Deaf Protest – One Guy’s Opinion…

Okay folks – I just got an email about a pending protest that some deaf individuals are planning to have on June 16th.  Now I am going to have to admit, I am really bothered by this approach.  I am speaking from a personal level – this approach in my opinion will not reflect positively with us and the deaf community.  We, the deaf community have already been reflected negatively by the people from our two protests at Gallaudet.  The first one was acceptable and totally understandable – but the second one people were like again??

Granted they may NOT understand why, but its is not the point.  The point is we need to make our opportunities in a positive manner and have people to reflect off us in a positive manner.  For example I am going to say this – we are at fault for where we are.  As I wrote in my “Together we Stand, Divided we Fall” article.  We are just as responsible for this situation as they the hearing community is.  You ask why?  I’ll tell you why!
What have we done in the last 20 years?  Have we made an effort to create an organization that could be a political and vocal voice for the deaf community?  No we haven’t.  Instead we whine and cry about what we don’t have.   You know from the late 80’s to the mid-90’s we had Deaf Awareness week – which was a wonderful way of exposing the deaf community to the City of Houston.  And keep in mind back then we dont have all the technology or media we have now.   But by having Deaf Awareness week and utilize this as our opportunity to educate the City of Houston on the people we have in Houston would yield in a much more positive manner.   And I know someone has been talking they are looking to start it up again this year!  *hands waving*  This – I believe would yield more recognition and in a much positive manner than having a protest.  Honestly from what I am hearing the community is divided on this protest.  And if the community is divided on this protest – then we will fail.  We will not look like a strong community.

Keep in mind – everything takes patience – we have to educate the community and the people on our needs.  It took me almost two years to get my work to finally provide me a video phone for work.   And it was all on education because they don’t understand.    All I am asking is, take a step back – lets organize this deaf awareness week – get the media involved so we can utilize this as an opportunity to express ourselves.  (those of you who would like to get involved – please do so – Deaf Awareness Week can’t be done just by 1 or 3 people – it requires a COMMUNITY of you!

But what I do ask is, take a step back – pull back lets have Deaf Awareness Week, lets keep trying to educate the community and if next year comes around and we still are being fustrated.  Then lets come up with facts, come up with issues, come up with true dedicated information then we as WHOLE can go and protest.   I just ask of this from you!  Do not lose faith – keep the faith.  Lets work together in a positive way and focus on the positives.  A protest at this time is not going to help, lets do our part.  Create more information, create an organizaton who can help one another, educate the community, and if we are still not getting any positive results then we proceed.

Remember Together we Stand, Divided we Fall.  Think about it and choose your path…


About Billy Koch

Billy Koch, a deaf professional who works in the IT industry, currently works for The Methodist Hospital System for MITIE as a IT Project Coordinator. Billy has over 15 years of IT experience behind him. Billy is the son of a deaf parents, and has a deaf brother as well. He grew up in a mainstream program with no deaf education program. He was first exposed to the deaf culture when he attended Gallaudet University for his Bachelors from 91-96. Billy has a MBA from West Texas A&M, and is currently the Executive Director of Greater Houston Deaf Connections, a non-profit organizations that focuses on education, advocacy, and support for deaf and hard of hearing people. He is an aspiring guy who wants to also educate the community of what they can do and what they can achieve.

6 responses to “Deaf Protest – One Guy’s Opinion…”

  1. Jay Jackson says:

    I agree. It seems to me that a protest was planned in haste and we as community were not given enough time and information to discuss this.

    I think that it is only fair to us that the nature of meeting is wide open to everyone and that the details become available. Also, it is not enough to say that we are protesting because of poor service to the deaf/HOH community. I need precdent. I need information. One blog post is not enough.

    And to start off a blog with a planned protest for the first post does really reflect well on how thought out this has been.

  2. Longster says:

    I agree whole heartily with your article. Their website didn’t list any information or facts about why we should protest. The last thing we need is to be uninformed and end up looking like a tool. Especially when it comes to media.

  3. Bradley Porche says:

    I am glad Billy brought this issue on the front plate and creates discussion among the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community on this very issue. Billy is not alone in opposing the idea of having a protest, sadly, I am declaring my opposition as well. One reason is not because I think we should not protest for the very rights of the Deaf individual but on how this protest will achieve. With any strategies, you must be aware of what the justification is for, is there any evidence of widespread abuse against the Deaf community within the city of Houston, and lastly, with any protest – protesting on the message DOES NOT WORK.

    Since I was not aware of the protest being taken place until last night when I received an email from the co-founder. The very first thing I thought is, why have I not heard about it, why was I not aware of any meeting taking place, and what are the strategies in this protest in order to achieve something? I came to a realization that this protest will fail utterly but at the same time, I applaud the founder and co-founder for bringing the issue to light. As a leader, you cannot think that you can bring one side solution to the problem such as having the Deaf community to protest and expect the Hearing community to come to the table and find to a solution. If you look at the Deaf President Now achieved a remarkable result because the leader had a meeting few months before the protest took place, they came up with a plan on what should be done and made a proposal it to the Board Members of Gallaudet Unversity, and they made sure that EVERY student was aware of the issue. When the Board Member refuse to compromise to the demands of the DPN the protest took place and the world took notice. The leaders knew what had to be done and they did it spectacularly.

    Now, compare that to the recent protest that took place at Gallaudet about having the right President for Gallaudet University and it was full of chaos and everyone got mixed message of what was going on. Why? They failed to meet with the student body, they did not have a proposal of how to select a President (all they complained was that students were excluded but not how the procedure is to take place in voting), there were too many leaders and some protesters resort to verbal abuse that lead to a resignation to one of our beloved Board Member that is highly respected in the Deaf community. The biggest problem of that protest was the mix message and many people thought it was the issue of “Are you DEAF enough?” It created a firestorm among the Deaf community and the leader of the protest was scrambling to try to correct the message and it failed.

    Basically, this recent protest is a good example Billy’s message….”Together we stand, divide we fall.”

    The lesson to learn from this is…”You can pick your battles, but the battle does not always come with a result in your favor. In order to make it a favorable result, you must have a achievable/divine plan.”

    All I am asking is for the founder and co-founder to hold off the protest and go back to the “drawing” board and come up with a better plan with invitation that extends to everyone in the community so there can be a more democratic debate on this issue.

    On a note, I would like to say that it is ironic that this protest that is taking place is creating a firestorm and division among those in the Deaf community which would lead to more people showing up at the next meeting. So here is a proposal for the founder and co-founder, why don’t you contact one of us (contributor of DPHHH artlcles) and provide us a time, place, date of this meeting so we can all show up and have a debate that provides a democratic ideas and solutions?

    Thank you,
    Bradley Porche

  4. Julie Reese says:

    I agree with you guys above. What is the protest about? Where are the details? Why? There’s no justification in riling up the Deaf Community without giving a reason or an explanation of what is going on when making a public announcement on a blog like that.

    I do know City of Housto/Houston Police Department has been trying to improve relationships with the Deaf Community such as Officer James Sobota. He holds monthly classes to address certain issues such as public safety, et cetera with ASL interpreters/CART provided to the Deaf Community. I receive his monthly announcements. He is always open to receiving feedback from the Deaf community on how to improve certain issues with the HPD or City of Houston.

    I think we can take a mature, professional approach by educating public entities on certain issues rather than leading a Big “D”-Gally style protest. (When I say Big “D”, I’m referring to Deaf Power or Pride, whatever). How we approach the situation WILL be observed by the Media. Whatever the Media says will influence our image as a deaf community. So I hope the leaders take a careful approach by posting all the information on the blog to explain their position and be able to justify their reasons for a protest that can potentially stir up the pot. Either it’ll be successful or it’ll go bust and we’ll end up looking like a bunch of attention-craving deafies.

    However, I have good faith those Houston Rights leaders will do whatever it takes to address certain issues and make their voices be heard. Good luck to those who are participating in the protest!

  5. Micasigning says:

    This march has peaked my interest, but I’m not the protesting type…

    I think the only reason I might march is to learn and educate those who do not understand how they are discriminating and not offering equal rights. Example: I’m white and was taught not to discriminate against black people. When I became an adult I started hearing my parents use words that I don’t remember hearing them say growing up and would tell them not to use certian words that are not acceptable or politically correct anymore to describe people with black skin. This is a basic reference, but you get the idea… If no one tells them, how will they know?

    There are other more important situations that need to be addresses such as the need for qualified interpreters. I understand that many interpreters have been laid off due to the ressesion and because they don’t meet the new requirements mandated by the state of Texas. This is good and bad. Good that the bar for excellent interpreters has been raised, yet unfortunate that there is a big demand in that field. I think one problem is bugeting… how will the state,city and counties make adjustments to either hire interpreters to be on call… or will they start requireing that there be several police on duty that are qualified to interpret. I’m curious how they meet the need for Spanish speaking citizens needing a Spanish speaking police or interpreter.

    If I’m not able to march that day, how can I support the cause as a concerned hearing citizen?

  6. Dianne Barnett says:

    well i agree that . it is not fair all that problem . i have been there before and i fight all the time . they do not liston at all. i have been to explain them also does not liston at all. they do not read by law at all and where is book of law . i feel that they do not care about that lot of problem . my friend have been call for me and to tell her about me and my friend told them to call tty and they said that they can not use tty to call me my home and can not use to call tty . that is kind of weird that. what they should know better and lot of deaf can not hear phone . i can see that they told her they can not use that . i think they want talk on by phone and i am deaf and can not talk on phone . that reason i am mad and what reason and what is problem same thing like bank , realter , doctor , hospital and other thing . should be use this tty or vp or other what they have or not have anywhere. also when car broke down how i call need help on freeway and no phone myself and not safe for myself and kind of scare by dark and to danger . but i agree that . need more .

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