Tag Archives: deaf

Raising Awareness: Deaf Muslims in Ghana, Africa


M. Richard Horrellschmitz


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.




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.



Just me


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


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


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.


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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