Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Leah Katz-Hernandez: How to Canvass

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 :-)


Pepe C. said...

Nice to see Deaf people canvassing! In 2004 30 Gallaudet students canvassed in Florida for the John Kerry/John Edwards campaign. The trip was funded by Emily's List, you could probably find an organization to send many Deaf students to another state for free if you look around.

Anonymous said...

Canvassing is fascinating to me! I hope I will get some experience in canvassing someday! Keep it up, Leah!


articulated milburnism said...

very awesome. too bad not many deaf people (here in Rochester, at least) are politically motivated.

Brian Milburn

yosemitesam said...

Brian Milburn,
I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your efforts. It is amazing to me as well, how little interest Deaf people take in their own government. But I do understand this. This is not the first time we've seen segments of society refuse to take an interest because they feel so downtrodden that the government, which is supposed to be for ALL, has ignored them over the years. And it will take a fight and we can't give up. The ADA was like throwing Deaf people a piece of candy, hoping they will be satisfied. I was part of a delegation from my home State of Oklahoma. that went to Washington, D.C. in 1989 to speak with Senators and Congressmen about the ADA. The only difference between me and the others in our delegation, was that I'm a late deafened adult. I had only been deaf for 3 years when they asked me to be a part of this. When I sat in the rooms with those Senators and Congressmen and watch them talk about captioning programs on tv, what I saw was great excitement from the other Deaf people with me. Since even captioning of tv programs was a big deal, most of the other people didn't want to "push their luck" and ask for more. But I did. Because I had just recently came from a world where I had total access to my government and now, I had little or no access. Only 16 out of 100 Senators have TDD/TTY lines in their offices -- all of which are in their Washington, D.C. offices, not in their home state offices, meaning if Deaf persons want to call their representatives, they must make a long distance call. For people...any people, to take an interest in their government, they first have to feel that their government has their interests at heart. This is not the case with the Deaf community. And the ADA did not help with jobs like we thought it would. In many places around the U.S., the unemployment rate among Deaf people is as high as 75%.
So I understand the feeling of not being listened to and then feeling it's a waste of time to try. But we can make our voice heard. Every Deaf person in this nation, can compose one single letter, telling their Representatives what they think needs to be changed to make their government work for them. Then send that letter...email or mail it, EVERY SINGLE WEEK. And if your Representative tries to brush you off by saying, "I will take this under advisement", don't accept that. Keep sending your letter and tell them you intend to send the letter until something is done. And when I say "something is done", I mean LEGISLATION....LAW. President Obama himself said that a President must deal with more than one thing at a time. He has the staff to get this done and yet his first address to the nation...was only an address to the "hearing nation", because he didn't even take the time to caption it. Look at Al Franken from Minnesota. He worked with Project Read On and captioned every single video on his website. And he had far less money and staff to work with than Obama. Nothing ever gets done in Washington unless you make sure they hear you and that they understand you will not just go away. Compose your letters and send them, every week or every day like I do. It should and must be law that our Representatives may never appear in public or in any video that is not accessible to us. They work for us. We put them in office. They must be accountable to us, just as they are accountable to the hearing population. These are our RIGHTS as Americans. As long as the government thinks they are doing us a "favor" by tossing a few inconsequential things our way, they will never fully understand what it is we demand...what it is our right to demand -- full and complete access to our government.

yosemitesam said...

I just wanted to follow up my previous comment with an example of why Deaf people...indeed all disabled persons, need to and must get involved in their government. I posted several blogs in other places around the internet (non-Deaf blogs). I received some of the most nasty responses you can imagine. I was told that disabled people should calm down...be patient...let the system catch up to our needs. That is unacceptable and it just won't work and here is why. Stop and think deeply about what just happened in our nation. We just elected the first African-American President in the history of our nation. But if we forget how this came about, then we are lost. Obama didn't accomplish this great thing on his own. He didn't accomplish it with all the money he had. He accomplished it on the backs of every single Black person who went before him and stood up and said "no more". He accomplished it on the backs of every Black person that was murdered to stop Black people from having equality.
For African-Americans to gain equality in this nation, Rosa Parks had to refuse to sit at the back of the bus. Medgar Evers had to die to get us to where we are today. Marin Luther King Jr. had to give up his life in order to advance the cause of equality for African-Americans. And the list goes on and on. If we had told these people to "calm down" and "wait for the government to catch up to their needs", we would not have an African-American President today.
As disabled persons, we must do the same. We must fight, we must make sacrifices -- sacrifices of time and energy and involvement. We cannot leave this problem up to the educated Gallaudet graduates who have developed a sense of civic awareness. It is everyone's responsibility. One person, one vote. That is where our power lies. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you don't know how to register to vote, get help. There will be someone in your community that can help. Don't be afraid to write your Representatives...they work for you. Insist on answers.
We've seen how easy it is for the rest of the world to forget about us. We must remind them that we are here and we want the same rights as everyone else. If you understand how to register to vote the voting process, reach out to those others who may not understand it and help them. Power lies in numbers and that's why this is a job we must all undertake.

yosemitesam said...

What is needed now, is one central website for all disabled persons. One site, which all disabled persons can come and find out the process by which to register to vote and the obstacles one might encounter when they actually go to vote, and how to overcome those obstacles. A central website like this could be instrumental in making the process of registering to vote and voting, for disabled persons, easier and more understandable. This would be a site that any disabled person can come to....put in their state, and get a comprehensive understanding of how to register to vote and if there is early voting and how to navigate the difficulties of voting as a disable person. This can be done!!! It is essential if we are to make our voice heard.