Tag Archives: Sign

Poetry! Joshua Bennett Performing ‘Tamara’s Opus’

From the White House Poetry Jam! Transcription and description by Anna.

Joshua Bennett is a young Black man. While is poem his entirely in spoken English, he Signs some of the lines, and I have highlighted those lines with asterisks on either side.

Tamara has never listened to hip hop.
Never danced to the rhythm of raindrops or fallen asleep to a chorus of chirping crickets. She has been Deaf
for as long as I’ve been alive.
And ever since the day I first turned five my father has said:
“Joshua.
Nothing is wrong with Tamara.
**God just makes
some people
different.**”

And at that moment
those nine letters felt like hammers
swung gracefully by unholy hands to shatter my stained glass innocence
into shards that can never be pieced back together
or do anything more than sever the ties between my sister and I. I waited,
was patient numberless years anticipating the second her ears would open like lotuses and allow my sunlight senses to seep into her insides
make her remember
all of those conversations we must have had in heaven back when God handpicked us to be sibling souls centuries ago.
I still remember
her 20th birthday.
Readily recall my awe-struck 11 year old eyes as I watched Deaf men and women of all ages dance in unison to the vibration of speakers booming so loud
that I imagined angels chastising us for disturbing their worship with such beautiful blasphemy.
Until you have seen **a Deaf girl dance, you know
nothing
of passion.**
There was a barricade between us that I never took the time to destroy never even for a moment thought to look up the sign for **sister**, for **family**, for **goodbye. I will see you again someday.**
remember the face
of your little brother.

It is only now I see
that I was never willing to put in the extra effort to love her properly.
So as the only person in my family who is not fluent in sign language
I’ve decided to take this time to apologize.

Tamara
**I am sorry
for my silence.**

For true love knows no frequency, and so
I will use these hands to speak volumes that can never be contained within the boundaries of sound waves
I will shout at the top of my fingertips until digits dance and relay these mental messages directly to your soul.

I know
that there is no poem
that can make up for all the time we have lost so
please,
if you can,
**just listen.**

Recommended Reading for 28 September, 2010

I hope all is well in your world on this fine Tuesday! Gentle reader, be cautioned: comments sections on mainstream media sites tend to not be safe and we here at FWD/Forward don’t necessarily endorse all the opinions in these pieces. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Canada: Disabled-services flip-flop at Winnipeg Free Press:

The about-face came one day after an internal U of W memo was leaked to media and revealed a number of university programs to help disabled students were on the chopping block. The decision outraged students and raised eyebrows since it comes just weeks after the U of W launched a new disability degree program devoted to the “critical analysis of disability in society.”

USA: College Web Pages Are ‘Widely Inaccessible’ to People With Disabilities from the Chronicle of Higher Education:

The study found that more colleges are deploying basic accessibility features, like adding alternative text to images so a blind student can understand them with read-aloud software.

But those gains were offset by challenges from inaccessible emerging technologies. For example, a person with disabilities who can’t use a mouse will often be stymied by a Web site that requires users to hover their mouse over a page element to trigger a sub-menu.

Australia: Disabled drivers get no favours on private property from the Brisbane Times:

The Department of Transport, which issues disabled parking permits under its Disability Parking Permit Scheme, is powerless to protect drivers who park in shopping centres, with centre management charged with enforcing the scheme there.

India: Promote sign language, urges deaf association from expressbuzz.com:

More than 100 members of the Deaf Enabled Foundation, an NGO for the deaf, took out a rally on International Day of the Deaf, here on Sunday, from the Labour Statue to Light House.

And, also from India, framed in possibly the most patronising way possible, Movie made by deaf and dumb to premiere on Oct 9 from the Indian Express:

The movie Amir=Garib, to be premiered on October 9 in the Town Hall Auditorium, has all the essentials of a Bollywood flick, but one fundamental element — sound. The movie has been made by deaf and dumb people.

Send your links to recreading[@]disabledfeminists[.]com. Let us know if/how you want to be credited.

Recommended Reading for Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Chantal Petitclerc and Warren Spires, two people wearing 'right to play' shirts and sitting next to what appears to be an ice skating rink. One of the people, Chantal, is in a wheelchair.

Warren Spires is the president of Right to Play Canada, and the organizer of the Right to Play charity Skate. Chantal Petitclerc is a disabled athlete, one of Right to Play’s ambassadors. (Photo by Flickr user NailaJ, Creative Commons License)

RMJ at Deeply Problematic: Reminder: Disability Carnival!

The original due date was yesterday, but I’m going to extend my call for submissions to the day of the carnival, Thursday July 29, at 9 am EST!

Amy Cohen Efron at Deaf World As Eye See It: HR3101 Passed Unanimously!

As of 3:35pm – A tweet from Pratik Patel (@ppatel) who is a New York entrepreneur, running a business, working at University, and a passionate advocate for the blind and other causes, with a huge announcement!

This is fantastic. #HR3101 passes with a unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.

UNANIMOUS???? No opposing vote? It is voice vote that was passed today at the House of Representative with no one opposing. Not even one “nay” been voiced! Pratik Patel witnessed it on C-SPAN channel today at around 3:35pm.

(HR 3101 is the Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, designed to make communications more accessible for people with disabilities! Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to get this bill passed.)

Lisa Factora-Borchers at My Ecdysis: Dear Sister Anthology

Call For Submission

Dear Sister is an anthology of letters and other works created for survivors of sexual violence from other survivors and allies. It is a collection of hope and strength through words and art.

Kathji Wolfe at The Washington Blade: Get to know a queer crip (via Media dis&dat)

One in five Americans (51.2 million) has a disability and from three to five million people are LGBTQ and have disabilities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. I am one of many who are disabled in the queer community. We are of all races, classes, ages, genders and occupations. Reclaiming the pejorative terms “queer” and “cripple,” increasing numbers of us proudly call ourselves “queer crips.”

Yet our presence isn’t well known or always welcomed in the LGBTQ community. Many places (from bars to shops) and events (such as conferences) in the queer community aren’t accessible to folks with disabilities. My friend, Hugh Gallagher, used a wheelchair. Gallagher, the author of “FDR’s Splendid Deception,” worked on Capitol Hill. “I can only get into one gay bar [in Washington, D.C.],” he told me in 2004, the year he died.

NASA: Astronaut Caldwell Dyson Sends Sign Language Message From Space Station (via @MarleeMatlin, be advised, there’s a bit of patronisation)

The International Space Station has had guests from all over the world, representing myriad languages. But until NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson came aboard, one language was still not represented. Said to be the fourth most commonly used language in the United States, American Sign Language, or ASL, made its debut on the space station in a special video recorded by Caldwell Dyson.

Transcript below the fold.

Continue reading Recommended Reading for Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Recommended Reading for Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

A wheelchair in a rocky, grassy landscape on a mountain. He is leaning forward to unzip a tent and camping equipment is stacked next to the tent's entry.

‘4WheelBob Coomber climbs Mt. White in a wheelchair’ by Flickr user Rick McCharles, Creative Commons License.

Stitch Kingdom: Disneyland Resort Begins Broad Sign Language Interpretation Program Across Parks

Disneyland Resort this week began offering regularly-scheduled sign language interpretation at numerous shows and attractions at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure parks. As part of the Resort’s ongoing commitment to guests with disabilities, individuals have access to a schedule of offerings where interpretation is provided without having to make prior arrangements.

“The Disneyland Resort is dedicated to making the Disney tradition of rich storytelling available to all of our guests,” said Betty Appleton, who oversees the Resort’s guests with disabilities program. “Our new sign language service enables guests with hearing disabilities [ed note-indeed] to engage with our shows and attractions in a whole new way.”

Jeff Baenen at the San Francisco Chronicle: Theatre mixes disabled, nondisabled actors (warning, the framing of this article is along some familiar ‘overcoming disability’ and ‘they are just like normal people!’ lines)

Dozens of theater companies use disabled actors, including troupes in Cincinnati, Washington and New York. But there still are too few roles for them, said Ike Schambelan, founder and artistic director of New York’s off-Broadway Theater Breaking Through Barriers.

Casting directors are “perfectly willing to put an able-bodied person in a disabled role when I cannot believe they could not find a person for the role who uses a wheelchair,” he said.

isabelthespy at very filled with dreams: don’t you think mental health issues should be taught as part of high school health class?

and while i do think you can’t understand it if you haven’t been there, i feel like it might not be a total waste of time to introduce people, early, to that fact. to be like: “depression is a thing. a real thing, even. if you don’t have it and never have, you don’t know what the fuck it’s like. so if you ever feel like giving a depressed person some helpful advice based on that time you were sad, or if you feel like maybe it would be helpful for everyone involved if you gave the depressed person a good talking-to about how they should just try harder to get their shit together already, please remember that time you were sixteen and your health teacher told you, preemptively, to SHUT THE FUCK UP.” and thus we spare thousands of future depressed people the agony of not so much having their friends not understand them as having their friends THINK they understand them when, actually, they don’t and can’t.

Afua Hirsch and Alice Lagnado at The Guardian: Study shows more disabled students are dropping out of university

Although when she began her anthropology degree course at Durham University Watson was assessed and given the help of a note-taker and a laptop, she says tutors and lecturers humiliated her and failed to take her needs into account. When she raised the issue, she was offered counselling to help her adjust to university life.

“[One tutor] tapped on the loop [of her hearing aid system] and shouted down it “Rosie can you hear me, Rosie” and I was made to feel humiliated, especially when other students laughed at this,” Watson says. “I asked the tutor if she realised just how upsetting that had been for me; her reaction was to say that she always shouted ‘because her grandmother is old’.

BBC News: Disability support evidence to help inquiry

The EHRC is using its legal powers to hold the inquiry into the ways local authorities, the police, social services, schools, public transport operators and other bodies tackle – or don’t tackle – disability harassment.

Research carried out by the EHRC last year revealed that disabled people are four times more likely than non-disabled people to be victims of crime.

Dancing With Gaga

Several of the FWD/Forward contributors are fans of Lady Gaga, so when I encountered a Sign version of ‘Paparazzi,’ I was pretty delighted. I got even more delighted when I realised that there is actually a very large genre of signed versions of Lady Gaga’s songs, and pulled a sampling to post here. Please feel free to add links to more Gaga-related disability performance and dance videos in the comments, because these are only the tip of the iceberg!

Deaf YouTube user zephyreros Signs an American Sign Language version of ‘So Happy I Could Die.’ (Lyrics for ‘So Happy I Could Die.’)

‘Bad Romance’ in American Sign Language by LoveJennivere. (Lyrics for ‘Bad Romance.’)

Jeremy Neiderer, another Deaf YouTuber, performing ‘Paparazzi’ in American Sign Language. (Lyrics for ‘Paparazzi.’)

YouTuber Lee, who has Asperger’s and Tourette’s, Signing ‘Poker Face’ in British Sign Language. (Lyrics for ‘Poker Face.’)

I can’t mention Lady Gaga without pointing y’all to Annaham’s ‘Disability Chic? (Temporary) Disability in Lady Gaga’s ‘Paparazzi’.’ Gaga’s work is, as we like to say, Not Without Problems and I’d welcome discussions of her handling of disability, gender, and other issues in comments as well.