Saturday, May 14, 2005

Deaf activists are a valuable asset to the Deaf community.

Deaf activists are a valuable asset to the Deaf community. The more
activists we have the better we are able to defend our rights. Yes,
we need more Deaf activists than there are at this time. If you have
the time and resources to spare you can become a valuable asset to
your community. ONLY the ones that are truly sympathetic to the Deaf
community should consider becoming Deaf activists. Victims of
disability related discrimination are STRONGLY encouraged to become
activists. Take your time, get a little this now and a little that
later. You will function better if you absorb these items on a
gradual basis. The editor gave himself 18 months to accumulate these
resources. REMEMBER You are to serve the Deaf community and not
expect anything back.

Here is one way to start yourself as a Deaf activist.

1) Join local Deaf associations AND attend their meetings. (NOT
RECREATION/SPORTS ASSOCIATIONS).

2) Obtain Deaf news from Deaf newsletters or newspapers.

3) Gather the names and addresses of as many U.S. senators and as
many representatives in your state. Communicating with them is one
important part of being an activist. You will ask them to support or
reject bills that are introduced that affect the disability
community. Make sure you get the official position on the bills
preferably from the National Association for the Deaf before you
communicate with the lawmakers. When you write to lawmakers, just
send to the ones that directly represent your state.

4) Gather resources on SSI, SSDI, SSA, Workers Compensation, EEOC,
and Fair Employment and Housing authorities. Make sure that the
information comes from the government agency. It will be helpful if
you were familiar with the procedures for these programs.

5) Gather information and business cards from at least 5 attorneys
who specializes in cases involving disabled people for referrals. In
most cases, you will need to refer someone to an attorney. Keep their
problems confidential if they spill it on you before you get the
chance to refer them to an attorney.

6) Start a community newsletter if you have resources to spare.

7) Obtain a copy of the entire ADA law and all the technical manuals
CD from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission It is a good
source of information.

8) Obtain a copy of your local Social Services Resource Directory.
With this you will able to provide Deaf people with information on
how to get free food, rent, transportation, and legal assistance as
well as referrals to free specialized help. The resource directory is
very valuable.

9) Participate in any civil rights demonstration if you have the time
to spare. Try not to restrict yourself to Deaf demonstrations, go to
other disability demonstrations and civil rights demonstrations.
(This will help you form alliances!)

10) Contact other Deaf or Disability activists and ask them to help
you get started. They know how to go about things and will be a
valuable source of information. Volunteer your time helping them
out. Most activists can use a lot of help.

Hope you find this helpful!

Always at your service!

Richard Roehm