WASHINGTON DC -- Audism Free America (AFA) share a video letter to the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf (AG Bell) in American Sign Language with all of you. Recently, there is an appalling wave of reaction by the Deaf community in regards to AG Bell's response to Washington Post's "The Reliable Source" who accuses Nyle DiMarco dispelling the myths about deafness.
Dear President Meredith K Sugar,
We, Audism Free America, are writing in response to your response to the Washington Post article regarding Mr. Nyle DiMarco, in which you stated; "It is our hope to dispel the myths about deafness.” It has become apparent that by now you have most likely seen the many letters from members of the Deaf community, and as well as from academic researchers who have revealed the truth about your misinformation showing that Deaf children, from both Deaf and Hearing families, have clearly thrived when exposed to American Sign Language early in life.
This is not the first time that the AG Bell Association has imposed misinformation and worked to assert to the general public reinforcing the attitudes of audism and linguicism. In 2009, we presented to your former President Graham, along with other AG Bell representatives, a list of demands at a sit down face to face meeting. These demands were taken to your Board and rejected. The demands stated that:
1. the AG Bell Association and Academy cease and desist from denying Deaf infants, children, and their families the right to a natural and fully accessible language.
2. the AG Bell Association cease and desist from misinforming the public and the media about ASL and Deaf people. The AG Bell Association has not retracted its letter to Pepsi objecting to the commercial featuring ASL in a positive light and continually paints Deaf ASL users as unsuccessful and dependent.
3. the AG Bell Association cease and desist its incestuous relationship with cochlear implant manufacturers and join the AFA in calling for an independent and impartial study of the physical, psychological, and social impact of cochlear implants on infants, children and adolescents.
The second item listed can now be amended to demand that the AG Bell Association, additionally, retract your statements concerning the response to Mr. Nyle DiMarco in the Washington Post.
If you are truly concerned about dispelling myths, you may wish to focus on your founder. A.G. Bell, the man, through publicized reports was an eugenicist, xenophobe, and audist along with recent reports that he was also a thief and plagiarist (see D. Baynton, H. Lane, and S. Shulman, as well as Bell’s own writings).
Your Association should be held accountable for the many Deaf children and their families who have been deprived of an accessible language in their early years which have resulted in negative impacts psychologically, educationally, and economically, (see Humphries, et al., 2012 and Penicaud, et al, 2013).
As a Deaf grassroots organization, we are informing you that your organization, made up of primarily Hearing people, has NO right to misrepresent Deaf people in the media and NO right to actively promote the denial of human and linguistic rights of Deaf children.
We, Deaf community members, our families and allies are proud to have Mr. Nyle DiMarco as a role model and advocate for our future generations of Deaf children. If you need further evidence that there is a thriving Deaf community who will ensure that Deaf children will CONTINUE TO BE DEAF, please see the social media campaigns #whyIsign and #iamdeaf.
Finally, this letter is to inform you that AFA will now host another rally at your annual conference in Denver, Colorado. Please let us know if YOU would like to meet with US prior to the conference in order to retract your letters and issue a formal apology. Please see the attached flyer for more information.
Let Freedom Roll,
Audism Free America
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