Part III - Actually, the DDBDDHH Community--Mostly Youth--Started the #DeafEd Movement
Today we post the final part of our response to the Daily Dot article. Please read Part One & Part Two of this three-part series if you have not already. Please join our next Twitter chat on December 8th at 7:30 p.m. EST, where we discuss "Deaf Education in the Age of Mass Incarceration."
Here are our final responses which includes our perspectives on the impact of the #DeafEd Movement, some of our goals for the Movement, and our thoughts on why people should continue to care about & join this Movement.
Q5: Do you feel that you are currently reaching those goals?
MICAH: As for myself, I think it's always going to be a journey to self-analyze and improve/adjust in how to best advocate or provide resources for other students. #DeafEd has helped me in this, in that I have gained a better understanding of my rights to education while I'm still in college as well as how my upbringing plays a significant role in my perspective of life.
In general #DeafEd is taking steps in the right direction, as a tool for anyone and everyone involved to be able to gather and share resources and ideas.
HEIDI: I do. Like I said previously, each month is inconsistent in participation. However, we are getting more new people joining our conversations. Even a few college professors are having their classes tweet and even joining the chat! I don't think we will ever reach the goal because we will never reach every person we hope to reach, but the more awareness of #DeafEd we bring each day, ultimately the more lives of children we are impacting.
TL: We are constantly working toward those goals and many others.
Education is a journey, not a destination—a practice, not a test score, grade, or lecture. #DeafEd is where you learn all of this and so much more. This will be a life-long effort for all involved.
Q6: What next steps would you like to see?
MICAH: I would love to see #DeafEd continue, and continue witnessing teachers/professionals/parents adapt to better suit the current students' needs.
Seeing more people host these chats and what new topics they bring up would be greatly beneficial, because there may be topics or perspectives that I still am not yet aware of.
HEIDI: As a group, we feel it is time to pass the torch on to others who can move #DeafEd forward. We hope to find someone who can enhance what we have started and bring fresh perspectives and ways of attracting more people to Twitter and the chat.
LAUREN: While the #DeafEd movement is still a new concept to many, it is a critical platform to disseminate information on current trends in Deaf Education, and to have an open dialogue on issues in a field that is seemingly controversial to many due to varying perspectives. This platform is one way to tear down walls, and to connect educators throughout the world. Often times, teachers of the Deaf are isolated due to the low incidence population, so coming together for a monthly chat, helps to bridge all of us together and share resources.
TL: I would like to see how we can connect with people who may not have access to the internet or linguistic, economic, or other privileges to be able to effectively participate in these sorts of dialogues. We have done well to ensure that this space is as accessible as possible. I would like to see the physical version of current virtual #DeafEd chats established in communities in accessible spaces and languages.
I also would like to see Youth serve as consultants to administrators and educators in schools and universities across the nation. This should be standard practice.
Q7: Why should readers care about #DeafEd?
LAUREN: Our voices as teachers must not be silent. We must work with the system that has been handed down by those who think they know best for our Deaf students. We may be teachers, but we are also leaders. It is how we raise our voice that matters, not our titles. We do not need a certain position of power to reverse injustices. We know deep down what is best for our students and we cannot be afraid to promote it. We must teach our students to be advocates of their own lives, because if they do not advocate for themselves, they will not be able to navigate their way in this world. #DeafEd is an opportunity to advocate for our students, and to spread awareness on what defines #DeafEd.
MICAH: Access to education plays a significant role in how far people are able to go, as well as how aware they become of their rights.
Students with disabilities are more likely to be suspended (even more so if the student is a person of color) and sucked into the School to Prison Pipeline, a major contributor to #DeafinPrison (another area that I am getting more involved in, as an intern for Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf).
Schools will hold high expectations for "normal" behavior even when the school environment is "abnormal" for the student theirself. As such the student is often set up for failure then due to lack of education, lack of awareness of their rights (due to not having education on this), and the frustrations of being in a world that is not set up for their needs, their culture, their language & tools (whether this is ASL, tactile sign language, cueing, etc).
Almost every person knows someone who was "that kid" in school; problematic, lashing out, aggressive, and/or needing extra attention from the teachers. But have they really taken the time to consider why that is, or whether the negative perceptions of "that kid" are coming from a place of ignorance?
#DeafEd is a great starting point, in getting to learn from actively-engaged advocates of #DeafEd, and the DDBBHH students that are affected, because we are the ones that ARE the source. There is a serious issue of people who need "proof" of how education impacts DDBDDHH students in the form of written research by multi-privileged academic peers, rather than believing marginalized people's stories in the first place. Please note this is common in all areas of injustice, especially racism and ableism.
In conclusion, there needs to be a deliberate inclusion of DDBDDHH people into education to ensure competency amongst everyone as this is an area that often serves as a gateway in/out of prison and/or a better, safer life.
TL: #DeafEd is where we move toward freedom and liberation in education & society.
I have participated in numerous education-centric chats. There are many things that set #DeafEd apart from others. The one that I want to name here is the fact that #DeafEd centers perspectives from multiply-marginalized DDBDDHH Youth like Micah (@MicahzLewis), Alex (@AVHadvocacy ), Tina (@TinaxBanerjee ) and Cortez (@csh7893), just to name a few. This is exceptional—though it absolutely should not be. Perhaps #DeafEd will start a trend in ed chats where we center the voices of those whose education, lives and future are at stake.
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I dream incessantly of justice. Hoping to calm my mind & stir yours through this freedom space.