Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Sam Wilder: "Prior to DPN, the students were apathetic. If the Board had sent a spokesperson to the gym and explained the choice, would the choice have been accepted?"


We will never know the answer to that question. What I do know is that receiving the news via a press release was a slap in the face to all of us who were waiting outside the gym to get the news. We were all expecting one of the two Deaf individuals to be selected. It made everyone very angry. When the president of NAD told the students to march to the Mayflower hotel where the Board of Trustees were meeting, nobody moved. When Jerry Covell hollared at the students to "MARCH!!!" they all did. A bigger question is, if Jerry had said nothing, would the students have marched?




Betsy Bachtel: "Why did you name your presentation "The Forgotten Lesson?""


Some members of the Deaf and hearing community have forgotten, or never learned, why the DPN movement was successful. The #1 reason the DPN movement succeeded was because everyone worked together - Deaf people and hearing people, Gay/Lesbians and straight people, White/Anglos and people of color. Everyone respected each other despite the differences in beliefs and ethnicities and hearing. It was beautiful to see and be a part of. Years later, we are back to division, some Deaf people against hearing people people. We can't succeed this way - we have to work together as PARTNERS if we want to be successful in our struggle for equality.




Tiffany Clark: "What inspired you to write a book on DPN?"


The vast majority of people - Deaf and hearing - believe that the reason the DPN movement was successful was because of the Deaf Community. Nothing could be further from the truth. The students had many, many, many hearing Partners who helped make the DPN movement a success, including legislators, Vice-President Bush, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Moe Miller (president of the Post Office Workers Union), interpreters who flew/drove to Gallaudet to interpret for the students and Deaf faculty/staff, free, the local pizza owner who brought pizza to the students every evening, the Gallaudet food service that provided food to the students when the university was closed, and many more. The list of hearing Partners was incredible. Their support bolstered the students and give them extra strength to continue the fight for a Deaf President Now. All of this was forgotten in the emphoria of victory. But, we can't forget. We must remember. Working together as Partners we can succeed again and again and again.




Lori Woods: "How much violence [occurred] during DPN week?"


None, absolutely none. The students and community members who participated in the DPN protest were very respectful of Gallaudet property. We did take command of the alumni building, the 'Ol Jim, but no damage was done to the building. The Gallaudet administration was also very respectful of the students unlike the 2nd protest where President Jordan had students arrested and manure poured near students' tents.




Tabitha Belhorn: "Is the Deaf Community accepting of hearing people regardless of communication method? How does using a CI change acceptance?


Some Deaf people are accepting, some are not. For many Deaf people the most important criteria is a hearing person's attitude. Does the hearing person treat Deaf people as an equal? Respects Deaf Culture? Respects ASL? Get's involved in the Deaf Community? Obviously, if a hearing person wants to get involved in the Deaf Community they should learn ASL to communicate with members of the Deaf Community. The use of a CI by a Deaf person does not change whether they are accepted members of the Deaf Community or not. It is all about their attitude. If a Deaf person with a CI believes they are superior to Deaf people because they can hear better, and speak better, many people in the Deaf Community will not accept them. It is all about attitude. For example, I speak excellently and wear a hearing aid. The majority of Deaf people have accepted me because I have a great attitude. I do not consider myself superior just because I can speak and hear better. I also learned ASL quickly (albeit at a late age - 22) and immersed myself in the Deaf Community - in sports, in activism, in religion, in media, in education, etc. - including the Black Deaf Community and Hispanic/Latino Deaf Community. Even though the majority of Deaf people have accepted me, there are some Deaf people who will not accept me as a member of the Deaf Community because I can speak very well. One of my favorite sayings is, "If Jesus couldn't make everyone happy, I certainly can't." I don't try to make everyone like me - it's impossible. Just be true to yourself, have a great attitude, and the majority of Deaf people will accept you regardless of your signing skill or modality.




Marla Berkowitz: "How did you get involved with DPN?"


The protest started with students using their cars to block the entrances to Gallaudet. When the students left to meet with legislators at the Capitol, police towed the cars, ticketed the cars and damaged some of them. When student returned and found out their cars had been towed, they were upset. Since I was a doctoral student at Gallaudet, I attended the student meeting that evening and recommended they establish a fund to pay for the tickets and the damage. I also told them that Gallaudet faculty and staff would be more than happy to make a donation to pay for the tickets and damage to the cars. Tim Rarus, one of the student leaders, knew me and nominated me for chairperson. I was appointed by acclimation. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time - with the right recommendation.




Sandra Garcia: "What do you believe is the most important quality for someone who wants to be an interpreter to have?"


Attitude, attitude, attitude. it is all about attitude. To become a member of any community, including the Deaf Community, a person needs to do three things: learn the language (ASL), learn the culture (Deaf Culture), and get involved in the community (Deaf Community). Doing all these three things will get someone into the Deaf Community but not necessarily as an accepted member. Deaf people will look at a hearing person's ATTITUDE as the main criteria. For example, there are some interpreters that have super interpreting skills but their attitude stinks. Deaf people prefer not to use them or associate with them. Then there are some interpreters who are new, still learning, with super attitudes and the Deaf Community welcomes them with open arms. There are some interpreter who are offered jobs managing an interpreter program or Deaf community program and they decline, preferring to let a Deaf person manage the program. That is a super attitude.





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