How has Deaf President Now (DPN) at Gallaudet University affected our lives?

November 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

For many years, Deaf people were under the power line and controlled and defined by hearing people. We were often misled by them and under the impression that we could not do anything because we have the inability to hear.

We, Deaf People, know that we can do anything hearing people do except hear. Unfortunately, many hearing people did not agree with us.

Until DPN, we finally got our request to have a Deaf President. And schools for the Deaf around the country were finally able to have superintendents; senior administers, teachers, etc. who are Deaf.

Also, many bills were passed which promoted the rights of Deaf and other disabled people. In 1993, Senator Tom Harkin, whose brother is Deaf and is a long time advocator for Gallaudet University, admitted that the Congress passed more bills in the five years between DPN and 1993.

The door is now open to many opportunities for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the country as well as other countries. We have Deaf people holding Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees as well as Doctorates. Also, there are many professionals, business-people, lawyers, doctors, and entertainers who are Deaf.

When I think about the past, my Deaf parents and most of their friends worked in the factories because hearing people always said, “You can’t because you can not hear”.

My hearing Aunt, my father’s sister was furious that the Deaf Students at Gallaudet protested for a Deaf President Now because we embarrassed the entire population. I looked at her and said that Deaf people have been oppressed too long and we feel it is time to show them what we can do; not what we cannot do.  She was stunned because she had never thought of it this way. I also mentioned that her brother, my dad, could have become a doctor or scientist, but his dream was banned. Now, we know all children are able to have their dreams without any struggles or barriers what they want to become when they are young adults.

Deaf President Now protest at the US CapitolDPN delivered a powerful message in 1988 to hearing people, and its underlying motivation of self-determination and empowerment. We, Deaf people, also taught them that it is better to look at what Deaf people can do than what they cannot.

Now, many hearing people are taking sign language classes and many hearing babies are encouraged to use sign language to stimulate early language and communication development.

We, Deaf people, have advanced techniques to help us be equal to hearing people now. We are able to see that we all are treated equally and respectfully.

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf Peer Counselor

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Entry filed under: Advocacy, Deaf/HoH -- Vlog, Disability History. Tags: , .

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