*UPDATED* How and Why to Give: Global Deaf Muslims

by

M. Richard Horrellschmitz

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Hello all!

As promised, here is a more detailed post regarding how YOU can help support our Deaf sisters and brothers in Ghana through GDM.   As a tax-exempted organization registered with US Government, all donations to Global Deaf Muslim’s various activities will be deposited & received into GDM bank. Then the money collected for Muslim Deaf Development will be wired to MDD (Muslim Deaf Development, Ghana) bank in Ghana. That way US government will be aware of the source and destination of donation, money is recorded, and donation is qualified for tax deduction.

The following is a list of MDD needs:

~150 Plastic Chairs,

~20 folding plastic tables,

~50 praying mats/rugs or 5 larger and longer ones.,

~1 Large Screen TV along with a player/projector so that they can show Islamic programs as well as ASL activities, and other educational purposes,

~50 English version of the Quran,

~Used desktop computers

In addition to material donations, we are hoping to raise $10,000 USD to pay for:

~Utility bills(water, electricity, etc),

~Interpreters at the Mosque for weekend classes the Islamic teacher,

~Internet,

~5 staff and their security man all of which GDM have been taking care of

PARTICIPANTS OF THE ISLAMIC CLASS WITH GDM PRESIDENT

GDM and MDDG have are extremely dedicated to supporting this community and are stretched beyond their ability.  Nashiru Abdulai is counting on us to pitch in and help kick-start things so that this beautiful, tight-knit community can provide education, community support, and cultural activities.

To make a donation to MDD chapter in Ghana, click HERE, or copy and paste, 

http://www.razoo.com/story/Mdd-Ghana

Click HERE, or copy and past  http://www.flickr.com/photos/115431306@N08/sets/72157640113334273/  to see pictures of the Deaf community we are connected with.

Warmly,

Just me

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Nashiru Abdulai: The Needs of Deaf Muslims

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M. Richard Horrellschmitz

 

Hello all!

Below is a wonderful video interview with GDM’s President, Nashiru Abdulai which was televised  world wide.

 

Nashiru, a native of Ghana Africa, talks about his life growing up Deaf in Ghana, his college education in the US, and his vision for Deaf Muslims to be recognized and supported in the greater Muslim communities.   Nashiru is a fascinating man with a passion to providing access to his sisters and brothers.

 

Click HERE or copy and paste –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNrBWAllEQg#t=4 –  to your browser and enjoy!

 

Remember Global Deaf Muslims in a spirit of charity as they raise funds and awareness around the world.

 

Warmly,

Just me

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Raising Awareness: Deaf Muslims in Ghana, Africa

by

M. Richard Horrellschmitz

MDDG1

Charity comes from the latin Caritas meaning, “from the heart.”   And so it is with a spirit of charity that I ask for you to lend your support to a worthy and needed cause.

islamic class in session (2)

 

Local Deaf sisters and brothers in Tamale, Ghana, Africa need our assistance.  Deaf Muslim Development, in partnership with Global Deaf Muslim, is looking to raise funds to purchase much needed educational materials including: books,  writing materials, property maintenance, and so on with the intent to enrich the lives of the Deaf Muslim community in Ghana, Africa.    This community is tight-knit and supportive of eachother, but they simply need assistance to continue to provide the assistance that this organization has been thus far providing.

Please help.  I will have a much more in-depth post coming shortly, inshAllah, but for now, donate directly to this worthwhile cause, click here.

 

PARTICIPANTS OF THE ISLAMIC CLASS WITH GDM PRESIDENT

 

Help ensure our Ghanian Sisters and Brothers receive the education they need and deserve.  This is a reputable organization, a secure donation site and I personally, along with my family, will be going to Ghana to hand deliver donations of materials.

 

Warmly,

Just me

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The Burden of Privilege

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M. Richard Horrellschmitz

Following up on my previous post….

After having posted On the Matter of Racism: With Teija O. Kishna, I had a brief, but deep, conversation with a wise and trusted friend/coworker for whom I have the deepest respect and in whom the highest level of trust.   The following has come of that conversation.

“Why is the burden to educate and defend and advocate still on the shoulders of the oppressed minority group?” She asked somewhat rhetorically.  Knowing her as I do, I understood that she wanted me to grapple with this question on my own.

And this question vexes me.   Do minority students “need” the help of majority allies in their struggle for greater equality?  Either answer feels both right and wrong.  If, yes, white people lead the charge for greater equality for Black students, it somehow feels that there is some belief that Blacks cannot.   Conversely, if, no, whites should not, it somehow feels that they are ambivalent about the issue of racism.

A comparison:

If my daughter is speaking about her rights as a woman, does she need her father, a man, to “take over” and justify her argument?  Or is it that, by the very nature of my “help,” am I undermining the validity of her stance?

After having thought about this for some time, I have come to the belief that either answer feels wrong because the framing of the question is wrong.   Black students do not need white people to LEAD the charge for greater equality any more than women  need men to LEAD the charge for greater equality.

Lets look at this more closely:

Incorrect Questions:

1)  Do minority students “need” the help of majority allies in their struggle for greater equality?

2) Do women “need” the help of men to justify their fight for greater equality?

Better Questions:

1)  Do white people “need” the help of other white people to better understand equality? 

2) Do men “need” the help of other men to better understand equality?

Better still:

Don’t all of us just need to examine our unearned privilege? 

In the simplest terms, its not a question of whether someone fighting for equality needs help from the privileged; its simply that those with privilege have an obligation to share it.  As a man, in a male-centric culture, it is my moral duty to ensure that I am not unfairly reaping benefits I haven’t earned and educating other men who do.  As a white person, it is my moral duty to ensure that I am not unfairly reaping benefits I haven’t earned and educating other white people who do.

And privilege goes far beyond race and gender.

There are countless ways in which everyone has some privilege over others unfairly in some situations.  I am hard of hearing.  In society’s eyes, I am given more status than preligually Deaf persons.  But less than hearing.  Some are considered to be more aesthetically attractive and, so, are granted more privilege.  Some of us come from cultural backgrounds that society marginalizes.   Further still, do our LGBT coworkers feel as safe displaying pictures of their families as do our heterosexual coworkers?   And “the gay marriage issue”…  really, this is an ISSUE?   Talk about an imbalance of privilege!

How often have our families changed our surnames to sound more “American” and thus face less discrimination on applications?  Changed our appearance and cultural attire to “fit in?”  If my name was Amos Ben Avraham or Husseain Mahfouz  instead of Richard Horrellschmitz would it change the way my resume was received?   If I wore a Kippah or Kuffi to an interview would it have bearing on the outcome?  I am somehwat known for being bearded most of the time–except when interviewing, being evaluated by my boss, etc… because in those situations I find myself fearful of what the majority power-holder will think…   Why do so many of us feel the need to change that which makes us different from the privileged?  We change, we hide, we try to “pass” because, simply put, we know that there aren’t enough people with privilege who recognize that it is unjust that they hold such an unearned benefit and are willing to examine the burden with which they are morally charged.

Jewish man in kippah

Muslim man in a kuffi

The privileged must recognize the burden of their privilege; WE, all of us who have this unearned benefit in one situation or another, or in many situations, have this duty. 

The more each of us examines our unfair privileges and learns to mitigate that unfairness, the more just and equitable our society will become.  It will not happen overnight.  And it does not happen easily.  But it can happen–it begins with a genuine dialogue.

Thank you to my very dear, very honest, and very wise friend… you know who you are.

Warmly and sincerely,

Just me

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On the Topic of Racism: With Teija O. Kishna, or, Bravo CSD!

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M. Richard Horrellschmitz

Hello all!

Today I am delighted to share with you a video, in ASL, made by my daughter, Teija.  After she and I talked about an incident at school and her school’s response, she filmed herself explaining it and we edited it together for you all.

This video is dedicated to all those who erroneously believe that “racism is over.”  And to all those who know that it is not…  this is for you.

Please CLICK HERE to watch the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnqUq3DKwcI

For those who require English Access, Ms. Kishna’s speech is transcribed below:

Good news
 
(Intro slide)
 
Hello my name is Teija Kishna.  I am a student at CSD Fremont as well as the treasurer for the Ebony Club on campus.  I am also a rep for the Bay Area Black-Deaf Advocates.  
Last week there was an incident on campus.  A white student used the N word –N word–N word…. In class!  
 
(N word slide and “wrong” slide)
 
He was caught using the N word on film.
 
(How did administrators respond? Over “hate” slide)
 
CSD addressed this issue of racism by first suspending the student.  And when he returns from suspension he is required to come to the ebony club where he will face his Black peers.   This will really make him regret using that word.  Is the intent to simply to punish him.  Not at all.  The goal is to educate him, teach him, help him make changes and improve himself. 
 
(Various slides depicting Eracism, etc)
 
Thanks for watching our video.  

Yes, BRAVO CSD for taking appropriate steps to stand up for your students of color showing them, and their parents, and the community at large, that CSD is making steps toward becoming more the kind of school at which all students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, family structures, ability sets, gender identities, and cultures are supported.
Moreover, bravo for educating students and empowering students to be a part of this change (by allowing the Ebony Club to be part of this student’s learning process).
But I am left with two nagging questions:
1) What is next?  This is just one student; when will CSD become proactive and educate ALL of its students?
2) Why does the burden of responsibility still fall on the oppressed minority?  Where are the WHITE allies on campus standing up and teaching other white students about the N word?  More to come on this…
Warmly and Sincerely,
Just me

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Mournful, Grateful, Hopeful: Remembering Nelson Mandela

by

M. Richard Horrellschmitz

President Nelson Rolihahla Mandela, the First Citizen of South Africa, is a name synonymous with peace, justice, belief, conviction and compassion.  His name has been a household name for most, if not all, of my lifetime.  He stood not only as a symbol of peace and unification in South Africa, but the world over.  We all lost something since his passing.

And at the time of his passing—at the time when we all came together to pay our respects to the man who taught us how to be better people—at the time at last he was to be honored as he should have so long ago, the world became fixated on someone stealing from him his moment of honor.  Of course the incident to which I am referring is the “fake interpretation” of his eulogies.  With the eyes of the world upon him, this man pretended to use sign language and, in so doing, insulted those for whom, and the topic about which, he was interpreting.

Many have referred to this incident as a travesty for the Deaf the world over.  And it is.  Many have said this is yet another injustice against Nelson Mandela—to have his funeral overshadowed by something so… so needless and selfish…   And it is.   It is unfair that this man who has changed the world, changed the lives of millions of people, changed the way we understand compassion and forgiveness should have to still be fighting injustice.

But, in death, as in life, Nelson Mandela is still unifying people.  He has brought to the fore the harsh reality that so many millions of people are marginalized by social indifference and language inequality.  Governments, news agencies, and people who have otherwise never concerned themselves with the language frustrations so many Deaf people face are now suddenly aware, concerned, and ready to help!

There was no other event, no single moment, that would have brought so many people together.  There was no other person whose funeral could have brought so many together.  And, thus, no other time when so much of the world would rally behind the cause of language equality for the Deaf.

Thanks to Convo, and a team of phenomenal interpreters, we, the Deaf Community can now see the eloquent words of General Thanduxolo Mandela, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and U.S. President Barack Obama as they eulogize the “last great hero” of the 20th Century.

http://realinterpreter.com/index.html

Please watch all of the videos in ASL and in International Sign Language and see what Nelson Mandela meant to the world in our own language!

With that; Instead of anger for the audacity of this “interpreter” to take advantage of such a solemn moment, and of such a marginalized segment of the world’s societies, we should express gratitude that Nelson Mandela is still fighting along those who are left outside of the places of power.  And this is not just about we American Deaf—but the World Deaf will benefit from this.  Because this is how we, the Deaf World, can honor his memory.

I am mournful of his passing, grateful for his presence in our world, and hopeful that the long-lasting impact of Nelson Mandela’s life will have far-reaching effect.

Warmly and sincerely,

Just me

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Life is…

“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
~ The Doctor, Season 10~
And thus it is that life goes on…
Hello my darling readership!  I am back!
But first, my deepest and sincerest apologies for having failed you–for having forgotten you–for having let go my passion for argumentation and philosophy.
I confess that I fell down a chasm, a void, an abyss, a seemingly bottomless pit inside of which none could find me.  But I have climbed out and, looking down from the precipice from whence I have come, I realize, much as The Doctor so eloquently stated above, that the bad needn’t spoil the good.  And with that, I have chosen to try to begin anew and to be …  well, to be awesome…
For my first post, just this:
Life goes on with or without your consent–chose to live it, or watch it pass.
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