Organizing Chair Ella Mae Lentz shares a message from Deafhood Foundation board on #WHYISIGN. The board is inspired and we support this wonderful campaign.

[Ella Lentz, white woman with short curly gray hair and green stripped blouse and black blazer, narrates]

We the Deafhood Foundation board….

[show picture of 8 board members standing facing the camera located at Gallaudet University’s Ole Jim – from left to right: Terri Waddell-Motter, Ella Mae Lentz, Kevin Clark, Marilyn Jean Smith, MJ Bienvenu, Tim Riker, Judy D. Gough and Marvin Miller]

would like to let you all know that we are deeply inspired by the #whyIsign campaign and we totally support it.

We acknowledge that this campaign is targeted for these dates: March 13-15, which are the dates for the 2016 EHDI conference in San Diego, CA. EHDI stands for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention. This conference like all the previous ones is organized and led by Karl White, whose focus has been curing deafness, that the goal of detecting and intervening in Deaf babies’ lives is to have them speak and listen and meet their parents’ expectations. Karl White does not have any interest in welcoming Deaf adults in the babies’ detection and lives with at least 50% participation. (need clarify this). He intentionally prevents this, restricting their roles to a very small amount.

It’s time to change.

Change to E = Early, H = Healthy, D = Deaf, I = Identity.

Those of you who are at the conference during those dates, who plan to stand up and demand this change, we let you know that we totally support you. You should know no fear when you choose to go ahead and speak up, make strong truthful statements, which may result in disruptions (just be non-violent, please).

The important thing is the time for change is NOW!

Part of our foundation’s vision is:

“…recreate a society where everybody experiences full humanity and celebrates Sign Language…free from audism.”

We thank from the bottom of our hearts all of those who made heart-touching and inspiring videos signing their messages in support of this campaign:

hearing parents of Deaf children
hearing grandparents of Deaf grandchildren
hearing siblings of Deaf siblings
hearing children with Deaf parents
hearing ASL students
other hearing people, friends, neighbors, and more

We also express our love and gratitude for those Deaf people who exposed themselves to share their experiences with school or parents who refused to use sign with them, sending them off into a dark journey until they find sign language that opened a bright world for themselves. We also delight in the stories of Deaf people with parents who signed with them, cementing a powerful bond of love between them. We stand in solidarity with Deaf people who have Deaf families, Deaf children and who realize signing is natural, comfortable, good, and worthy of continually nudging everybody else about this truth.

Finally, we also want to remember George Veditz, who proclaimed that “sign language is God’s noblest gift to Deaf people” and to also remind ourselves that it is Deaf people’s precious gift to the world.

That’s why we sign. #whyIsign