I am so excited!
Today is the day! Tonight, The Dancing with the Stars will have their Disney Special. Please make sure that you set up your DVR or join with the Deaf Community to watch this show!
Why am I so excited? Nyle DiMarco chose Tarzan as one of the most famous Disney characters, and he will be dancing with Peta Murgatroyd as Jane!
Here’s the sneak peek from Nyle DiMarco’s twitter!
I wrote a blog last week explaining how brilliant of Nyle DiMarco to pick this character because of its historical context.
I am presenting a video with an American Sign Language translation done by Morgan Eastman.
Morgan Eastman is a Gallaudet Alumni that currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida. She loves working in theatre, advocating for the deaf community and ASL rights, as well as environmental issues. She will be a graduate student at University of South Florida for sustainable entrepreneurship starting Fall 2016. In her down time, she freedives in Florida springs and oceans as her meditation.
Morgan is the one who inspired me by her previous video on her Facebook, especially with her story about Caliban and Prospero. I was so touched by her story and I asked her if she could do the honors for translating my blog article. She graciously accepted it!
Here is Morgan’s video that was published last week.
Transcription is provided below.
I read that article written by the AG Bell Association’s President in response to Nyle DiMarco’s success.
Congratulating him but still trying to say that being oral and being able to hear is better than ASL since ASL use is declining in the deaf community.
I think AG Bell mentioned that because they’re afraid.
In 2015 and 2016 and in future, the deaf community has been LOUD and VISIBLE than ever before. Hearing people all around the world and America noticed us. Spring Awakening, Switched at Birth, Nyle, graduate students doing research and publishing on linguistics, ASL, learning, bilingual education, etc.
We are LOUD. That part is amazing, but fuck! AG Bell is still powerful. Look, we are angry and venting out. But hey, our anger can change to action! We contribute in our own ways. Fighting like Nyle, no we can’t. But we do have our own magic. For example, me. Many of you know that I grew up oral and had one implant, well, 2 implants.
That part, I’m not proud of but…I used to be a member of AG Bell when I was a young child. I was considered a “Success Child”. I could speak well, I could hear well by their standards. I did not care about being this way. I just went on about my life. I even was on a panel sharing my story in a conference, I was 12 that time. A long time ago! I was a different person back then. I look back and think, “Shit! I reinforced that audism system, shit.”
BUT now I’m sharing my story to show my ASL pride as well as deaf pride. I don’t use cochlear implants anymore.
I CHOOSE not to.
“CHOOSE” is a powerful word. Not like I stopped wearing it because it broke…or I can’t afford it…but because I CHOSE not to. That statement is powerful.
There’s more oral and mainstreamed students going to Gallaudet now. That is a little bit concerning but WHAT IF they could be our strongest ally in fighting audism? Our stories, our suffering..we can share that. It could become our powerful tool to bring to their face. I think we can.
One character I thought of, you theatre people know this! This character’s name is Caliban in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. He was “deformed”, “not human”, “ugly” etc. He was raised by the magician named Prospero. Prospero’s expression of language is very elegant. He taught his language to Caliban for years and years and years. Caliban learned this language and memorized it. They went on their own ways…well this part of the story I don’t remember clearly.
My point…when they crossed paths again Caliban told Prospero
“You taught me language; and my profit on’t. Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you”
Wow! That statement is a perfect example of what oral people grew up with and their suffering can be a powerful tool of allyship. Oral people were taught how to speak growing up, but some of us become what they don’t want us to become. And they would freak out about that. We know their language, their thinking…this can be turned to their face. That part will be strong. Our part can contribute to this fight. Linguists can use their research to help, theatre can tell stories. There are different ways we can fight back. Hope is NOT lost. There’s more hope than EVER before. We collaborate together…we can fight back!”[image description: androgynous-presenting person with a grey hat backwards, wearing a light yellow shirt with a white outline design. the background is green-yellow with stairs leading up to second floor.]
Thank you, Morgan for your contribution.
I wish you all of the best for your endeavours.
Morgan Eastman is Nyle.
Amy Cohen Efron is Nyle.
You, the reader who is Deaf, Deaf-Blind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, or Cochlear Implant user, are Nyle too.
Please go to Nyle DiMarco Foundation and support his important cause!
Amy Cohen Efron