Tuesday, March 16, 2010

O&B recognizes Ellie as an ally in Deaf community!

[text summary of ASL vlog]

Hello. I want to share some stories with you about Ellie – what I have seen in her character, spirit, energy and passion. I attended meeting with her, RIT administration and several Deaf people to discuss audism and Deafhood. At that time Eliie was not very supportive of Deafhood and I was a bit shocked by that. I had a debriefing with a group of Deaf people and decided to go back and discuss with Ellie again. At that time she was very protective of Deaf people and didn’t want anything thrown in that would cause turmoil. I worked with her on this because there were plans to bring the Deafhood workshop here and I wanted to see if she could be supportive. As a Deaf alum I wanted to be supportive of her and wanted to see if she could be supportive of me – to work both ways. That was my thinking so I told her about the upcoming workshop and offered to pay for her ticket and we would attend sitting side by side together. She accepted this invitation without any resistance. Seemed she had changed some of her thinking about this. My plan was for us to sit together in the front to have a good view of the ASL but Ellie didn’t want to be too close to the interpreters as she would be able to hear them and that would interrupt her receiving of the original message in ASL so she opted to sit further back so the whispering of the interpreters into the infra red headsets would not be audible to her. I watched the whole day workshop and felt it was a wonderful experience. Aftward I immediately looked for Ellie to ask how it was for her and she replied – “Two THUMBS UP. Phew it’s not what I thought. It went along fine and was very interesting."

Later we had some discussions about audism and she had the same initial reaction so we had more conversations about audism and then SHE decided to set up workshops on audism to be led by Ellie and a few of us. We met several times to discuss the agenda to cover etc. [insert of 4 pictures from the workshop – Ellie is in the blue shirt top right corner]. I witnessed this transformation and saw within her this wonderful passion in the core of her being to respect Deaf culture and ASL. We had a wonderful exchange. When she got struck with the illness, we didn’t really have a chance to catch up and too soon she was gone. I still had contact with her via email from time to time. It was so wonderful to have her spirit to help our RIT community to recognize audism and Deafhood and to see this change – a model of moving forward. I’m really touched by her work and RIT will truly MISS Ellie. We really cherish and admire her. I’m happy to see that part of the SDC will be named in her honor to memorialize her. Her spirit has been with every student through many many years here. I looked at her Facebook and saw the outpouring of comments. It’s so impressive to see how she had time for ALL. Wow – we will really miss you. We love you and we are grateful for all you have done with Deaf people.

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About Orange Brown Coalition

Mission: To share with the RIT community about Deaf Culture (language, history, humor, etc.) and related activities.

To facilitate relationships between Deaf and hearing members of the RIT community through awareness of our cultures.

To provide opportunities for self-empowerment and self-advocacy of Deaf people on campus.

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