only two hours of absence from work to vote but frankly, I'd say that casting your vote in this pivotal election is much, much more important than few hours of work/school. Communicate with your superiors. Work it out.
DON'T EVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BE FOOLED!!! Check out this story about dirty tricks whose only purpose is to confuse or prevent voters from exercising their most basic American right. DO NOT BE A VICTIM! Report anything that looks fishy and be brazenly stubborn in your quest for the voting booth.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. The stupidest one is the one who stays silent. It's better to ask questions and be careful rather than casting the wrong ballot or finding out later that your vote wasn't counted because of some mistake.
Last but not least: Talk to your peers, friends, and family. Encourage them to vote as well. If you know anybody who can vote and isn't voting, pester them to get their bodies over to the polling places! No vote should be uncast.
Bring your identification and/or voter registration.
Use your common sense. Vote.
After many months of speculation, excitement, and crazy events... It's finally here. The day of decision. It's time for America to go to the booths and choose their next President of United States. Not only that but also the Senators and House Representatives who will control the legislation for the next four years.
Aren't you proud to be finally here? To finally see this moment?
I sure am!
And I'm going to share it with you. Today my plans are to go vote in person at my local polling place. I won't be alone.... my family will be voting today, also. My mother, my father, and my two younger brothers. I will also volunteer my time with Judy Stout, who is District 39 precinct official in Montgomery County, Maryland. I'm going to see in person for the first time, up close to the polling, booths, and the whole shebang. And good news for all of you! I'm going to bring along my trusty video camera and digital camera so I may update my blog as soon as possible.
At 7 pm, the doors will open at the historic Sorenson Language and Communication Center building at Gallaudet University - so renowned for its unique Deaf-space architecture - for an all-night Election Watch Party. I'll be there, mingling with my college peers and anxiously watching the television as the polls close. I'll be bringing you the scene from there, too.
November 4th is here.
Let the blitz begin.
Here's the LATEST Gallup Poll:
The Gallup poll is well known in history for being one of the most stable, non-partisan, and thorough poll ever. The Gallup poll has decided that based on polling, Obama will win the election 55% to McCain’s 44%. I believe it is dependable poll because the Gallup poll is famous for being neutral, independent of any political affiliation. From the Wikipedia page on the Gallup poll:
To ensure his independence and objectivity, Dr. Gallup resolved that he would undertake no polling that was paid for or sponsored in any way by special interest groups such as the Republican and Democratic parties, a commitment that Gallup upholds to this day.
George Gallup gave birth to modern non-partisan polling in 1936 when he was able to correctly predict the year’s presidential election by asking a sample group of only 5,000 people with diverse backgrounds, economical status, and political opinions. Over the years, the Gallup poll has only been wrong twice – first time with the infamous Dewey victory prediction in 1948. You might remember the famous photo below of Harry Truman triumphantly holding up a newspaper that incorrectly stated a Dewey win in the presidential election. The second error in the Gallup poll’s history was in 1976 when the poll predicted a narrow victory by Gerard Ford; in reality, Jimmy Carter won by slim margin. Due to its reliability, the Gallup has been one of the most checked-upon and oft-referenced information on public opinion.
During the 2008 presidential election, the Gallup poll has maintained a daily poll by asking roughly 1,000 adults every day. The tracking poll is published every three days. Thus the poll is frequently updated and reliable in consideration of the changing public opinion.
What I’d like to emphasize about the Gallup poll’s most recent finding is not the predicting part but the fact that Gallup has found that minority groups will make a major difference in this election. Here’s an excerpt from the Gallup poll:
An Obama victory would also owe a great debt to overwhelming support from racial and ethnic minorities. McCain led among white voters, 51% to 44%, but Obama more than made up for that with an 83% to 13% advantage among non-whites, including a 97% to 1% advantage among blacks and a 73% to 24% lead among Hispanics.
According to Gallup's final pre-election polls, the last time a presidential candidate won without winning the white vote was Bill Clinton in 1992. That year George Bush narrowly beat Clinton by two points among white voters, 41% to 39%, with 20% supporting third party candidate Ross Perot. Prior to that, Gerald Ford in 1976 received 52% of the white vote to Jimmy Carter's 46%, but Carter won the election with 85% of the non-white vote.
The message that this poll sends is: a minority group’s strong vote can be pivotal in winning an election. Thus, if the deaf people were to assemble themselves to be a strongly defined group of voters – it IS enough to swing an election. Also, the more attention that minorities receive in elections, the better news it is for the deaf people because we are a minority in a hearing world. The more people pay attention to the “little people,” the more we are empowered. And in this election, through the Gallup finding, the minorities have proved their might in voting.
Bottom line: VOTE, even though you think “your vote doesn’t matter”… It DOES!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
An open-captioned video by an average-looking hearing person. He talks about his prediction on who will win the Presidential Election 2008. This video was taken in March 20, 2008.
I decided to add this to my blog because it was interesting, open-captioned, and showed the relevant political opinions of the public. If more hearing people would caption their videos, more deaf people could benefit from it and join in the discussion. As opposed to "being left out of the conversation" as we often are with non-captioned, non-transcribed videos.
It is my hope that the internet will become more accessible with time and that the hearing people will be more open to personally captioning their videos.
However, we the deaf should be the ones who are setting the example. We can make the first step in captioning/transcribing our videos in ASL. The reason why I'm supportive of this is because hearing people out there ARE interested in hearing what you have to say. This applies in political interest and all other spectrum, such as entertainment or chatter, too. When you make yourself accessible, you are opening your world up to the world and enabling them to better understand you, your interests, and your stance on issues.
I'm compelled to talk about a Washington Post article that I was featured in few months ago about the internet and technology:
But as entertainment and communications tools increasingly take digital form, some people with disabilities feel left behind. Online videos are not required to have captions for those who can’t hear, for example, and ticker-style emergency messages are not narrated for those who can’t see.
The article talked about a bill, which at the time, was being introduced. The bill would have called for the internet and newer technology to be more accessible:
The bill, also sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., calls for new rules for devices that display video programming. Federal law requires all TV sets with screens larger than 13 inches to display closed captions. Under the new legislation, all gadgets from MP3 music players to cell phones would be required to show captions.
Devices also would be obligated to provide video description services and read aloud emergency messages that scroll across the bottom of the screen. And they would have to be designed so that on-screen menus are usable by people with disabilities.
When you vote, you are making your voice heard and voting people into office who you believe will support your agenda. Nobody is overlooked when you cast your vote. When you vote into the office a Senator, make sure he or she will support bills that will improve your life. And bills such as this one may help remove the barriers to online captioning so that we may have more interesting videos to enjoy such as the guy above. Voting is one of the many ways you can help push the deaf/hard of hearing agenda.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I interview April Jackson, who is a fifth generation from a deaf family in Missouri. The Missouri state is well known for being a "bellwether," which means it uniquely has been able to predict the national victor in elections. Whenever a presidential candidate wins Missouri, then there is a good chance he will be able to win the rest of nation. So that's why political pundits pay close attention to Missouri.
And of course, there is a deaf community there!
Leah Katz-Hernandez: Hello, I'm here with student April Jackson who is from the state of Missouri. I'm going to interview her. April, tell me about your background - where are you from?
April Jackson: I'm from Kansas City, Missouri. I was born the fifth generation in a deaf family. My grandfather first enrolled into a deaf school around the 1940s/1930s around that time. And my mom went to a deaf school. However, I never went to a deaf school myself. And the deaf community?
Leah Katz-Hernandez: Yes, thank you. You have strong links to your family's generations in Missouri. That's nice... now, I'm curious about Do you mind explaining to us about the deaf community in Missouri? Whats it like?
April Jackson: I remember my grandfather used to have those deaf gatherings back in the day where they'd discuss together and talk about politics. They'd go to Kansas City, St. Louis, Columa, Missouri. And they'd always get together and discuss; talk with each other. Until my time came today, I can see that there aren't much deaf people getting together. In query, I asked my mom and my grandfather what happened to the deaf gatherings... where is it now? The answer was unfortunately, the deaf community is spread out now and the individuals are not aggressive enough to come together. I really felt that there is the need for deaf community to come together. Not be passive and let things go. I think it would be better if some deaf people came together to set up gatherings throughout the suburban, the cities, and the towns. The key is to help others get in touch with each other, be connected, so we may go back to the old times. It would help them and beneficial because the government could recognize that deaf people could do something for their state. We do need that.
Leah Katz-Hernandez: Thanks. Hmm, the deaf community is large or small in Missouri? Which one is it?
April Jackson: There is definitely large number of deaf people. However, it isn't well-established or recognized. Many people choose to stay home and then they'll be surprised to discover that there is a deaf community. They don't know because they stay home. I encourage them to come out of their nests. Unfortunately, many of them stay home. Most of the times, when I meet people from Missouri I'm surprised to hear that they're from Missouri: What? You're from Missouri?? I should have known them because of my deaf family. They'll say, I stay home and work. Ah, that shows me that they haven't done much for themselves to be active in the deaf community. They're focused on work, the home environment, family, and that's pretty much it. A good example is during my mother's time, she would get together with people before she had a family until she had a family of her own. She started to shift her focus towards children and prioritize less on other people. For me to think about that, wow, maybe for other people its the same thing. Or they really don't care about politics. There are many different reasons, such as not enough motivation for meeting other deaf people. I'm not sure.
Leah Katz-Hernandez: Thanks a lot! Bottom line, looking at deaf peoples participation and community gatherings fading away has become to be the norm. Its understandable. Different states face different things in the deaf community. However, I want to emphasize that the Missouri deaf community really is in a very important position for the rest of the deaf community in America. Why is that so? Because politicians tend to visit Missouri more often and recognize that the state of Missouri is really important to them due to the fact that whoever wins the election in that state will usually predict the whole nations winner for presidential elections. So that means the importance of Missouri is increased for the deaf community, too. If the community is able to mobilize into a strong voting unit, they can help change or decide the national outcome. So the politicians who come and visit Missouri will listen to the deaf community. That's why the Missouri deaf community is in a great position to help improve the conditions, getting political clout and attention, and more that could help other deaf communities. I'm going to directly let you know: Those of you who live in Missouri, you ARE in a position of power and you can do it!
April Jackson: Yes!
Leah Katz-Hernandez: Thank you.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Barack Obama and Joseph Biden
- Both men are not disabled; the same goes for their immediate families.
- Obama’s Americans with Disabilities for Obama page is more significant than McCain, with entries about his remarks on disabilities, and comments from his people such as his National Disability Vote Director. The full link can be found here: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/dahome/
- The Obama/Biden website has a specific page on disabilities. A captioned video is posted, with Obama speaking about his disabilities plan.
- Obama pledges, it is noted on the page, to have the Senate ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
- After the discussion of his plan, a link for a transcript from a January 29 call on his disability policy conference is posted.
- As for his plan, a link to his plan is provided. The page points out the four parts of his plan:
- First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.
- Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity.
- Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities.
- And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities.
John McCain and Sarah Palin
- Senator McCain himself is disabled, as a result of torture during the Vietnam War, when he was a POW (prisoner of war).
- Alaskan Governor and McCain’s Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin recently gave birth to a son, Trig. Trig has Downs Syndrome.
- The Americans with Disabilities for McCain page on www.johnmccain.com notes that he was instrumental in writing key sections of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. It also mentions the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which deals with creating access for disabled people during political campaigns, mainly at polling places. This may mean McCain was involved in the passage of the act.
- Full link: http://americanswithdisabilities.johnmccain.com/AmericansWithDisabilities.htm
- On the health care page of the issues section, there is a brief blurb at the bottom about autism. A link leading to a statement on it is found there. It is noted that McCain cosponsored the Combating Autism Act of 2006, and states that as president he will work to advance federal research on autism.
- “Last month, the House passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 by a substantial margin. I support that House bill, and intend to support a Senate version that adheres to the same principles.” – Senator McCain, speaking at the AAPD conference, July 26
- No specific page on disabilities on www.johnmccain.com.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Today, I got my NAD Magazine in the mail. I couldn’t be any more thrilled when I saw that the overall theme was Election 2008! And I’m proud to say that Deaf Campaign 2008’s The Deaf Perspective blog was featured in the NADmag through an excellent interview! It was an excellent piece and I was very pleased with NAD’s emphasis on the current Election season. I highly recommend all of you to grab the magazine and start reading!
The cover was simple yet striking with a split-split combination of the Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant mascots. This is one of the most effective ways to reach out to the deaf community because the NAD is a well known and respected organization that has devoted itself to winning battles for the deaf. Issues of captioning, education, employment, law and the government, health care, transportation, housing, and public transportation are all covered by NAD under Legal Rights. Since its establishment in 1880, NAD has a long history of effective grassroots activism and networking among deaf citizens of America – even before when there was TTY, the Internet, or Video Phones!
The NAD’s continuous outreach to the deaf community reflects the vision of this blog: Despite our diversity, our differing back grounds, even different political stances, we all can come together to be a strong and respected force in American politics.
What has NAD done for the deaf community during Election season, else than releasing an Election-themed magazine issue? One of the best products out of the deaf internet space was NAD’s collaboration with DeafNation to host a video debate completely in sign language between four people who represent the two sides of political spectrum. Jeff Rosen and Liz Stone backed Barack Obama, while Robert Traina and Michael Clegg supported John McCain. The debate was informative, lively, and important to the sign-language community for the unique deaf perspective on national issues.
You can view the video debate here.
NAD also has a section on its website titled “Vote 2008” exclusively about American Election. Voter registration information is provided but there’s more than that. There is a list of Election-specific advocacy activities that NAD has undertaken. The information given is extremely important and relevant to the deaf community such as: Voting Process for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Election Protection, and Voting Access for People with Disabilities.
NAD has come long way since 1880 and it has done a lot for the deaf community. However, I will repeat a quote from my interview:
Traditionally, the deaf community’s forte is grassroots activism. We have a proven history on successful community activism for our rights, beginning with our reaction to the Milan conference in the 1800s with the establishment of the NAD. It seems to me that the deaf community tends to focus on advocacy and fighting back against oppression. My reaction to that is , it’s wonderful! However, imagine what we could for ourselves if we focused our energies and grassroots activism skills on actual American political activism. That way, we the deaf can make changes at the top and spend less time fighting back.
Accolades, National Association of the Deaf!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Here’s what you can do to ensure your vote is being counted:
Haven’t registered to vote yet? In these states, you can register to vote on the same day as you vote. However, you must show up in person at the voting booths.
Minnesota (as long as you provide proof of residency)
You have deaf friends, family members, or live in one of these states? You can call them up on VP or send an email. Registering to vote is the surest way to make sure that your opinion is being voiced on the issues that affect us as Americans and that it counts!!
Are you a deaf McCain or Obama supporter? Want to do something, that little extra inch to help with their campaigns?
I’ll give you a bit of information from Christian Ferry, Deputy McCain-Palin Campaign Manager:
This morning, supporters in every state gathered together for McCain Nation's Super Saturday to elect John McCain and Sarah Palin. Senator McCain took some time from the campaign trail to join us on a conference call to give us a quick update on the state of the race.
We're beginning to see the polls tighten as more Americans get the truth about Barack Obama's plan to "spread the wealth around" through tax increases on hard working Americans like Joe the Plumber.
Our campaign even sponsored the "I'm Joe the Plumber" video contest this week for people just like you to share why they too are Joe the Plumber. Please take a minute today to watch a few videos.
There are big differences between Barack Obama and John McCain, and in the final days of the campaign more people are beginning to see that our plan to spread opportunity is the right direction for our country.
But we need help spreading this message, and that's where you come in.
If you weren't able to attend a McCain Nation event today, you still have an opportunity to volunteer your efforts from home to elect John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Please follow this link to take part in our weekly Virtual Super Saturday by making 20 calls for our campaign.
These calls make a big difference in our campaign. In the homestretch it's vital we reach every voter out there.
Making calls from home is easy to do; follow this link and select a state. We provide the names, numbers and call scripts right on your computer screen. All you need to do is make the call, read the script and record the results.
Thanks for all your time and dedication.
And here’s a little something from Jon Carson, who is the National Field Director for Obama for America:
Supporters are coming together on Wednesday, October 29th, to watch Barack's national TV appearance and call voters in battleground states. Talking one-on-one with potential fellow voters is one of the easiest and most effective ways for you to make an impact in this election.
Find a Last Call for Change house party near you or sign up to host one.
Every day through Election Day:
Drive into a neighboring SWING state to help with the campaign there. (In this email, I received information about Virginia. You can register at BarackObama.com if you would like to help volunteer for the campaign and find nearest locations to your home.)
Call from Home:
We need to make 300,000 calls to voters in battleground states this weekend. Right from your own home, on your own schedule, you can do your part in just an hour or two by calling voters in – Swing States! (Again, in this email, I got information regarding Pennsylvania. You can sign up online at BarackObama.com if you want to be part of this grassroots effort.)
Parents, friends, young, and old – the best way for you to truly make a difference aside from voting and campaigning is understand fully the significance of this election. Do discuss the election news among yourselves, pump up the excitement, and remind each other that either way it will be a historical election. And how lucky you are to have the opportunity to be part of it, to vote in it, and to witness it all!
Someday, long into your future you will look back on this election season and be happy that you were here for it.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
This is the perfect example why deaf people should actively participate within BOTH parties. I highly urge you to follow your personal beliefs, values, and political leanings and go to the party that best represents them.
Why does it matter for the deaf people to participate in BOTH parties? Wouldn't a specific party respond to and serve the deaf community better? The truth is that if a high majority of the deaf community chooses to concentrate on one party, then the community will lose allies with the other party. The other party would be less educated about the deaf community, deaf issues, and less inclined to support the deaf community on important bills that impact us such as the online video captioning bill.
Partisanship hurts. Partisanship is NOT the goal, especially with deaf political participation.
If BOTH parties are well educated by a high percentage of deaf participation, then the deaf community wins both ways. Through my experience so far, I've learned that allies are a valuable thing to hold on. You can win allies with House Represenatives, Senators, the Cabinet, the Democratic/Republican National Committees, and even the President's Office. All it takes is a bit of effort on your part.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
As we enter what is widely called the “Last Lap” – the final two weeks of campaigning – the candidates will be embarking on their last sprint around America, holding rallies and stumping in every place where it matters. Money and resources will be poured into crucial “battleground states.” Political pundits will be saying everywhere: Every single vote counts.
And know what? It’s true.
Every single vote counts.
Especially in the swing states. Here, let’s take a look at three different sources for polling of John McCain and Barack Obama’s standing in the United States of America:
CNN: Indiana is leaning red. Montana and North Dakota are also leaning red, while the tossup states are Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida.
Gallup: Taken between October 13-19, this poll doesn’t have a map; it simply polls by the region. John McCain carries the South with 51% majority and that’s the only region where he is leading. The region where the margins are the slimmest is the Midwest where Obama is leading 52% to 39%.
MSN's Slate Magazine: In this map, North Dakota, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and Missouri are all tossup. Indiana is also identified as a tossup state rather than a red state, signifying that Obama and McCain are deadlocked there in this poll. Pennsylvania and Virginia are decidedly blue; “safe Democrat” rather than “leaning Democrat”
All three polls have the same information on the basics, states that are well known for solidly voting either red or blue. New York is a deep blue, while Texas is bleeding red. Big surprise. However, do you notice how the slight details differ with each poll. CNN shows some states leaning red that the Slate poll has still swinging.
The reason why I gave you three separate sources of polls is because you should never depend on just one poll to decide the outcome. Polls are always a fickle number and it’s hard to organize everybody on the barometer precisely. There is also a standard 3 % margin of error with all polls. The bottom line is that these poll results tell us that this election is going to be REALLY close. And as we get closer to November 4th, America is going to REALLY pay attention to these swing states.
It’s also interesting how some of the swing states are also well known for having a strong deaf population there: Ohio, Indiana, and Florida.
Deaf people can effect greater impact if they live in key swing states or neighboring states. If you live in a very important state, you’re in a lucky position. The deaf population in the swing states is definitely in a position of power. Your votes are very important and remember –People are going to listen to you. Your participation is valued. People are going to want to include you in the political process. You can seize this opportunity to expose and educate other people about your personal issues. What is important to you as a deaf American citizen? Chances are that the political parties will be glad to listen much closer to you and that spells good news for the rest of American deaf populations.
If you live in neighboring state to a swing state or in one of the solidly red/blue states: How many times have we crossed state lines to visit old friends or relatives? Crossing state lines is no big deal when you understand that your own personal involvement may make a much huger difference. Go visit your friends or relatives in swing states, talk to them, and encourage them to vote. Don’t want to travel? Ain’t VP great!?!? You can also call deaf people in the swing states and talk to them about political issues. The goal is simply to get the deaf people out to vote so that in the long run, the hearing people involved with the political world will recognize us as a viable demographic for tapping our vote. And November 4th is our day.
We are the deaf community. As the election comes closer and we know that even just a slim margin of 500 votes may decide a red or blue win, we must pay attention to ourselves and each other. Here’s a good example of strategy for political encouragement within a specific demographic: The Great Schlep for Jewish grandchildren and grandparents. You can take a page out of their book (or Torah?) and push the deaf community to GET OUT THE VOTE on Election Day 2008!
Every single vote counts.
And YOU matter!
(Photos courtesy of: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/84/Electoral_map.svg/800px-Electoral_map.svg.png)
Monday, October 20, 2008
Hey you, college students!
College’s the best time of your life. I know plenty of you are out there, talking about politics among yourselves for November 2008. Some of you support McCain, some of you support Obama, and there’s a good chance that a strong percentage of you support Ron Paul also.
Personal values, political beliefs, and leanings are always the main contributing factors in who we choose to support in politicians. Still, statistics have shown that certain politicians have the ability to galvanize the youth vote. Such examples would include Bobby Kennedy in 1968, Ronald Reagan in 1984, Howard Dean in 2004 Democratic Primaries, Ron Paul in 2008, and Barack Obama in 2008.
However, youth participation in politics is far more important than merely being interested in the subject of American elections and being attracted to certain candidates for their appeal to the youth. Politics and voting is a BEHAVIOR. As with all kinds of behavior throughout life, it’s something that’s learned and becomes a habit so the earlier you start, the greater your impact will be in your life. Statistics have shown that the younger age that a person votes, the more likely that voting will become a regular behavior for that same person.
When you vote at the earliest age possible (18+) and actually get yourself involved with the political process of America, your impact is much more important than you may realize. It goes beyond personal impact and responsibility; you can affect your friends (think: Pay It Forward-style chain of events) and they can affect their friends. I have personally seen the impact of this inspiring “Get Out the Vote” mentality among my fellow classmates and friends and let me tell you, it’s truly the best feeling ever… To know that you are actually making a difference.
It’s like the Domino Effect. By next election, the impact is greater and by next election after that, it’s bigger and so on. And since you’re connected to the deaf community, your impact jumps several level higher. Everybody knows that the deaf world is a small world and generational differences count for a lot. If the young deaf people are able to encourage each other and spontaneously mobilize their friends into voters or volunteers, it has the potential to turn into a long-term behavior. Eventually deaf people may become a voting bloc through just simple interest, participation, and behavior of one very important generation: the YOUTH!!
So you get the rhetoric and you’re fired up! Where do you start? College students can set up College Democrats of America (CDA) chapter or a Young Republican National Federation (YR) chapter. I’ve registered myself online with both of the organizations, CDA and YR, and I receive regular email updates from both organizations. You can contact the national organizations for youth political activism and lobby for a bi-lingual or Deaf caucuses. And while you’re at it you’re promoting awareness of your issues. You can create spaces for political interaction such as organizations, debate watch parties, voter registration drives, and volunteering together in political campaigns.
Last but not least, sign up to be part of Deaf Youth USA!
(Photos courtesy of the following websites:
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I explain about canvassing. What's it really like? Find out by watching the Vlog!
Transcript coming soon
I'm REALLY sorry... midterms are coming up and I got so many major projects for school. I'll add in the transcript later!
Meanwhile, enjoy the ASL :-)
Monday, October 6, 2008
13 members of the Gallaudet community volunteered to come down to Springfield, Virginia to help with Obama's campaign. We ended up canvassing!
NOTE: Just because this blog frequently shows the Democratic side does not mean that I'm pushing for you to vote Democratic. I highly recommend you to get involved with the party that most fits your political beliefs. There are a lot of Democratic and Obama events featured on this blog because I happen to be involved with them. My goal is for my personal experience to become an example for what great potential lies out there for the rest of deaf community's participation with politics.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This is a Vlog about how New Media has a positive impact on the politicians' ability to outreach to the deaf community in terms of accessibility, better information distribution, ease of networking, and more. I see a huge potential but we are not fully there.
Leah Katz-Hernandez: Hi, if you’re curious about how politicians learn their game, how to win, how to perfect a successful campaign, how to get votes for themselves… then here is the answer. I was fascinated by what interesting things I learned today during an all-day seminar here in Washington DC. They explain so much through an intensive set of workshops all day. Basically, the concept is the same as if you have a career in teaching and you would go to a conference for teachers where they have workshops explaining how to improve teaching strategies. For psychologists, there’s conferences where those with careers in psychology learn about new diagnosis, treatments, and so on. Again, it’s the same thing with politics. They do have conferences for political careers. Here, they explain how to capture and enthrall target voters, how to target, what makes a successful campaign, and many more things. The list goes on. One thing I found particularly interesting was the subject of Traditional Media and New Media – like blogs and vlogs. As I watched the panel, I realized that I’m part of the New Media. You see, the deaf people have truly immersed themselves into the New Media. However, for the politicians – New Media is a hot new thing to them. So when you consider that before today, deaf people were harder to reach for the politicians due to the traditional media. Campaign tactics would often include phone-calling and canvassing – and it didn’t work because it alienated the deaf people. But today we have newer technology: Emails, vlogs, and blogs… they’re all new things and accessible to the deaf people. So that means that we truly do have the potential to become a stronger voting bloc. Politicians should pay attention to us the deaf people!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Do you have anything you want to say to the deaf people who are watching the convention?
Salazar: "I am aware that we have deaf schools but they are not of as good quality as Gallaudet University."
Will you encourage deaf people to become politicians?
Salazar: "GO FOR IT!!!"
It's interesting to notice that he immediately mentioned that he was aware that deaf schools' quality could improve. Moreover, he knew of Gallaudet University's prestige, even though it's pretty safe enough to say that Gallaudet's quality is higher than secondary school. What I learned from speaking with him was that he was aware of deaf education and the importance of bi-lingual. I was especially struck by how he seemed very genuine when he was talking to me, how he didn't view communicating via paper-and-pen with Jacob as time consuming or annoying, and his sincerity in encouraing more deaf people being involved with politics.
I realized that he was one of the only three Hispanic Senators (Robert Menendez, D-NJ and Mel Martinez, R-FLA). This is especially important to note because the Hispanic population in America is often bi-lingual with English/Spanish languages. And if a person is able to speak only Spanish language, the person experiences the same thing as deaf people do in terms of communication barriers and frustrations. Thus, it would make sense that the Hispanic population could be sympathetic to our causes and we should be sympathetic to their causes, too. They are our allies in bi-lingualism.
In political networking, it's always a great idea to branch out beyond your core issues (such as deaf issues) to support other demographics' issues. The Latin quote of "Quid pro Quo" comes to mind; the loose translation is "What I give you, you give me." Sometimes, educating the hearing world can be tricky. However, you might be surprised at where you'd find strong supporters for your cause.
Never stop trying, never stop exposing and educating, and most importantly - never give up your activism! The more you participate with the political process, the more other people will learn from you. Then people at the top will listen to you and you are in a position to effect change for yoursef, your community, and other communities.
On Monday, September 22nd we had a massive voter registration drive at Gallaudet University. As a result, over 150 students were registered to vote for the first time. It was hugely successful and we are very proud of our hard work. Nothing feels better than looking at the face of a person who has just registered to vote and his or her expression is one of inspiration and American spirit. “I’ve become a full citizen now!”
Here are some pictures from the voter registration drive.
The entire thing took from 2 to 5 pm and it was located at the MultiPurpose room of Student Academic Building at Gallaudet University
Professor Frances Marquez hard at work registering new voters.
Victoria LeBlanc with author, blogger, and temporary professor Josh Swiller.
This would not have been possible without both the Rock the Vote and Long Distance Voter websites.
With the deadlines coming up closer and closer, it's all the more urgent that you not only register to vote yourself but also actively encourage other people to register to vote. For the past two weeks, I've been on a sort of personal mission to register as many people as possible. I encouraged people to go to voter registration. I picked on my little brother (who turned 18 only last June) until he registered and then I bragged about it. I went to a voter registration drive for Asian Americans at an Asian community festival and helped register three Asian Pacific Association members from Gallaudet. And I've been walking around with my laptop, always ready to register to vote anybody at any time.
How can you personally help the registration process or host your own voter registration drive?
This website has all the information on each state in America, the deadlines, the addresses, and even forms ready to be downloaded and printed out. Very useful. It's extremely critical that you know where to mail them and do it before the DEADLINE of the respective state!
The most simple voter registration website out there. All you need to do is fill out the online form, print it out, and mail it!
2) Have lots of supplies ready
You need all of the following: laptop, printer, paper, envelopes, stamps, pens and markers (for the envelope)
3) Follow the process
First you find the state. Print out the forms after the online registration. Then if you plan on using absentee ballots, print out the absentee ballot form. Put both (or only the registration if you plan to vote at your home location) in an envelope. Find the proper address to mail it to, write the address on the envelope, put the stamps on it, and mail it!
How easy is it?? It's truly very simple but it's a very powerful way to take the first step towards making your voice heard. Our biggest goal is a voting bloc and through this Gallaudet voter registration drive, we're now 150 votes closer to that goal. You can take the matters in your own hands and add more votes toward the great Deaf Voting Bloc!