Monthly Archives: April 2011

$1.5 Million dollars – Deaf shall not = Death

Heye all:


Just learned that there is a $1.5 MILLION Dollar civil settlement in the murder of John T. Williams, a partially-Deaf First Nation woodcarver, by a Seattle police officer.

As John T.’s brother, Rick, noted – this will not bring John back.

“This is one step towards justice, but it is only a step. Nothing can make up for the loss of my brother,” said Rick Williams, who is the administrator of the John T. Williams estate.

But it is something.  it is a measure of something to finally see something acknowledge that John T. Williams was Deaf and that officer Birk’s shooting of him in the span of a few secs was UNJUSTIFIED.

Birk told investigators he fired shots after Williams refused commands to put down a knife. But it was later revealed that Williams was partially deaf and may not have heard Birk’s commands.

I have been worried folks.

I was worried when i first learned of the case – worried about how sometimes being Deaf ends up in being Dead

We had some murders of Deaf folks of color in Rochester, NY a couple of decades ago – since then our police force has under gone alot of training and worked VERY closely with our Deaf community developing videotapes, inservices, outreaching, etc and no other unjustified shooting of Deaf folks has happened in Rochester, NY since.

so while these improvements can never bring back the loved ones and our lost members it is just the weeest measure towards – u did not die in vain and that is an important gain.  however small it is the greatest one we can hope for – that no one else will go that route.

I’m especially grateful to the National Association of the Deaf for having sent a STRONG letter (click the LETTER in  link) to the Seattle Police Dept expressing their outrage at the murder of John T. Williams and informing them of various guides they have re: Police interaction with Deaf individuals.  I dont know if the letter played a role in the settlement but i am sure it did not hurt.  And the lack of any letter from the NAD would have been a disgrace and an outrage.  John deserves our taking a stand and i’m so glad to finally see some type of organizational response beyond Audism Free America’s message of standing with the First Nation in mourning the loss of John T. Williams and their call for an investigation.

I am still incredibly sad that this happened.  I am still incredibly sad when i re-visit some of the comments in my first blog entry re: John’s killing in which a member of the Deaf community defended/justified/rationalized the officer’s action and minimized any possible audism in the equation.  It still pains me to think on this.

but my overall feeling is one of a quiet relief that Birk is no longer a police officer, the Deaf community spoke out via AFA and NAD on behalf of John T. Williams, the Seattle police dept made the watching of a video on encountering Deaf individuals while on patrol mandatory, and this $1.5 million award has been granted.

I hope some day to be able to see an exhibit of John T. Williams’ carvings and to thank his family for staying so true to him.  They have been humble but diligent in their quest for justice for John and their desire to ensure it never happen again.  I admire them.

link to article that the quotes above r lifted from: (thanks for the link Don g)

past People of the Eye entries re: John T. Williams (yes, i got very affected by this case!)

Being Deaf is Deadly???

More Links on the shooting of John T. Williams

4 votes – William Not Imminent Threat

Police Off for Murder of John T Williams

NAD – Thank U and John T Williams ILY

The Truth Prevails – think of it always




The Truth about Failures

The Truth about Failures

Heye all – im a stickler for the truth so when folks keep slinging falsehoods I feel compelled to dispel the b.s. and cut to the chase.  They do this for a reason ya know – they pull out the lamest and blameyest games they can when they are…. Failing!

But since so many folks come late to the party or go about life with their eyes closed – we shall review the facts.

What has failed?

1. Oralism FAILS

Dismally according to the Babbidge report and the ICED 2010 New Era Agreement.  The campaign against American Sign Language and other natural signed languages FAILS.

2. Mainstreaming FAILS

Abysmally according to the Commission on the Education of the Deaf and the latest statistics that don’t show a big gain in literacy skills

3. Artificial Sign Systems FAIL

SEE I, SEE II, LOVE I, LOVE 2, Cued speech, and sim-com cuz very few folks continue using those artificial systems past the period of forced servitude

4. Cochlear implants FAIL

complications, inconsistent results, recalls, lawsuits, corporate deviance, etc and the things still can’t reliably make a Deaf being hear equally to a Hearing being.  Sure there are a few stellar poster children but there were a few of those during the first wave of Oralism too.  By and large  the data is showing that AT BEST all CI do is elevate a Deaf child to being a hard of hearing child and instead of elevating that usually tosses them into limbo land and they get lost in the downstream.  Its a mighty expensive built-in ipod and it has some worrisome side effects.

Not to mention the deaths, infections, paralysis, chronic headaches years later, the skin breakdown at the magnetic site, etc

Sovona , the Swiss Hearing devices co., has chopped several major big wigs out after insider trading was revealed.   It seems spreading the falsehood that all is well with Advance Bionics cochlear implants and they should be back on the market as asap is not cool with the share holders

Not even AG Bell Association wants to be associated with sued and fined CI companies (Advanced Bionics and Cochlears America) via their Circle Alliance Partnership

and some of the Cochlear Implants fail HOT!

5. I King Jordan’s plans to have Jane Fernandes replace him as president of Gallaudet to usher in the New World order FAILED

see Unity for Gallaudet protest 2006

6. Keeping AG Bell Dorm Name and Revised Plaque at NTID FAILS

see Orange & Brown Coalition

7. AB 2072 FAILS

see the governor’s veto

8. Cutting 4201 Schools’ budget FAILS

see the NY State revised and finalized budget

9. Destroying the DBC, CAD, AFA, and Deafhood Foundation FAILS

see they are alive and well and busy

10. Deafread and DVTV attempt to get Purple back as a sponsor FAILS

11. (added 4/30/2011) Gallaudet’s board of trustee’s attempt to maintain status quo falsehood of “Hearing knows best” by appointing a Hearing non-signing President of Gallaudet FAILS thanks to the Deaf President Now protest of 1988

12. (added 4/30/2011) Seattle, Washington’s attempt to whitewash the unjust and unjustifiable murder of a partially Deaf First nation woodcarver, John T. Williams, FAILS (family is awarded $1.5 million in a settlement)

To Summarize  – Falsehoods F A I L

Truthforce / Soulforce – is victorious, think of it always  (see Gandhi)

There are more failures but I’m in a rush

You get the picture.  I.E. the big one – I hope and not the wee one.

The systems  have failed our peeps – miserably, relentlessly, unendlessly – while the byproducts of these systems have survived and survivors generally come in three shapes and sizes:

  1. folks who combat injustice and live to do good
  2. folks who succumb to injustice and live to do bad
  3. folks who give up and give in and have a death of a spirit

for some waking up is hard to do – much easier to kick the dog than fight da power

hence they put on their cloaks of falseHOODS and get a busy spinning.

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
~ Winston Churchill

Be a b.s. buster folks and do NOT avert your eyes from the real prize – social justice and equality for all.  Shed a light to dispel the falsehoods and combine our talents and good hearts to fight the truly unjust systems at work.




heye all

ya all have been MIGHTY busy while i was mighty busy learning and a loving.  i think i made leaps and bounds in me wee intellect these past few days.  i been studying on how “institutions” shape us

i have been studying about INSTITUTIONS as in ” a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture <the institution of marriage>”

We have lots of INSTITUTIONS that shape us – how we view the world and how we participate in the world which in turns shapes the world a wee bit more

i.e. – interdependency – as interconnected, as in “no wo/man is an island” (even if u r stranded on an island u r gonna have interdependency – maybe even more than when u r standing on a busy street corner in Manhattan feeling utterly alone.  its just on the island u can see / feel / and know ur interdependence up close and personal whereas on the corner of Park ave and 60th St you are too busy texting to notice and KNOW)

so in my journey to thinking more about INSTITUTIONS (i.e. families, schools, religions, marriage, etc etc) i realize that we have VERY VERY VERY f e w Deaf Institutions and the ones we do got have pretty much been under attack since the beginning of time.

Families – we do not have that many Deaf families.  Latest figures say only 5% of Deaf folks come from Deaf folks

Wow – i will type that again cuz there is something amazing

Latest figures say only 5% of Deaf folks come from Deaf folks

most folks get their first language and their culture and their ethnicity and their heritage and their values and their ways of being from their family.  5% wow that puts things in a pickle dont it

Schools – Not many – there are NOT many Deaf schools out there.  Most states only have ONE and some states have NONE.

“86 percent of deaf students in the U.S. are in mainstreamed programs all or part of the day. In many cases, they are the only deaf or hard-of-hearing student in their school.” (M. Marschark)

why? well cuz the mainstreaming mandate.  It is mighty folks and i recently learned that the gov. actually has a cap on how many “disabled” children are allowed to go to these “special schools” (thank you PL 94-142 HC law now renamed IDEA).

why? (oh, i love when u got ur thinking caps on folks and r asking questions.  Quest we on.  Why?  well, because society (which is also an Institution pretty much) says that it is better to hear than to be Deaf and it is better to be mainstreamed than to be “isolated” – ya know that whole wittle “least restrictive environment” misnomer.  well what is the problem with “mainstreaming” Deaf kids you ask?

cuz “inclusion is largely an illusion”

yep they can sit in the classroom and follow along with or without an interpreter, with or without assistive listening devices (hearing aids, fm systems, cochlear implants), with or without speech language therapy, with or without c-print / cart, with or without a Deaf peer or two but at the end of the day statistics show there has not been a huge leap in their literacy skills.  What?  Huh? i thought that was the main point of putting them into the sink or swim current of the mainSTREAM!

What are u saying that the findings of the Commission on Education of the Deaf – COED report of the mid ’80s are still ringing true today?

In discussing the data on Deaf students reading skills Dr. Marc Marschark notes “clearly the change from predominantly separate placement for these students to predominantly integrated placements was not the solution people had hoped.”

So with mainstreaming mandate, we haven’t seen consistent and good results and gains.

What have we seen? Well, we have seen the mass pull out of Deaf children from Deaf schools into the sink-or-swim mainstream since the PL 94-142 one-size-fits all IDEA law was passed and revised.

FUN FUN FUN  – not

no not really cuz what the mandated mass exodus took place and is still taking place the results have been:

– The Deaf schools floundered – not all of them folks.  i know we got some mighty fine ones but critical mass is lacking in many.

Smaller numbers are not the REAL problem.  Yes smaller numbers result in less $ and $ does bring privileges HOWEVER sometimes less can be more.

The problem was not only the sheer numbers that have been REGULATED (thanks gov.) into the mainstream at huge high caps and banned from the Deaf school unless as a port of last resort (geez whose IDEA was that) – the problem is also WHO gets pulled out of these Deaf schools and WHO gets sent to these Deaf schools generally.  (again i dont mean all and always) just generally speaking folks

who? well the biggest in terms of hearing abilities, speaking abilities, and thinking abilities normally get routed into the mainstream as quick as bunnies – hop hop hop.  and the Deaf kids who might not hear much, speak much – ahhh door number three for u – the Deaf school.  and Deaf kids with different learning abilities or different physcial ways of being (CP, autism spectrum, ADD) if we cant control those things via medicine etc then off u go to the Deaf schools too

Now this would not be a problem if there were still the NUMBERS of Deaf learners at the Deaf school if there was a healthy mix of a variety of folks of a variety of backgrounds, skill sets, and abilities but nope by and large for the small down sized to nearly nothing Deaf schools, it is largely students who have been run around chasing the holy grail for naught and the Deaf school is now charged with the responsibility of educating a child that is almost feral in terms of their exposure to language.

Systematic language deprivation is HUGE and WRONG.

Now an interesting thing seems to be happening at GOOD Deaf schools.  Schools that generally apply a bilingual-bicultural approach, have a healthy number of student enrollment, have a committed number of faculty and staff and have HIGH expectations of their students – guess what we see happening at these Deaf schools?  The Deaf kids who can “function” in the mainstream are returning to “home” around the time of middle school.

hmmmm – why is that?  well several reasons:

1. as a child gets older communication, language, social navigation and relationships get more complicated.

INTERDEPENDENCE requires more of the child.  when they are WEE things we can change lots of things to make them APPEAR to be functioning and APPEAR to have affective equality (a healthy sense of love, belonging and care) and we can ignore how much they truly are People of the Eye because instead we just focus on how much they can hear – where those X and O raise up on the audiogram – if HAMBURGER is coming out in a way that the person at Burger King wont sneer at them about.  Never mind that when they guy asks something back like “do you want ketchup with that” they child nods “no” when you know that s/he loves ketchup.  You find it odd but are too busy getting out the money and moving forward and sighing that s/he can order food in the restaurant without needing to point that u dont take in the cue that the child is coping.


s/he is not hoping that the person will sign back cuz s/he does not know sign language.  Nor is s/he hoping u will help out by repeating the question cuz speech/AVT lessons in front of cash registers with a line behind u is no fun.  But s/he is hoping that u would know that s/he does not know what the man asked cuz s/he is Deaf but your child knows that u do not accept that s/he is Deaf so s/he just plays along and pretends s/he can understand and says “NO” – which really translates as “i don’t know what u asked me and that is a no no so i just say NO and get real small and hope u have a ketchup pump over at the concession stand.

soooooo the children “function” in the mainstream and “pass” as being pretty dang Hearing-like but eventually many of them start to say – this is too much bloody work – CONSTANTLY HAVING TO WORK OF MY WORDS

this “passing” is really stressful

this constant limbo land is really exhausting

geez im so lonely

geez im so blue

geez im so unhappy

geez im hitting puberty and my body is going CRAZY and i cant control my Hearing or my Speech and now i have hair sprouting out in weird places and some emotions are popping up and the frontal lobe development and id like to have a sweetheart but no one will have me and….

Someone says – “we can now return you to the Deaf school”


not always – many do go thru mainstream from finish to end and some go thru the Deaf schools from finish to end but MOST go every which where from here to there then there and here and back again

And almost all that i have ever met say – thank gosh for the Deaf schools.  ahhhh  home they say.

are they perfect – nope.  some terrible things have happened in programs that involve boarding – for Deaf and Hearing alike.  bad shit can happen behind close doors.  Whether it be in the home or in boarding programs.  (see the sexual abuse of 200 Deaf boys in Wisc. and the suit against the Pope for his role in protecting the church over the children)

But if folks r doing what they are supposed to do – teach, love, and care for the children – Deaf schools can be mighty fine.

i got alot more rambling thoughts but in a rush.  no time to clean this up and make it pretty or add links to past entries here re: Deaf schools but if u put in the key words Deaf schools, LRE, MRE, Timeline, Canada u should be able to find some past entries on this subject

ill be back when im back smile.  have a good weekend.



The Right to be… Deaf – Part IV

The Right to be…. Deaf – Part IV

This is a series examining the questions of whether or not we have the right to be Deaf

Part I

Part II

Part III

Note: i play with pronouns and gender a bit here so that u keep a completely open mind on who is what etc but if its too confusing – holler.  i can stick with one thing through out.

The Right to be… Deaf – Part IV

i.e. Not without a Fight

Last time we visited baby Pat, her/his parents had just learned that their insurance would not cover high end digital hearing aids but they would cover bilateral implants.

Enters the in-laws (dant dant dant dant!)   “Oh, you must get baby Pat implanted.  If you don’t that is child abuse”

(Note: don’t believe that some parents say this to their own adult Deaf children? – just check out the documentary “Sound and Fury”)

Now baby Pat’s parents start arguing with each other.  DANG.  Again they are struck by how when they should be overjoyed at having a healthy child (and Pat is healthy) they are instead constantly being whacked over the head with audism and not only are they starting to wonder what the health “care” profession and their own parents have thought of them as Deaf human beings on this planet all along, they are now starting to think that they need to do this “thing” in order to give Pat some fighting chance against audism.

Cuz they know better than anyone at the operating table that it’s a Hearing world out there after all.  And they really don’t like the prospect of baby Pat spending his/her life being judged by the curve of their audiogram.

Soooo do do?  Some days dad/mom says “yes we should” while hoping the other partner will still be dragging his/her feet.  Some days mom/dad will say “yes we probably should” while secretly hoping that the in-laws will move out of country but even the great old puddle called the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean don’t mean nothing in the digital age and far cant be far enough when every morning there is a FULL PAGE ad for some type of hearing de-vice in the morning newspaper.

Sooooo do do?  After many arguments and tears and talking to a few friends who have cochlear implants and visiting with other babies that have cochlear implants (yes, babies because even though the FDA has approved CI for 12 month and up – some doctors are performing bilateral implants as young as 6 mo and guess how old baby Pat is right now?  6 mo – tick tock goes the digital clock they say)

Well after all these visits they do see that some folks can talk and some folks can hear some things with CIs but they are also getting some other information about the “WORK” involved, about the “glitches,” about the recalls, about the re-implanting, about the….. lieablilities

And they are also seeing that baby Pat is doing some mighty fine hand babbling – s/he is really cranking out some wee gestures and approximations.   She is also understanding mommy / daddy pretty dang well.

Yes it sucks when grandma and grandpa hold baby Pat and splatter their tears all over her/him while they have flashbacks about when they were new parents and had a “hearing impaired” thing in their arms.  Yes – it does look like they are trying to baptize baby Pat in the gospel of audism but wow wouldn’t it be cool if grandma and grandpa actually LEARNED TO SIGN for baby Pat’s sake.  I mean wouldn’t that just be radical.  And wouldn’t that just possibly mean that maybe years from now when grandma and grandpa are coming to the end of their time on this planet, they will be able to lift up their hands and fingerspell or sign ILY instead of trying to speak it cuz they are out of breath or because they are on a breathing machine or because its too hard to lipread when u have tears in ur eyes cuz ur mom and dad are going home to the maker – cuz of all the times in our lives this should be the one moment of equality of condition where we do not have to “work for our words”  moment.  Wouldn’t it be cool for them too to have this option of not only being able to have an unconditional bond with their Deaf grand child – they could have one with their own Deaf adult child and her/his Deaf partner.  WOW

(NOTE: don’t believe me that some folks go to the grave not being able to communicate with their own adult Deaf children?  See Jax in the documentary Audism Unveiled)

So we, the Deaf parents, just say NO to cochlear implants for now.  We know the offer for them will come around again and again and again.  But for today we say “not the way we wanna go”  Of course we don’t tell our folks that – we at first say we want to wait until baby Pat can decide for herself/himself cuz its Pat’s body but our parents (Pat’s granny and granpappy) hit us with the “S/he wont be able to learn to hear and speak as easily when they are older.”  To which you reply “but mom I never had a cochlear implant and I can speak.”  To which the patriarch says “that is only because your mother had to work so hard with you and the speech language pathologist worked so hard with you….”

“And what about me?”

To which both the grandparents look at each other puzzled and then back at their Deaf adult child and say, “huh?”  while the Deaf couple look at their happy Deafbaby and shake their heads at the gall of their own parents.

“What about the WORK I HAD TO DO???? To learn to talk?”  shouts the Deaf adult child.

“Oh, we know you worked hard too son/daughter.  Now, there there and just calm down.  This isn’t about you – this is about baby Pat.”

(note: really?)

To which Deaf mom now begins her own baptism of baby Pat – yep she is crying at seeing her inlaws so surely reject their own Deaf son and in turn his Deaf offspring and in turn her (Deaf wife/mother/daughterinlaw).

deaf = death is hanging in the air and Deaf mom no like.

So she weeps and the one tear falls slowly – she sees it in close-up in ASL – in the tear drop she sees reflected all the Deaf ancestors that came before her and it lands near baby Pat’s eye and s/he blinks, reaches out to touch the wetness and Deaf mom smiles.

This baby is cute.  This baby is beautiful.  This baby is Deaf and dandy!  S/he has been anointed with Deaf mom’s genes, blood, sweat, kisses, and now A teardrop!  This is her/his naming ceremony – her “welcome to the world” –

his/her “You are a People of the Eye/Hand!” moment

It’s good to be D E A F – shouts the Deaf mom in her soul’s core & you are loved as is!


Deaf mom signs small like as in a whisper to Deaf dad – “just tell them ‘we will see-see about the CI’ so they will leave us alone.”  (She has heard stories where inlaws try to get the Deaf baby taken away from their Deaf parents because they think their own adult Deaf children cant raise their offsprings properly or think they should have CI or be oral/aural ONLY or….).

And Deaf mom and Deaf dad suddenly become VERY busy and unavailable for the inlaws each time the call for a visit to baby Pat and they don’t even give a second look at the ABC article that grandma sent with this sentence highlighted in blue (for sad) “Unfortunately, people who have hearing aides only, really can only get to a fourth grade reading level,” said speech language pathologist ________. “You can’t get very far in school with that reading level. Research has shown people with implants can go in regular classes, graduate from high school, go to college. So, the impact on education is humongous.”

(Don’t believe me that speech language pathologists say this kinda b.s. even in 2010 – go to,-a-Pinellas-County-girl-starts-school-and-hears-the-school-bell)

We, the Deaf parents, are just too incredibly busy – what with teaching baby Pat all the sign language and peek a boo and I love you etc etc and building the fort and the mountain.

Stay tuned for another installment of “The Right to be …..Deaf”

To Summarize Part IV – Do we have the right to be Deaf????

Answer: – not without a fight

Here is a little vlog about respecting folks right to BE Deaf.  It is a bit religious but substitute out G-d for Nature if u so desire.  Overall, it is good and grand and true.

I Don’t Need Your Cure by Megg Rose

Performed by Megg & Yamila Rose

INGELORE on HBO May 8th & 18th

Heye all – to see past entries highlighting some of the events of Deaf Rochester Film Festival (DRFF 2011) go to:


This entry below highlights the film and event that were the highlight of the festival for me – INGELORE. INGELORE is a 40 minute film made about Ingelore H. experiences in Nazi Germany and coming to the U.S.  It was made by her son Frank Stiefel.  See the trailer at: and all the other good stuff at that website. The film is scheduled to be broadcast on HBO2 on mother’s day – May 8th (3:15 pm PST 6:15 pm EST)

The film is beautifully made as it pieces together multiple shots of black and white testimony, reenactment footage, archival photos and footage as well as a recent visit back to Ingelore’s home town in Germany. After the film, which has been screened all over the globe, showed at DRFF 2011, I turned to look back at the audience and people were wiping their eyes, sniffling, nodding their heads somberly.  One very tall Deaf man signed to me “it took all my will power to hold back my tears during this whole film.”  I replied, “Don’t.  Let them flow.  Your body demands it.”  And he started crying.  The other day I bumped into another Deaf guy with a tough exterior and he remarked on how powerful the film was.  He said, “I cried.  I did.  I really did.  I sobbed.”  And then he told me he went up to Ingelore after the film and said “your feathers were broken but still you fly.  My feathers have been broken but I have not taken off like you have.  I admire you and your flight.  It gives me courage.” (its not a direct quote cuz i dont have a photographic memory but this guy really does sign ASL like this – he is a walking metaphor man – so thank u F.K. for that chat.  Im gonna hold on to that one forever.)

Ingelore and her son Frank Stiefel and his wife BJ shared of themselves so fully and unendingly during the festival.  They just made us all thankful they were there, they made the film, and they cared and contributed so much to the potential of Deaf cinema. I could go on and on about how much i love these three people but life is calling and you just gotta meet them urselves ok!  And the more i reflect on the experience of them being here for DRFF, the more i start to get teary eyed meself.

(yes, i know i know i aint giving much info about the actual story and there is a reason for that – the story is best told by Ingelore – not me; )

All i can say is – i am blessed to know them and im forever thankful to DRFF 2011 director, Stacy Lawrence, for bringing them and the film here and im forever grateful to Frank for making the film, BJ for supporting it being made, and Ingelore for being so brave and good to share her story and her never ending smile with all of us.

if anyone wants to see it before the HBO screening and are in the rochy area – the Rochester Recreation Club for the Deaf (1564 Lyell Avenue) will be showing INGELORE on April 28 at 7 pm.

Peace, Patti

Some other links featuring Ingelore (sit down interview and class presentation) and Frank but INGELORE, the film, is a must see. for other videos Deaf survivors’ stories of the Holocaust – go to: Click VIDEOS or Deaf Europeans / SURVIVORS

NOTE: image of INGELORE in LIGHTS at the Castro (courtesy of Frank Stiefel)

image of Frank and Ingelore

Signmark @ RIT /Gally weekend Brickfest

heye all –

me pumped!  why?  Signmark (finish Deaf rap artist) will be in ROCKchester  for the RIT /Gally Brickfest!!!!!

(more info on RIT/Gally weekend here)

lecture on Sat 1 pm in CSD Student Development Center 1300/1310 (see cool SignmarkFlyer)

performance Sat 10 pm – 3 am in the Field House

tickets are $5 online or $10 at the door – $$ goes to Deaf Japanese victims of the earth quake and tsunami

YEP – Deaf artists ROCK.  i have not met a more generous groups of souls in me life.  they think of their people all over the globe and they share and love etc (yes of course there are a few selfish ones in the lot but those r usually the ones whose artistry is kinda lame and they are overcompensating so just walk on by me think.  By and large – Deaf natural signed language poets, storytellers, actors, writers, visual artists, filmmakers, rappers, etc r GOOD SOULS – “doing it for our people” big time)

don’t know who Signmark is – shame on u!!!!

see their official site for more info:

don’t like anything that has to do with sound or music – no problem.  that is ur right.  we just be grooving over here – u can stay over there.

open to see seeing what works for all of us and what don’t – as bob baker would say, “come on down”

the thing i love the most about  Signmark is that the lyrics r VERY Deaf centered – very

(see the bottom video – The Letter for a Tribute to Emma Louise Agnew – young Deaf woman in New Zealand who was viciously killed)

Our Life

Smells Like a Victory

Against the Wall


The Letter

DRFF 2011 – Brit Films Rock & Fest. Links

Heye all –

been mighty busy but wanted to finish up some of my thoughts on the Deaf Rochester Film Festival 2011(see part 1)

just a quick note so note this is not a comprehensive review of the fest.

The Brit films rock:

50/50 by David Ellington is a really cute and funny comedy about a Deaf / Hearing friendship where the Hearing buddy comes up with a bunch of schemes for them to earn money – the final one being to use the Deaf bloke’s photographic memory to present him as a psychic.

Films by Louis Neethling (originally from South Africa and now living in the UK):

Coming Home by Louis Neethling is a beautifully made film – the cinematography, use of mirrors and windows, framing, etc all good.  The plot line is strong with twists and emotions.

Departure Lounge by Louis Neethling is another drama by this director that has a strong plot line and is well acted and performed.  My favorite line in the film is how when all the angels greet you in heaven, they will ask where you are from.  Even the afterlife is Deaf-centered in this flick.

Fairytale of London Town by Louis Neethling is a comedy that follows three Deaf women as they unite to try to figure out how to overcome their individual experiences with being at the mercy of folks from the Dominant culture.  Its cute and clever and fast paced.

A very popular film by Neethling that didnt screen at DRFF 2011 but has been WELL circulated on the world wide web is:

Coming Out

by Louis Neethling and written by Charlie Swinbourne (Swinbourne made the popular Four Deaf Yorkshire Men).  Coming out is clever and cute with a cool twist.

Was thrilled to meet Louis at DRFF 2011 as a few years ago one of my students had interviewed him and done a powerpoint presentation about him.  I really appreciate when filmmakers, artists, scriptwriters, etc are willing to invest in our youth and share their wisdom and experiences.  I could tell from everything Louis had shared with my student that he was a grand guy.  Seeing him at DRFF 2011 affirmed that – humble, hard working, caring, and visionary.  Looking forward to seeing his future works.

I once asked Dr. Paddy Ladd why so many good short Deaf films come out of UK and he speculated that perhaps since the UK had long had a TV channel of Deaf programming the youth of the country had been regularly exposed to the potential of their own storylines, experiences and languages up on the screen as opposed to the US where we invest a great deal in advocating for English captions and little to no advocacy in a Deaf ASL channel or programming.

You can see a description of all the films at DRFF 2011 at:

Upcoming Deaf Film Festivals:

Maine Deaf Film Festival (this weekend) (US)

Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival 2011 (TIDFAF) (Candad)

Deaf in the Picture (Holland)

Deaffest (UK)

Festival Clin D’Ceil (France)

Dovfilmfestival (Sweden)

Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival