Why the DBC Conference Rocks!

6 min. vlog explaining Why DBC Conference Rocks for me


examines 2 reasons:
1. demonstrated there is power in numbers – collective voice, you are not alone
2. it gave AG Bell members and DBC members a chance to SEE each other.

Some AB Bell members that i bumped into in the convention center looked a bit like they got caught smoking or in a brothel or something. they really did look uncomfortable and seemed to be checking to see who was watching. I dont fully understand this reaction – if im scary, if DBC is scary, if they didn’t want folks to see them signing, if they thought the twain shall never meet. not sure – me.

When i was in the AG Bell convention center with some DBC folks and one was videotaping a conference center representative (meaning the bldg not the AG Bell association) approached us and said no videotaping or photographing. This woman could sign and had a hearing aid. She would talk to the big boss and then relay info to us and back and forth. Its interesting how they would use a bilingual person to shadow us. When said – “isn’t an odd rule no videotaping / photographs?” She replied, “yes it is very odd.”

We had a march around the convention center, which takes up a full block and some AG Bell members came to the window to watch us all. We peacefully signed ILY handshape and many signed it back. One even signed “signing is fine. Signing is ok” Some AG Bell members stated that AG Bell association is not against ASL for deaf children. This is a confusing message since the organization still bears the name of AG Bell, whom was opposed to ASL being part of a deaf child’s educational experience and wrote, presented, and organized against ASL and Deaf culture and since there is no evidence of bilingualism being part of the AG Bell association mission

bold text not part of the vlog

Quote from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by President elect of AG Bell, Jay Wyant
“Our focus is on spoken language,” he said. “If a parent says I want to combine spoken language with other things, we say, ‘Wonderful, we’ll help you find the people you need.’ “

If ASL is ok – why not name it? its not a dirty word anymore folks – the above does not represent a receptiveness by AG Bell to ASL as a part of a Deaf child’s life

In the 2nd article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the AG Bell director of communications, Catherine Murphy said:
“A.G. Bell’s position is that we’re not against sign language,” she said. “We’re for choices.”
Bruce Goldstein, a Bell member and lawyer specializing in special education law, summarized the group’s position: “We support choice for parents. We promote speaking and listening.”

DBC is not against speaking and listening skills – DBC supports choices – the choice and freedom to acquire information and knowledge via English and ASL

Will vlog about other discussions with AG Bell members and a bit re: some of the DBC presentations soon

big thanks to the Deaf Bilingual Coalition for organizing this conference – it was a huge undertaking and very very very formative

just the beginning folks


patti durr


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DE
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 16:42:58

    Thank you for the very nice observation(s)- that individuals fighting for bilingualism are no longer alone, and that if AG Bell the organization (today) is OK with ASL, why keep their namesake… as always, your keen eye is a wonder to behold.

    Thank you for being one of the 700 who came out to Milwaukee and actively advocated for ASL and happier families!


  2. deafchipmunk
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 17:01:09

    Hi Patti,

    I share with your wonderful experience with DBC. I did not have a chance to meet with you during the convention due to so many events and new friends. I want to express you that I agree with you completely about DBC convention that is the best convention of best conventions.

    We can spread out positive message about Bilingualism for Deaf babies and children! Unity is the key for Deaf Community and new members (deaf babies/children and their families)


  3. anna s
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 17:03:46

    Thank you for the honesty and willingness to share this fact with us all!

    I sought AGB’s help in mandating AVT services 5 days a week for my CI child whose first language was ASL. AGB knew my son used sign language and was also oral at specific times of the day. They provided legal support and our school district complied to the request. Big thanks to AGB’s free legal assistance!

    The idea of getting both sides to sit at the round table total would be a dream come true!

    All the hype about AGB as a demon organization is pure hogwash and the continued hateful words by some of the DBC members about AGB and cochlear implants are going to be the very demise of their organization!

    CI or not, ASL for all.

    Great vlog, Patti!

  4. Nick Vera
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 20:24:26

    Hi Patti,

    I enjoyed viewing your vlog and it is my passion to know about the latest news about DBC. I applauded for DBC’s best effort for the nationwide’s first and foremost peaceful rally including the conference itself.
    I concurred with you about AGB’s negative message toward the deaf people in the past. Now, AGBell organization’s mission apparently show very vague as you mentioned that the AGBell members approached your group saying that they are not opposed ASL. Are they trying to convince our group to believe what they just said? Or telling the truth? That’s something that the core members need to sit down the round table with AGBell board members to clarify about their mission statement and goals for the deaf children.
    In fact, I am rooting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing babies to have their abilities to learn ASL at early age essentially.

    Indeed, every individual have their different views on oralism, cued speech, Cochlear Implant, and ASL. Yet, we need to come together and to discuss on the table by understand where we stand. Importantly, the next generations need to learn bilingual lessons and improve their literacy skills to accomplish. That’s what I care about!

    Thank you! I am proud of everybody attending DBC to empower ourselves and to show our passion for deaf babies with ASL.



  5. Deaf Advocate
    Jul 05, 2008 @ 20:53:16


    Interesting vlog and thanks for sharing!

    Based on my experience growing up in oral ennvironment, they tend to double talk – they say they support ASL but under same breath – they try to say not to use it.

    This is something that AGBAD has to figure out based on their history of oppression and manipulation.

    It would be nice to get everyone to the table and discuss those issues.

    128 years of cronyism needs to end on their part!



  6. MM
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 01:57:05

    I do find some of these posting amusing to be honest, regarding A G Bell and the DBC. I KNOW from personal experience if you get 2 or more deaf people in the same room they WILL find a happy compromise, I think that is the problem you are holding seperate meets and people are attacking each other, try going to a club or neutral area and just sit down, and TALK. Not rocket science. AG Bell/DBC joint conferences, get it sorted.

  7. DR Hocokan
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 07:12:45

    Good to know. You said AG Bell needed to clarify themselves. Many will say the same thing about DBC’s need to clarify themselves since they mixed Deafhood into DBC’s core issues. Conflicting messages are seen in DBC as well so there is a need to sit together and seek common grounds so that we are able to work together. You will find such discussion at my blog at http://hocokan.blogspot.com/2008/07/hocokan-center.html.

    Enjoyed your vlog. Keep these positive message coming. We all must!


  8. pdurr
    Jul 06, 2008 @ 07:30:29

    DE thanks for all u have done for DBC – it’s a huge undetaking and im sure very consuming

    Deafchipmunk – agreed!

    Anna – I am very glad AG Bell association was very helpful to you and your son. You wrote;
    …and the continued hateful words by some of the DBC members about AGB and cochlear implants are going to be the very demise of their organization!

    Can you cite examples of where DBC members have spewed hateful words re: AGBell and CI?

    Nick – great comments and I am rooting too

    Paul – we all engage in double speech when we choose not to be honest. It is important for us to call ourselves to be honest while we challenge AG Bell association firmly and with love.

    MM – Not sure what you are finding amusing. I think DBC has made a lot of noble efforts to engage with the leaders of the AG Bell association – in terms of going to the pub with members of the AG Bell association – that is no biggy at all and usually a fun time.

    The challenge is making contact and being change agents at the top levels meaning AG Bell executive director etc.

    In terms of what we have in common – it is a love and caring for Deaf children to have the best.

    To all – thanks for your comments

  9. Trackback: AG Bell, Tear Down This Wall; Let All Deaf Children Sign; The Deaf Bilingual Coalitio - AllDeaf.com

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