I had mentioned this in a previous post, but I decided to start a new one. I would really appreciate as many signatures as possible.
To sign the petition, please go to:
Human Rights Petition: No Deaf in Deaf Side Story? | Change.org
I am writing you because I am concerned about an announcement of an upcoming event in my ASL class.
A professor from the speech department of Muskingum University, Rachel Pollock, came and visited our ASL 1 class last Monday. She had a wonderful idea that she presented that she wanted to do a reader's theater, called "Deaf Side Story: The Musical." Her idea was to present Deaf culture, using a play, musical, book review, and improv acting. She invited our ASL 1 students to be in this musical. This concerned me to begin with as we have had 3 classes as of the day of the announcement. We have very basic ASL skills and an extremely limited knowledge of Deaf culture. The other flag that went up was that she is hearing and barely signs herself.
After she had presented, I began asking questions. All of the people who will be in the play are also hearing. Though she is working with someone long distance to teach signs to the cast. There will be no Deaf involved, not even helping to keep their portrayal of the Deaf community accurate.
When I asked why she didn't include someone from the Deaf community, or find Deaf to play the Deaf parts of the musical. She responded that there weren't any Deaf close enough. I found this extremely ironic considering our instructor is Deaf and was in the room at the time. While this area may not have an overwhelming Deaf population as some larger cities, they exist!
Her cluelessness about the Deaf culture, hesitancy to include any Deaf in the production, and request for beginning ASL students to join really threw up red flags for me. In addition to several performances around the area, she would like to take this presentation to Los Angeles to the American Reader's Theater Association Nationals.
I am extremely concerned that this will lead to more misunderstanding of the Deaf community. I have started this petition to allow others to have their say in the desire to either include the Deaf community or not do this performance at all.