Climbing Up The Ladder: Persistent Steps Towards an Inclusive America
Question: Where are the radical thinkers? Navigating through sorts of plagues, marginalized d/Deaf youth, especially in rural areas or raised by hearing parents with lack of resources, experienced a fully-fledged childhood—freedom was not given but earned. The sole reason for a plural form, aside from the coronavirus pandemic, is that the Black Deaf and LGBTQIA+ community has certainly racially faced numerous types of pandemics daily. In addition to our American history, January 6th is one of the darkest moments that explicitly portrayed a terribly destructive narrative to create for a whole race of people. We have seen a rise of hate groups in America, and frankly, it clearly shows that we live in two Americas, not one.
In reference to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech—a year before his assassination in 1967–The Other America, “America is beautiful…and overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity, the other is to transform hope into the fatigue of despair.” With the fundamental sense of insecurity and outcries of grit to escape nihilism, there is a dire need to empower our youth by reminding them of the potency of promoting dialogues on race, addressing poverty, and advancing economic justice.
Where are the radical thinkers?
My belief that the ideology of white supremacy where slavery never ended in 1865, which is widely known as Juneteenth, various signs of slavery evolve, lingering through the 19th and 20th centuries. We just witnessed the fear of white Americans losing the grip of white supremacy, one spiteful society. A missing gap in deaf education: the necessity for increased exposure of youth’s spiritual maturity, progressive leadership enhancement through Black consciousness readings, and self-determination in their given assignments. (Playing “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Aretha Franklin) Without a doubt, we need more Black deaf male educators and diversified youthful community leaders to enunciate the truth to the powerless. One of the wisest, intellectual Dr. Cornel West, once explained in his substantial dialogue with the CNN’s anchor, Don Lemon, that “embrace doesn't mean uncritical deference. It means I'm here to bear witness to something bigger than me.”
John Lewis, a trailblazer, congressman, and civil rights leader, mentioned in his book Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America where he encourages grassroots leaders to decolonize their life, “and this history lends us one powerful reminder today: Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society” (Lewis, p. 7).
We need more Black deaf male educators and youthful community leaders to enunciate the truth to the powerless.
We hopes that deaf advocacy organizations will take heed of the warning and shake of shackles of passivity. The narrative we created that Black deaf people aren't as good as white Deaf people is that Black deaf people are less deserving than human. The hope and the push for change beginning in education while the growth ignites attention in the classroom, where students are given real-world critical thinking activities. Often we ask ourselves, “what is the next step?” The convention of amplifying that education and voting matters begins with year-round community advocacy and partnerships through organizations such as The Center for Democracy in Deaf America, National Black Deaf Advocates, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and youth programs at Deaf residential and day schools in the United States.
Lewis, John. Across That Bridge: a Vision for Change and the Future of America. Hachette Books, 2012.