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42: DPN 20th Anniversary

Posted by ridor9th on February 20, 2008

Greetings!  Can you believe that by next month, the first week of March 2008, we will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Deaf President Now Movement? This is very important milestone in the history of deaf community across the globe.  The very one that won the worldwide’s affection and the attention of the media.

We should and must celebrate this historical event that took place at Gallaudet University 20 years ago. Some people will say that DPN is insignificant except that it brought nothing but a headache that plagued Gallaudet during the reign of I. King Jordan.

Please.

DPN is not about Gallaudet or I. King Jordan! It is much more than that. The protests that occurred at Gallaudet made a huge ripple effects on deaf schools, clubs, organizations, agencies, governments, educational and yes, employment.

For centuries, Deaf people has been dismissed, disregarded and ignored by the society at large practically on everything else. For decades, Deaf people tend to accept the notion that the majority prevails no matter even with the fact that we were right and that they were wrong. Deaf people used to accept the whole package — injustice, inequality, discrimination, oppression and all that stuff that was perpetuated upon us all — without standing up for what is right.

Many would say, “They do not understand but one day, they will learn and let us do it.” That mentality has prevented us from standing up for what is right for decades. That is, until the pivotal moment in March, 1988 at Gallaudet University when the Board of Trustees chose a hearing individual to run the university over deaf candidates. That was when Deaf people said, “Enough is enough!”

Remember this: I. King Jordan initially was against the DPN protests in the first place because he was accustomed to the idea of being pushed aside in favor of hearing individuals.

When DPN occurred, it shattered the mentality and fought against the odds that were stacked upon us all in the first place. It prompted Deaf and hearing people to examine themselves in the process. The impact by DPN has upon us all is hard to describe. Deaf schools began to hire Deaf individuals to run the schools. Many government and non-profit agencies started to hire Deaf individuals for their qualifications.

The reason why the DPN Protests has evolved into its own Movement is because of its impact upon us all. It goes beyond Gallaudet or even I. King Jordan! Psychologically, mentally and spiritually, it ultimately prompted us to stand up for what is right instead of being passive about it.

One staff member at Gallaudet commented after I asked him what does he thinks of DPN, “The whole picture — the DPN was a small step in the right direction. It is like how we look back in the past and reflect. We see women and African-Americans fighting for the right to vote and they did it. DPN is a small step in the right direction and it may be the first domino to fall afterwards.”

Upon asking this deaf woman in the middle of America on her thoughts about DPN, she wrote, “I think DPN is alright but I’m not satisfied with it. We have so much work to do. IKJ was not a good leader. I hope in the future, it gets better.”

Because of DPN, more and more Deaf people are taking control of their lives and not to let anyone to trample your rights and dignity. We have more Deaf people with Ph.D degrees these days. We have more Deaf doctors, lawyers and so on. We had witnessed the increase of deaf employers in deaf schools, deaf-run agencies et al.

Let’s face this: Unity for Gallaudet would not be possible if not for Deaf President Now Movement!

Dr. Angel Ramos is coordinating the historical event at Kellogg Conference Center on March 8, 2008 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Deaf President Now Movement. Greg Hlibok, Tim Rarus, Bridgetta Bourne-Firl, Bobbie Beth Scoggins and many will attend and celebrate the 20th anniversary. There will be workshops and banquet on that day. For further information on this, check this link.

I’m disappointed that Dr. Davila, the current President of Gallaudet, and the Board of Trustees did not bother to acknowledge, recognize or support the celebration of DPN’s 20th Anniversary. From what I understand, the organizers are bypassing Dr. Davila to the Board of Trustees in getting them to recognize the anniversary.

Some speculated that the main reason Davila and the Board of Trustees declined to support the event because they felt that the sentiment among the students, faculty, staff and alumni are still raw regarding the IKJ/JKF mess that prompted the Unity for Gallaudet protests in 2006. Some claimed that it was due to a perception that DPN is a reflection of I. King Jordan who is viewed as a villain.

It was said that the Board of Trustees has failed to act in recognizing the 20th Anniversary of DPN Movement because they were concerned about endorsing this event that may implicate Gallaudet’s re-accreditation process with the MSCHE.

Either way, Dr. Davila should support, acknowledge, recognize or sponsor the whole thing because it is right thing to do. Personal or not, one has to put it aside and do the right thing.

If you’re in or near Washington, join the celebration on March 8, 2008 at Kellogg Conference Center. Gosh, 20 years flew by just like that.

Oh, by the way, I. King Jordan is not scheduled to be there. So no need to worry. The celebration is not all about him — it is all about you!

C’mon, Dr. Davila, show your bold leadership by doing the right thing.

I salute the protesters that made things happen in March, 1988. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. What you did in 1988 inspired me to no end.

Cheers,

R-

6 Responses to “42: DPN 20th Anniversary”

  1. DE said

    Awesome entry. Yeah- thank you protestors of both 1988 and 2006. You all have inspired me as well.

    DPN20, wow.

    DE

  2. Salute said

    No wonder IJK’s AG Bell plan helps corporations rich! IJK’s rewarding the rich and hurting future Deaf education seekers with the plan to end U.S. and the world Deaf community crisis. IJK will be always a divider!

    Salute to all the protesters!

  3. Rip said

    No mention of Jerry Covell??

  4. Hi, Ridor. Excellent article as usual. You are absolutely right that DPN is far bigger than IKJ. In the past 20 years we have accomplished so much outside the Gallaudet campus thanks to the DPN movement. As Greg Hlibok mentioned, Justin Darts always says that ADA passed because of the DPN movement. Imagine where we would be without ADA. We wouldn’t have our relay services. We wouldn’t have Deaf people working in top management jobs earning six figure incomes, and much much more. The DPN movement broke down so many barriers and moved so many mountains – but we still have lots more to do.

    As for Davila and the Gallaudet BoT not helping to sponsor the event, I understand their concerns. They are concerned about perceptions, that by supporting the DPN movement it will reflect negatively with the accreditors who will be on campus just four weeks later. Rather than criticize Davila and the BoT, we should thank them. I’ve always believed things happen for a good reason and this is another excellent example. By not taking the lead in celebrating DPN20, the Gallaudet BoT has given the Deaf community full ownership of DPN and the DPN message – where it belongs. For the past 20 years DPN and its message was owned by Gallaudet and IKJ – never again. This is OUR history. Yes, its part of Gallaudet’s history too, but the consequences of DPN reached far beyond the walls of the Gallaudet campus.

    I am absolutely sure that many Gallaudet administrators and BoT members would love to be at DPN20. But they can’t because of fear, fear of the possible negative repurcussions from the accreditors. We need to fix this. We can’t let fear dictate our decisions. We need to work out of STRENGTH. That is one reason we are having the forum Saturday morning from 8 am to 3 pm. This will be a great opportunity for all of us – alumni, students, parents and others – to get together and make suggestions to the BoT on what WE can do to help increase enrollment at Gallaudet, what WE can do to help improve Gallaudet’s image. WE need to help Gallaudet become strong again so that our people who are on the Gallaudet BoT and in administration don’t ever have to make decisions out of fear again.

    Hey, everyone, you need to be there and join in the renewal of the DPN spirit. It should be an exciting event. John Maucere, who was involved with the 1988 DPN movement, will be the MC, Phil Bravin, the first Deaf chair of the Gallaudet BoT will speak, Bummy Bernstein from GUAA, Bobbie Beth Scoggins from NAD, the three student leaders and many more. If you can’t make it, you can still watch it live thanks to DeafNation. They will telecast the event FREE at http://www.deafnation.com from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm EST.

  5. ridor9th said

    Come to think of this, Dr. Ramos, I agreed that our community must take the full ownership of DPN celebrations. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.

    I’m looking forward to the event in Washington!

    Cheers,

    R-

  6. Ghost writer said

    Good moring, the spring just passed the corner. I missed this DPN 20th Party! How was it?

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