Audism Free America – Friday


AGB closed its front doors on Friday.  The workers and interpreters used a side door.


Shannon Riddle distributing blue ribbons with Aidan Mack


I agree!


I was busy writing on many cars


Ruthie Jordan,  one of AFA leaders


AFA supporters


23 people came on a bus from New York


The crowd cheers


I second that!


The car has spirit, too


KODA wants to stop audism


Vlogger InsaneMisha  and commentator Cheryl from MA


It is very true


Sharon Duchesneau and me


Judy Gough, Barbara Kannapell, and Ella Lentz


Aidan Mack of “I Sign and I Live”


Author John Egbert,  Vlogger Robin Polin, Blogger Diane Rez, and Ella Lentz


Bridget Klein, Candace McCullough, Diane Rez’s son


Pinky Aiello


Stop Audism! No more oppression!


Ruthie Jordan on David Eberwein’s shoulders


David, Blair Rasmus, Colin, Jonathan McMillan


Star Greiser chanting


Dawn Watts’ sharing her audism experience


That was not necessary.  It was a peaceful rally.  No arrests were made.


Police officers were bored! Too peaceful!


Author of Deafhood, Paddy Ladd and Ella Lentz


28 thoughts on “Audism Free America – Friday”

  1. But what about people who want ASL and CI’s? Spoken language AND ASL? Why can’t we have support for both? I am glad that AG Bell is there doing research to help my child learn to listen and speak, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want ASL. Stop fighting windmill’s (Don Quixote) and SUPPORT PARENTS! That is how we can help deaf babies, support parents!!!

  2. Jehanne,

    Great job on sharing these photos. It’s so cool to see so many of my friends from the v/blogosphere there. Seeing your photos was like being there. Thank you, dear one. Keep on journaling. You’re really good at this!

    ~ LaRonda

  3. Hi Jehanne!!!!

    You know the sayings “A picture is WORTH a thousands words”. Each picture said it all, WONDERFUL pictures, obviously – shows a WONDERFUL and PEACEFUL Rally – and Spoken OUT about Audism, enough is enough. Thank YOU so much for the updates. I wished I was there yesterday. I will be sure to go to the next one!! 🙂 I SUPPORT AFA/DBC 110% all the way because they are on the right path! AFA ROCKS!! I see their passions for Deaf babies. WOW!
    Thanks again!!!

  4. Jehanne

    You ROCK!

    so glad u attended the meeting with us with AG Bell and also were so important at the rally and got to go up the STEPS

    history making – big time

    re: Miss Kat’s Mom – i suggest u post your question over at AG Bell

    AFA does not exclude English. AG Bell has historically excluded ASL in its quest to promote oralism. Several folks at the rally have cochlear implants.

    We come from all walks of life. You and miss kats r most welcome

    Jehanne – i wish you lived in rochester!



  5. Hi Jehanne-

    How many of us did like this at your age? You are amazing and I wish the whole nation could watch you through video in AGB meeting. I believe your message was powerful too. You are Ella number two. You will be famous all over the world. I am sure by now that you are! 🙂

    AGB denounced AFA…it has nothing to do with you and others’ attitude. AGB wants power but we will prevail one day. They need to change and the time is now.

    Thanks for sharing pictures with us. I must join next time.


  6. Thank you so much for sharing beautiful and inspiring pictures. Great job capturing the historical moments. Agreeing with LaRonda, It’s really nice to see the familiar faces I know them through the v/blogosphere. I feel like they are part of my family!

  7. Thanks everyone! Miss Kat Mom- Well, if you want both, ASL and spoken language then, it is your decision. This rally is all about giving children the right to sign. It is ok if you want oral education for your children, but our priority is to give children right to choose and experience ASL first. I don’t really mind if you want spoken language if you provide your children ASL TOO then you can do whatever you want. AGB people don’t want ASL at all, that’s why. Thanks for sharing your concerns!

    Thanks again, Jehanne!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring photos with us. I felt to be part of this with all of you when I saw your photos. That was a very positive journey.

    It would be nice to publish a photograph book collected by Deaf photographers or participants who took pictures of the rally as well as DBC. Your photos were beautifully captured.

    Thanks again, Jehanne!

  9. Bonjour Jehanne,

    You rock! You are the living proof — 12 of age — deaf child of deaf
    parens! You are such a Godsend!

    I salute you!


  10. J…
    You are a CHAMP!!! a young advocate !!
    The Deaf Community’s future is safe with young folks like you and your activism…

    This past week you FACED the leaders of the AG Bell Association and MADE THEM LISTEN to what you had to say…

    YOU walked up the steps (limped? smile) and showed you were not AFRAID of the volta bureau….

    u vlog, interview, photograph like a pro!!!!!

    you are my shero!!
    hugs hugs

  11. AG Bell has ASL interpreters at all their conferences and have never discouraged my family from signing, they just don’t give advice for that, they leave it to the specialist in that field.

  12. Oh Jehanne, thank you so SO SO much for sharing those inspiring photos with us all! I feel that all of you who join AFA’s peaceful rally are part of my family!!! AFA hugs, Shawn

  13. In responce to Miss Kat’s Mom’s comment #13:

    AGB had never had any interpretive assistance until 1990 which was when President Bush signed the ADA. It is a law with which AGB has to comply;
    otherwise, AGB would face lawsuits for not providing any interpetive assistance in conferences. Philosophically, AGB has for over a century discouraged the use of sign language. Asking AGB what is the best educational approach for a deaf child is not the same as attendng a conference.

  14. actually walked up the steps with bravery! Thank you for being there to represent the young generation for hope to make better changes for the future of Deaf babies.

    Miss Kat, when you said “they leave it to the specialist in that field,” that’s the problem. AG Bell doesn’t offer offical websites explaining about bilingual programs to refer to the specialist where parents can get information. The only evidence they did was to refer to NAD which is not exactly the only organization that best serves famlilies. It should provide links to DBC and American Society of Deaf Children, CAEBER, Clerc Center, etc. Like Jean said, providing interpreters are required to comply with the law and that AG Bell invested the time for Deaf babies and young children not to have access to sign language knowing at that crucial age, molding is made more possible. For those who are over 7 to 70 who use signs don’t matter to AG Bell as long as they have “graduated” from oral programs. There is actualy a principle in AVT guidelines that emphasizes the absence use of sign language for Deaf babies and children. I am just mostly concerned about this group who is impacted the most from not having access to ASL. Too many stories are being hidden from parents about how many oralists who grew up wishing they had ASL and felt victimized from the system. These stories are not being shared from AG Bell as they make it all roses. Just that too many people don’t know about the side effects of not having ASL and contact with other Deaf children and adults. When will the truth come out?

    AFA is going to make sure of that, I bet.

    Keep on rocking, Jehanne. I am so proud of you!

  15. Beautiful and empowering pictures! Looks like you got your moms’ photography talents! Thanks for sharing the pics and keeping ASL spirit alive and visible!

  16. Thanks, everyone but just letting you guys know that I didn’t take those pictures. My moms did so credit to them! 😀

  17. I’m always inspired to see entries like this. Although, I see that you indicated that i was JT’s son up there in one of the pictures? No, I’m not related to JT.


  18. Hello –

    My name is Amy Silverhawk and I am a 33 year old Deaf woman who was born Deaf and have used interpreters all my life and I have been signing since 2 years old. I am also fluent in lipreading, and speech. I also chose to have a CI put in a couple years ago.

    My take on all this controversy – I think this is getting all bogged down in similar fashion of “He Said, She said” stuff which is what I see is going on here in regards to all groups within the Deaf Community.

    I think everyone is missing the total point – the ROOT of all this. Why NOT have TOTAL COMMUNICATION!? This is the CORNERSTONE of all relationships, communities, understanding, knowledge, tolerance, and even breaking down communication barriers!

    Fact is : We live in a majority Hearing world. English is spoken everywhere. Yet, our Deaf youth is unable to be on the same educational level for the majority as the hearing youth. ASL is not going to cut it when it comes to English language but I believe in ASL for communicating as well socially and for other aspects. Why doesn’t the Deaf Community DEMAND better education for our Deaf Youth? Why not put CART and / or interpreters depending on each INDIVIDUAL child? CART captures EVERYTHING in Spoken English using $5 vocabulary words.

    Fact is : There WILL BE NO LOSS of Deaf Culture, Deaf Language, Deaf Identity if we used ALL the tools that was available to us to be able to interact fully in the world which happens to be hearing and English Speaking as well.

    There are countless OPTIONS for Deaf people be they be from Deaf or Hearing families. It doesn’t have to be BLACK or WHITE. Why not use everything that is available to us, be it CI, learning Speech / Lipreading, English, ASL, and so on – TOTAL COMMUNICATION and it will also address the WHOLE Deaf Individual.

    This is simple. This doesn’t have to be as complex as it has become.

    Hearing people pick up information from Day one when they are born. Deaf babies aren’t. Why are we LIMITING them ever further by saying “oh this tool (like CI for example) is not ok because it’d “erode” our Deaf culture, etc” You get the idea – I see that both groups are reacting out of Fear for the majority in the controversy. Fear can also equate to not being knowledgeable, not being open minded, not understanding the other, not being flexible, and stubbornly saying “MY WAY IS RIGHT AND THERE’S NO OTHER WAY!” and so on.

    Back to getting information. We are ALREADY limited in getting information because we are DEAF in itself. Accept that. Why not use all tools to get more information, even interacting with the Hearing and learning from them. THIS IS NOT A 1 WAY STREET = THIS IS 2 WAY STREET. Hearing and Deaf can learn from each other. No one is “better” than the other. That’s another issue I see especially in the Deaf Community. It’s all about Perception / Perspective. If you want to see the Hearing world as oppressive, that’s your choice – YOU MADE THE CHOICE to see it that way but in reality, you can have the option to see it in a different way and DO SOMETHING about it in a positive way that helps everyone. Believe me, I was in that “shoe” before and now I’ve chosen to change my perspective and I can see more options and I am doing something about it. I want the world to be a better place for everyone – I don’t even care if you are hearing or Deaf.


    In this way, we can help the Deaf Community and Audism ceases to be. Controversy ceases to be, the divisions in the Deaf community ceases to be when it comes to these important issues.

    What you FIGHT against, does not SOLVE – it ATTRACTS more of the problem.

    Why are you even Fighting in the first place – why aren’t you talking with people who are open minded and willing to help from the hearing community, why aren’t you talking with those hearing parents of young Deaf Children and giving them options, why aren’t you standing up and saying – “hey – if any parents of deaf children have questions, why don’t you contact me and I would be happy to talk with you about my experiences and whatnot” or even going to the Deaf schools / Deaf programs and say “We demand better education for our youth!” Why aren’t the majority of Deaf programs having higher levels of educations like Honors, AP, etc. Focus on those places and the seeds will grow and spread and those “naysayers” or ones that are “fighting” you will see the results of the actions and probably would be happy to join in with you and help improve the Deaf Community in all ways!

    If your not willing to help change things for the better then you’ve made your choices. If you want to keep fighting – then keep fighting but how can it really solve the issues that is there? What I mean by this paragraph – Consider the Law of Attraction. 😉

    Have a Wonderful day! Take care!

    1. I don’t agree that “ASL is not going to cut it” I understand that it is a hearing world (I’m hearing and for most of my life that is the only world I knew) BUT the reasons for deaf children not having the same education as hearing children isn’t because they learn ASL it is because they are held back from learning ASL because of cochlear implants, oralism, and total communication. Is it neccessary for the deaf to learn to speak? NO! American Sign Language is a language, ANYTHING can be communicated (and therefore taught) in ASL. Education of the deaf is failing because of the views that cochlear implants and total communication are ok or acceptable. We have to stop sitting on the sidelines and saying, “Well, cochlear implants are ok as long as you sign” or “total communication is ok as long as you sign” NO! It is not ok to force a deaf child to ‘become’ hearing, the deaf adults I interact with every day lead full complete lives because their parents embraced ASL. They are educated and full members of the communities in which they live (and yes they interact with hearing people successfully EVERYDAY) We need to stop all of this sitting on the fence or thinking there is something wrong with being deaf. Be proud to be deaf! I want to see deaf children proud of who they are, not being forced to be something they are not (hearing). so yes it is a fight, and we need to keep fighting until we win. Total communication does not work, cochlear implants were invented by the audist community and unless we stand up for what we believe in (there is nothing wrong with being deaf) audism will continue to be.

      1. Kimberly,

        in your statement, you said you’ve interacted with Deaf adults whose parents have embraced ASL and they have done well with their lives.

        I’m one of them. However, I don’t think you are aware of the percentages of actual hearing parents that even do this COMPARED to those whose parents do not even learn sign or are even involved with their childrens education and whatnot.

        I learned sign right off the bat when my parents found out I was deaf at 2. They learned right alongside of me and started teaching me vocabulary in sign AND English.

        I’d like to make a point. What I’ve written so far is in my own words with no help in writing this. This is English and yet I can still sign.

        Now look at my friend’s writing which I am copying and pasting here. She is a Deaf adult. Writes in the way of ASL.


        Now, are you going to tell me that this is the fault of CI or Total Communication in the failure of Deaf education? I can usually make sense of anything people say to me because I have a number of people in my family that is dyslexic but this….. What my friend wrote. It’s even more difficult to decipher this compared to dyslexic family members. Even when I try to sign this to myself to try to understand my friend.

        Because my friend does not even have CI, oralism, or Total communication. Her own parents doesn’t even sign or have deep meaningful communciation with her as they do with her siblings or any other members of her family.

        That’s sad. Really sad.

        This is what I’m saying here. I am not even saying anything remotely like I’m ashamed to be Deaf. Where do you even get that from? I’m more than ok being Deaf, but, I’m very much more wanting to communicate with anybody tha I encounter so I’m willing to use whatever language tools there is to communicate with that person as that person is a human being who is also important and of value. It doesn’t even matter to me if you are of different religion, nationality, language, etc. We ALL want to be understood and accepted for who we really are.

        Are you willing to label yourself as this and that and that’s just it? Just settling for that and cut yourself off to greater possiilities, opportunities, avenues of growth, etc.?

        Another perfect example. Go to the SorensonVRS website and watch the video in ASL about the FCC then click on the link for the text transcript of the reasons why we have to register for FCC and come back and tell me what the differences are between that and what you thought about the “information” that was shared / not shared and do you think that a Deaf person that only reads at 3-4th grade level would be able to understand the entire text transcript?

        BTW, CI hasn’t been around that long and is not responsible for failure of Deaf education. That’s really laughable.

        And maybe it’d be a real good idea to ask other Deaf adults whose parents didn’t learn sign and was not involved in their education and how the Deaf person feels about all that.

        My other friend, Joe, recently met my parents and he saw them sign and he is in his 60’s – he felt inspired by seeing my folks sign and wish that his parents did. He did not learn to sign until he was in 8th grade. He often felt left out with interactions with his 14 siblings growing up and had no idea what was going on around him. But he learned to talk and read lips and he can interact with other Deaf AND hearing people very well compared to another friend, Paul, who ONLY uses ASL and when we all went out to a restaurant and the waiter asked Paul what he wanted, Paul didn’t even want to communicate with the waiter directly so I helped him out by interpreting and Paul was pretty rude to the waiter by just flat out ignoring him. Yeah Paul doesn’t need to learn how to speak to be able to learn ASL. The communication breakdown did not happen with the waiter who was open to trying to communicate with Paul in other ways bu the breakdown occured with Paul who clearly did not want to communicate.

        That’s a very CLEAR point of why communication is very important regardless of whatever TOOLS there are to use to communicate with each other and it’s a moot point if you are Deaf, Hearing, Spanish, German, Muslim, Jewish, Gay, Lesbian, etc and so on. That’s just a Cop out and a way of labeling : boxing yourself in just so that you don’t have to step out of your comfort zone to communicate with each other here for whatever issue / topic and so on.

        Ok guess this is long enough. 🙂

        Have a great weekend!

        Take care,

  19. I’m glad you’re not ashamed to be deaf and that your parents sign with you, but I still don’t think it is necessary for deaf to learn to speak (or to get cochlear implants) I have all deaf professors, none of them speak and they all read and write English extremely well. I don’t think you have to be able to speak English to be able to learn how to read and write. I know Cochlear implants haven’t been around for a long time, but they are just one more way to make deaf children into what the hearing world wants them to be. I think we should be concentrating on teaching deaf children in ASL instead of teaching them how to speak etc. I do think it’s great that your parents signed with you (I’m assuming they are hearing) but the majority of hearing parents do not do so. I’m not saying that they’re bad people, I believe they really want what is best for their child, but because most (if not all) of their information comes from doctors, audiologists etc. what they see as best for their child is to adapt them to the hearing world, i.e. surgery, oralism, total communication etc. I do not believe that the reason your friend can’t communicate with her family is because she doesn’t have oral training, it is because they do not sign. I’m sorry to hear about situations like your friend Paul who can’t (or doesn’t want to) communicate with the hearing world, but as I said before the adults I interact with everyday only sign and communicate with hearing on a daily basis. I respect your opinions but I firmly believe that ASL is the way to go. Thank you for responding, I like to see other points of views. Cheers.

  20. Jehanne,
    I LOVE the pictures! Thank you so much for sharing them 🙂 I wish I could have been there, but I live across the country. It makes me want to protest the oral school in our neighborhood (unfortunately we still have one). Thanks again, I’m enjoying your blog.

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