Thursday, September 18, 2008

Joel Garcia: The Deaf Box


Hello, Im Joel Garcia and I'm a Gallaudet University student. Here we are at the SLCC building its nice and luxurious. Now, I would like to explain about The Deaf Box. Whats that? In a box, you have great benefits, resources, leadership, talent, and many other great things. However, remember to acknowledge that outside the box there are hearing people who look at us and wonder whats up with that? What are we doing in the box? All you need to do is bring that outside and expose, teach, and help them. The hearing people will learn something. All you the deaf people need to do is just expose to them that we have leadership within deaf people, have resources, and excellent talent all that in our community. The hearing people will be intrigued and want to work with us. That collaboration is good and very important. Now you must always keep in mind that in the deaf box, we hold dear so much values, language, and diversity yes that is fine. But you must think outside the box. You can bring what you have outside the box in order to expose and help the world so to create more benefit for us all. So, its really important for you to think outside the box. Have a good day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Photos Pah!!

Curious about photos from DNC? I bet you were!!

More than 400 students from all over America and internationally came to be part of the Presidential Academic Seminar at DNC 2008

Downtown Denver: This reminded me so much of Gallaudet University's Tower Clock!

The Gallaudet University group: Clockwise from left: Joel Garcia, Hamad Alhamad, Professor Mairin Veith, Olivia Liang, Professor Dr. Frances Marquez, Leah Katz-Hernandez, Jacob Leffler, Amy Speer, Andrew Magill, and Jay Reynolds.

More coming! :-)

How to Register to Vote - The Deaf Way

Here’s the online way you can register to vote yourself – through Rock the Vote website. All you need to do is fill out the online form, print out and mail it.

It’s so incredibly easy you won’t believe it! Spread the knowledge of this website by traditional deaf gossip – through emails, IM, word-of-mouth, VP, anything!

For in-person voter registration, you can go to your local DMV or MVA and register to vote there. If you choose to do this method, I highly recommend that you don’t go alone. Turn it into a great memory and bring along an unregistered voter who lives in the same area to register with you!

If you are working at a deaf school or mainstream school, talk with the people in authority at your school to increase awareness of the importance of voting. Register the students who are over 18 to vote. Talk to them, get them excited, and/or give rewards!

For those who are under 18 students, perhaps the teachers could have a field trip to the places where you register to vote. When these students turn 18, they will know where to go to register to vote. It could be just a fun field trip but you can take one extra step further by encouraging the students to tell their family members to register to vote.

Deaf/hard of hearing parents: instill in your children the values of voting. Voting is a behavior that is most often passed down through parental influence. Just imagine how strong of an influence you have over your children – you may have double, triple, or even more of an influence on the American government if all of your children ultimately become regular voters!

For Gallaudet University students: If you go to the library, the librarian will help you register to vote. They will provide all the appropriate papers and everything you need to become a registered voter at Gallaudet University! However, if you live out of Metro area - be sure to educate yourself on Absentee voting so your voice may be counted in November. (If CSUN and RIT has similar opportunities for registering to vote at their campuses, please let me know!) Here's the address from the Gallaudet website:

My Gallaudet University professor told us a story about her first time voting. She was just 18 and she went with her family to vote for the very first time. Afterwards, the family went to a restaurant. There, her father stood up in middle of the restaurant and announced to the whole restaurant that his daughter had just voted for the first time. And the whole restaurant clapped and cheered!

It’s a proud moment when you seize your right as an American citizen to vote. Have a party with all of your friends who just registered, too!

Winning by the Numbers

November is coming. We are now in the fall and our presidential candidates are traveling, stumping, and campaigning at full speed. One interesting thing I found out recently was that Barack Obama alone has registered 4 million first-time voters. The politicos are discussing that’s a high number – but is it enough come November?

Are four million votes enough to win an election?

In the past two presidential elections, we’ve seen it all boil down to ONE state that ultimately decided the outcome of the entire election. In spite of how much votes the opposing candidate gets, our dear American government system has a “winner takes all” kind of style when it comes to the presidential election.

2000: Florida - we all know what happened. But how many votes were disputed in Florida? More than 113,000 votes.

That’s less than a million.

2004: Ohio was the crucial battleground state for both parties. Despite all the debate, Bush won by 118,000 votes in Ohio.

That’s still less than a million.

So, considering the history of our recent presidential elections – we come to this conclusion: presidential elections can be decided by an extremely close margin. Of course, other factors count such as number of states won in the Electoral College, polls, media coverage, and the campaign strategies. Yet, the message remains the same: Sometimes you don’t need to be in excess of millions of votes to actually win.

The numbers need to be updated but as far as I know, there are 11 million people who identify themselves as either deaf or hard of hearing in America. How many of them are dependent on SSI/SSDI? How many of them know the benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation? How many of us have had our lives greatly improved with the ADA? All those things are the fruits of our American government. If you choose to take up the reins to steer the government in the direction that you want not only for yourself but also for the deaf community, all you need to do is vote.

A vote may not just change your life; it may change the lives for your fellow deaf people. It’s your duty and responsibility as an American citizen and a deaf person to register to vote and VOTE on the Election Day!

Remember the numbers again:

11 Million. We count.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A New Direction

Hello all,

I know I promised to update about INVESCO soon after the last post, but after the long flight there were repercussions – jetlag, sheer exhaustion, catching up for one week worth of missed classes, additional homework and paperwork for Gallaudet, and of course having in-person ASL conversations with a zillion people about my DNC experience. It’s good to be back home, yet at the same time I wished in some ways that my DNC experience could last forever. That was how wonderful it felt to be there.

Here are the posts that were meant to be updated a week ago. They are not the light posts you expected but rather heavy ones with serious subject matter and requiring some thought and, ultimately, action on your part.

Now, I’d like to talk about the new direction this blog is taking. I’ve decided that this blog is simply too much fun to stop with the conclusion of the Democratic National Convention. The attention my blog has received is proof that the new media – the kind of media that the deaf people have come to master since we first learned the impact of blogs and vlogs – is extremely efficient in getting information out and for grassroots activism. Therefore, I will continue this blog. Because this blog will no longer just focus on DNC, the title will now be simply “The Deaf Perspective.”

The direction will now be more generalized after DNC – but the theme will remain the same: Activism. New media. The importance of deaf population’s participation within our government.

I have my own political leanings, but I will try my best to ensure that this blog is non-partisan to ensure that the information is inclusive to ALL of the deaf population, regardless of their political bias. I hope that this blog will ultimately become so substantial with information regarding deaf people and political participation that it will serve as a resource for the deaf people seeking to make changes in their worlds and the greater sphere that we all cohabit together… for the greater good.

Best of all – this blog will continue to be completely accessible and bi-lingual with both ASL and English posts! J

- Leah

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Speech ASLized, Part Two

If you thought Hillary's speech was beautiful when you watched it on the TV, try watching it LIVE in ASL! I got chills up my arms and spine. Few times I became emotional. It was the same for everybody in the arena.

My interpreter, Ilise Meyers, is wonderful!

Hillary Clinton's Speech ASLized, Part One

Sorry, I wasn't able to catch the introduction... If you thought Hillary's speech was beautiful when you watched it on the TV, try watching it LIVE in ASL! I got chills up my arms and spine. Few times I became emotional. It was the same for everybody in the arena.

My interpreter is wonderful! At one part in this video, she stops interpreting and starts interpreting for whoever was talking to us on the floor. It was only three seconds of interruption.