Response to “Should Kids Protest or Not?”

Here’s Seek Geo’s blog about kids protesting!

A reader generously offered the following transcript of my vlog:

I would like to respond to Seek Geo’s blog post, titled:  “Should Children Protest or Not?”

My response?  Yes, of course they should!  Always!

There are really many opportunities to do this and they are very educational.  I have attended three protests.  First, the Gallaudet protest, about the president; second, the protest at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), about captioning television programs and other issues; and third, the recent protest at the AGBell convention.  I attended these protests and participated in discussions.  I saw a lot and really learned a lot.

Seek Geo’s main concern is about danger.  Even at a peaceful protest, there could be some violent situations, which are unpredictable.  There’s nothing we can do about this.  Take what just happened at the protest against AGBell, for example, with Barb’s daughter, Brianna.  Someone forcefully yanked all the flyers out of her hands, catching Brianna off guard.  That experience, however, actually caused all of us to become *more* motivated to fight back and protest.  We were all taken aback by it and wanted to yell at that woman and fight for our rights.

If children become interested in protesting, talk it over with them and let them know that something like this could happen once in a great while.  What happened to Brianna is the exception.  None of us were doing anything illegal by being at the hotel to protest.  What happened wasn’t our fault, but rather, the hotel’s fault.  It’s a little sad that it happened, but now we are all more motivated to fight back.

So, I think that children should be included in a protest if they want to be.

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36 thoughts on “Response to “Should Kids Protest or Not?””

  1. Oh thank you so much for protesting at agBAD… I feel so HAPPY and HONOR that you did went 3 different protests for us all Deaf!! Wow!!!

    I hope you did have some photos to share with us… Smile and big thank you hugs! Shawn

  2. Jehanne,

    Your response – is exquiste! Well planned and well expressed. This makes my heart full knowing that other children and teenagers can watch and learn from you.

    Even more, you wow’ed me with your critical thinking skills! I am extremely proud of you, Jehanne!

    This vlog should be shared to all schools and teachers/administrators will realize that how eloquently you are – and they will have to make sure all of Deaf kids are able to express exactly what you did!

    Hands waving!

    Amy Cohen Efron

  3. Well presented…good points…your friends will learn something from you and we hope that your friends and other children your age will follow your footstep. Let agBAD see Deaf children like you who are smart and articulate…now they can’t say children who uses ASL or without CI are dumb!!! They can’t! Look at you and Brianna. 🙂

  4. You should be grateful that your parents have taught you the examples of the freedom of speech in this country.

    Likewise, you are the kid and be the kid, just learn so many new things from this world. Let the world educate you and the kids.

    Go to the college, get the degree and pass the tradition to your future kids.

    Be the kids, like you are……beautiful.

    White Ghost

  5. Hey drmzz!

    I was going to response this but you beat me! *sighh*

    Jehanne,

    hmm.. I agree with drmzz! I will educating with my kids as much I can. Yes, excellent to educating to kids because they are knowledge with correct information by soon or later. Kids are growing up by having so much of appreciate with experience as what’s happening on this Earth.

  6. Jehanna,

    WOW! Your amazing presentation depicted us with your perspective of young deaf and hard of hearing children’s potential involvement in any demonstration despite of the violence incident. Indeed, we do want to have non-violence protests and use our voices in order to grab AGBAD’s attention for the deaf babies’ rights to learn ASL.

    Silent applause! Silent applause! You would be a good leader for youth group. Smile!

    Amen!

    Nick Vera

  7. Hi Jehanne,

    Nice vlog post! Brianna, Anthony V. and I watched what you just said and we were saying right on!
    We both had discussed about the value of experience for all of us when being a part
    of the protest where a greater understanding of the issues tend to occur.

    It is an enriching experience for children to look up to Deaf leaders and learn from what
    they said and how they led the freedom of speech.

    Barb, Brianna and Anthony V.

  8. WTG (way to go) Im glad you are one smarter kid who could stand up for everybody not just yourself..

    Keep your lucky ones inside of you, you would alway need it when it’s time.

    ASLDEAFROG

  9. To the parents of Jehanne,

    You should be very PROUD of your daughter; she is able to express herself so well..

  10. *Hands Waving*

    Beautiful, Beautiful presentation.. I don’t know who you are but I am truly proud of you. I wish I am there with you all but I can’t. I did donated some for this cause so I can be part of this history. Thank you so much for fighting for us all
    At first I was like Seek Geo, concern for the safety of the kids, but after your presentation, I changed my mind. I am pretty sure it has to Seek Geo as well.

  11. Jehanne,

    First and foremost, I want to commend you not only for presenting your vlog brilliantly but also for defending yourself extremely well!

    I cannot agree more with you that it is very educational and informational for people of any age to attend or participate in any conference, discussion forum, demonstration. Yes, you read right, demonstration. I have eyewitnessed thousands of protesters with their children and enfants in some in carriages, in national anti-hunger, anti-poverty, anti-war, anti-genocide rallies right here in Washington. When children grow up, they will look up to their parents with glowing pride for being leaders for worthy causes and emulate them by becoming leaders. You are now one of the young leaders. 😀 I beg to disagree with those who think that “kids” should not participate.

    No one is arrested in any protest — or in any conference for that matter — as long as he carefully observes and exercises his freedom rights properly (First Amendment in the U.S. If a person crosses the line, that is entirely another story. For example, we, anti-Iraq war protesters, obeyed the law enforcement not to sit on the White House’s sidewalk after 9 p.m., but the Rev. Jesse Jackson was arrested because he sat past 9 p.m. No one would snatch our picket signs and leaflets. There was something wrong the picture at the Marriott Hotel. I would spell out “dictatorial” — possibly dictated and manipulated by the AGB organisers.

    Back to square one concerning DBC, it is most regretful that some people disagree about the participation of “kids” in a conference like AGB. They may have forgotten or missed the point that DBC (Deaf Bilingual Coalition) in itself focusses on the implementation of two languages amongst deaf children and that DBC represents deaf children. Ergo, it was so fitting for deaf children like you, Brianna, Anthony, and others to protest at the AGB Conference with their parents. It was very, very important for them to “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) because both the AGB attendées and the media would see SIGNING deaf children there after reading the core of a message the protesters had delivered. The core was to let them know that the AGB has been doing something paradoxical for more than 100 years. Bright deaf children like you, Brianna, Anthony, and others help NIH’s research bear out the claim that the early exposure to sign language amongst babies, however, hearing or deaf, would enable to increase IQ.

    I hope that there will be many, many, many hearing parents, teachers, audiologists of deaf children will be watching your vlog and learn something from you, Jehanne. I am forwarding your URL to my friends tonight, and, in turn, they will be forwarding it to others! I know that AGB will never, ever, change its philosophy. Fret not, we will work and help the voice of yous and your contemporaries be heard by parents who are members of AGB.

    Keep on keeping, Jehanne!

  12. Hi Jehanne,

    Of course children have the feeling to break the wall down for all children have better and stronger in future our right! Nice input Show!

    Davy

  13. Hey Jehanne!

    Wow, you have said it perfectly well! That was the purpose for me to post is to ask this question.

    So, I was delighted that you answered it so well! Yes, sure I was concerned about
    violence, etc because there are crazy people out there but as long as you and others
    are prepared and be aware of the situation to get ready to alert parents right away
    if anything happen.

    You have my 100% support and you are excellent role model for all deaf kids out there.
    Please keep it up and I am very proud of you! 😀

    Thank you very much for making my night.

    -SG

  14. Jehanne,
    Beautiful discussion. An example of true critical examination — an understanding of what literacy is all about….both learning in school AND going out and seeing for yourself what it s like. And your level of understanding of violence is amazing. Thank you.

  15. This is one way young deaf leaders are initiated.

    I do understand Seek Geo’s concern. Every parent thinks about these things. I’m sure your moms and Brianna’s mom thought carefully about bringing you guys along to this protest. Like every caring parent, they probably thought through the pro’s and con’s. if they felt it would turn violent, i bet they would have made other arrangements for the children. But they brought you along because they felt this was not going to be a violent event. They had a vision of the empowering result and affect it would have and this may have motivated them to bring the kids along. From your story, it turned out to be a wonderful learning experience.

    Parents who do bring kids to protests need to be prepared to enter into discussions with their children before, during and afterward to help children process and debrief or find meaning in their experience. Your parents prepared you kids and helped you through the rough spots. This is responsible parenting.

    There have been parents who have brought children with them to protests that have turned ugly, even fatal, with loss of lives. Take Iraq, for example. Some parents do not have a choice but to bring their children with them as they protest and try to stand up for the rights of freedom for their families. Children who are exposed to violent protests without any chance to discuss or debrief their emotions or experiences can suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). But this is an example of an extreme situation.

    The point though is that all parents do have a responsibility to think through whether or not to expose their children to protests. I’m sure the parents who took their children to the AGB protest thought things through very carefully before deciding. When things went a little crazy, they were right there, helping their kids get through this and helping them find the meaning. Like you said, it motivated the children to fight for their rights and boundaries. These are good skills to have.

    Yet, there is always a risk, even for adults, that things could turn ugly and become violent. It’s a very personal decision to be involved and everyone, even the community as a whole, must be prepared to support one another in whatever way, to help get through the rough spots.

    I’m glad you children were not hurt in a serious way. I’m glad your parents were there to help support you and listen to you and encourage and empower you. That’s good parenting!

    Beautiful, thoughtful topic, as always, Jehanne.

    I’m a big fan of yours!

    ~ LaRonda

  16. Way to go! You are AWESOME!!!! Yes, you are right, we can’t let bad things to
    stop us from doing what we want to do. We need to continue to stand up in what we
    believes in and fight to prove that WE will never give up or let others to oppressed us.

    You are good role model for other children. Keep it up!

    I am very proud of you. 🙂

  17. Beautifully said, Jehanne! I admire young people who understand adult concerns and want to be involved, too. They have minds and brains equal to ours and deserve to express their opinions when it is their own and sincerely felt.

    We do our children no favors when we keep them hidden, out of the public, and voiceless in matters that count to them. However, we as adults have the responsibility to protect them in that expression. Any kind of public activity puts the vulnerable at risk, so parents need to be there as Barb was alongside her daughter Brianna.

    It was incredible that overly emotional woman attacked a child, in public, outside the hotel, and she is ironically a public relations person for her hotel! Because there is no way to predict what kind of crazy person will get into these things, we need to be especially vigilant for our children.

    That said, our children are the people we are supporting in these activities. ASL for Deaf children from infancy. We need to involve them and to show people that they are well favored by ASL inclusion in their lives.

  18. To let you know that you did helped me not giving up advocating! Thanks so much for your wonderful tool . My Deaf son needs to learn from your experience how to be PEACEFUL protest. I agreed with Ella and other commenters that we need to learn from you, Brianna and AV-Anthony and Mark’s 2 children… I wonder how many children were there at Peaceful protest??? I hope you will have time to answer my question! BIG HUGS, Shawn

  19. I applaud you for providing a straightforward response to the question as to whether or not kids should be involved in protest.

    As Thomas Jefferson, one of our famed farmers, says “dissent is the highest form of patriotism”. As Edward Murrow attests that “we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty”. Both men, along with others, echo the needs of protest, peaceful protest as a means of educating as you have shared with us in your video.

    We have considered the pros of protest, but lets evaluate the cons…

    Protest, in my opinion, is the highest form of dissent. It takes a thoroughly preparation of every part of person(s) to aim for given purpose. With that say, whatever consequence will come with the action, the person ought to be thoroughly prepared for it, whether winning or losing. It is not about immediate victory or loss, but justice and freedom in a long haul. Protest is an enormous task that ought not to be taken lightly, it requires sacrifice.

    Can those who are not rationally matured handle the task? I believe not because to be rationally matured is to act outside of your immediate interest or desire.

    This is why I find protest a tough for children. I would not encourage children to participate in any form of protest unless or until those are rationally mature. To be rationally mature is to see beyond the immediate gratification… can children, in general?

    By the way, I believe you can:-)

  20. Jehanne,

    I’m so glad you did participate in the protest last Friday. It’s inspiring to see Deaf children practice their right of speech and assembly along with their parents and stand up for their beliefs.

    Hopefully in the future, we will see more Deaf children participating in peaceful demonstrations.

  21. Exactly right! I totally agree with the comments #15, 17 and 18. You can educate with your peers
    by educating them since usually children are uninformed by world till they became victim – a cycle pattern. Time for children to be educated and exposed as well proud of their heritage and cultural
    roots!

  22. Dear Jehanne,

    I just finished reading your blog (together with the comments) about whether if kids should protest or not. I am very impressed with how you (and your readers) present your arguments.

    I myself am writing an article advocating for the rights of children to accompany their parents to protests or related activities in Singapore. So I was wondering if I may have your permission to quote from your blog post (in addition to some comments left by your readers) for my article?

    Yours Truly,
    Singa Crew

  23. Singa Crew,

    I want to let you know that you have my permission to quote my blog post and comments left by my viewers! Glad you enjoyed my vlog!

    Smiles, J

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