Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AFA Looks Back to 2010

Audism Free America 

reflects back on the past 5 years

AFA began in 2009 – to see that year in review go to:

AFA alerted the community about Clarke school removing the Deaf in its name –
Clarke School for the Deaf changed to the Center for Oral Education to Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech

We shared information on our video meeting with Nancy Bloch NAD CEO and we issued a Wake Up Call to the NAD.  See and later we put forth five questions about audism to each of the finalists for NAD CEO.

We actively opposed AB 2072 – a bill in California that later was vetoed by the Governor.

We provided a list of resources on audism and linguicism.

We shared our concerns with the community and wrote a letter to the Judge about a Deaf father being court-ordered to force his Deaf daughter to wear her cochlear implants all her waking hours even if they were causing her discomfort or she wanted to have them off or a while. 

We revisited our 3 demands to AG Bell Association – which are still valid and need to be addressed by AGBAD. 

We informed the community about fines and lawsuits against Cochlear Americas and Advanced Bionics.

We sent a letter to NTID President Search Committee identifying the qualities desired for the next president of NTID. 

We expressed our grave concerns about the unjust killing of Native-American Deaf woodcarver, John T. Williams by a Seattle police officer. 

We were involved in advocating for the ICED to rescind the ICED Milan 1880 resolutions and we received a response from the ICED 2010.

We issued a PR web on the Historic Announcement Rejecting the Exclusion of Sign Language in Deaf Education

Friday, April 4, 2014


Greetings All…..
As you may be aware  Felix Garcia, an innocent Deaf man who has spent the past 32 years in prison, is up for clemency hearing in September. There is a Facebook page and petition that goes to the Florida Governor (the state where Felix is being held).  If Florida Governor agrees to grant clemency to Felix, he will finally be free.  YOUR support is NEEDED NOW by signing the petition, joining the Facebook page, and using #FREEFELIX. 

Sign the petition here:

Visit the Facebook page here:

In 2012, AFA wrote a letter to Governor Scott on behalf of Felix (see Below is more information we received concerning recent articles published, a tv spot, an op-ed written by Felix Garcia's pro-bono attorney, and other links.

Felix's freedom is in your hands!! 

Let Freedom Roll
for Felix too!


Gov. Scott and Cabinet have a chance to do the right thing for Felix Garcia
March 27, 2014
By Peter Schorsch
Click here to see the article:

Tallahassee Democrat
Reggie Garcia: Help deaf people be heard
April 1, 2014
By Reggie Garcia
Click here to see the rest of the article:

 WFLA-TB (NBC) - Tampa Bay, FL
News Ch8 Today
March 26, 2014
Click here to watch this video segment:

See also:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

AFA's Letter Concerning Iowa School for the Deaf Supt Search

2 April 2014
Ms. Rose Vasquez,
Search Committee Chair
And Ms. Marcia Brunson,
Policy and Operations Officer
Board of Regents

To Ms. Brunson and Ms. Vasquez,

It has come to our attention that the education of Deaf children in Iowa is endangered and as a national grassroots network of Deaf activists, dedicated to combating audism*, we feel compelled to respond.  It is clear to us that the recent actions of the Board of Regents translates into a systematic effort to ensure that the education of Deaf children in your state is moving toward the closure of Iowa School for the Deaf and resulting forced assimilation of Deaf students in your state.

Is it intentional that you have not included on your search committee for Superintendent significant Deaf representatives nor representatives from vital stakeholders such as ISD alumni and Deaf Community members?

Is it intentional that you have not sought a QUALIFIED individual for the Superintendent position who has an advanced degree in the areas related to the education of Deaf individuals?

Is it intentional that it is not a priority that the Superintendent of a Deaf school can communicate directly with the stakeholders and students she/he is expected to serve and protect?

Is it intentional that you are not actively working with the Deaf Coalition of Iowa to build a stronger relationship between the Deaf community and the Iowa School for the Deaf?

Unfortunately, these efforts will leave the future generation of Iowa Deaf students academically at risk.  Not only is this unjust, there are international documents which your actions violate in principle:

The International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED) in 2010 noted that, many Deaf citizens are being prevented from “equal access to decision making, employment opportunities and quality education” and therefore urged all nations to “facilitate, enhance and embrace their Deaf citizens’ participation in all governmental decision making processes affecting all aspects of their lives.”

From the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:
Deaf children have the human right to accessible learning which “facilitate(s) their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community.”

At this point in time what is needed is a visionary Superintendent who is dedicated to improving the education of Deaf children in Iowa by putting into practice an innovative challenging educational program at Iowa School for the Deaf that will prepare Deaf students as global citizens.  Relying heavily on a search committee that has minimal knowledge of Deaf culture, ASL, and community accountability within the Deaf-World does not bode well in leading to an Audism-free new Superintendent.

The passion of the members of the Deaf Coalition of Iowa shows a great investment in the importance of the future of the Iowa School for the Deaf and the education of all Deaf children in Iowa. This investment the Board and future Superintendent cannot afford to loose.

Let Freedom Roll,

Karen Christie, Patti Durr and Ruthie Jordan

*Audism is attitudes and practices based on the assumption that behaving in the ways of those who speak and hear is desired and best. It produces a system of privilege, thus resulting in stigma, bias, discrimination, and prejudice—in overt or covert ways—against Deaf culture, American Sign Language, and Deaf people of all walks of life.

Cc:  Robert Vizzini, Deaf Coalition of Iowa,
       Patrick Clancy, Superintendent of Iowa