District of Columbia is one of the largest Deaf communities in America. As the news had informed the D.C. community to be prepared for a potential surge to be a Coronavirus hotspot as “the second wave” after New York as the “the first wave”.
NPR writes on April 8, 2020: “At any point, the number of really sick residents in the D.C. community could increase dramatically.”
The debates center on three critical questions:
First, is the Deaf community in D.C. ready?
Second, is the access to ASL interpreters at hospitals which it would perceive as a safety necessary for healthy public debate, or is it harmful to public debate? Is Audism a harmful debate?
Third, should governmental policies be founded upon the protection of interests and rights of being Deaf, of Deaf individuals, or identifiable Deaf groups?
Legitimate criticism normally protected in the USA under the First Amendment might be labeled “language deprivation” by the critiqued.
During the 1918 Pandemic, how did the Deaf community in DC prepare and how did they survive? Gallaudet University was 54 years old at that time. Now, 156 years after the founding of the world’s higher learning for the Deaf, 102 years later after the 1918 Pandemic, the Coronavirus Pandemic is bigger than ever in human history, how should Deaf community in DC share its success and resources locally?
Is the ADA still a stronghold in DC after the signature in 1990? Of all the categories, the one the Deaf community perhaps most conditioned to take for granted for being Deaf. Not only do Deaf people suffer, but the Deaf community as a whole becomes more vulnerable to a medical crisis.
Within the world’s deadliest virus in human history, we the Deaf shall remain strong and can become involved–become a real part of the process–even at the greatest distance. The quality of life shall not be denied to the medical crisis in the hospital for the Deaf patients, and it will be an ultimate test for the Deaf community including District of Columbia Association of the Deaf (DCAD) as our beacon of hope and strength as:
“The work of the Association — equality, accessibility, and justice for all — depends on the support and participation of caring and progressive individuals.”
Will the Deaf citizens in D.C. be prepared for the greatest crisis in humanity? Overcome fear? Overcome bias?
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