Kellie: Hi, my name is Kellie. I am president of the Washington Association of the Deaf (WSAD).
Dino: Hi, I am Dino, treasurer for WSAD.
Kellie: We have been discussing about the mission statement of WSAD. We looked at it and focused on these words, “quality of life” which is very significant. Right, Dino?
Dino: Yes, WSAD was established in 1909. Why was it established? At the Washington School for the Deaf in Vancouver, a group of people discussed about the common barriers experienced by Deaf students after graduation from high school all over the state. They decided to call a meeting with people from across the state to discuss common goals.
Back then, Deaf people weren’t allowed to marry each other. Priests wouldn’t marry them.
Kellie: What?! Banned?!
Dino: Yes, and today we Deaf people are able to marry each other without any problems or barriers in the way. But there are more barriers still out there. WSAD was formed with a common goal.
Kellie: We discuss, debate, negotiate, and compromise with each other. That is what this word, “politics” is about. Often people say they are not interested in politics and that it is not their thing.
Dino: The ASL sign for “politics” is located on the top of the head. Why’s that?
Kellie: Is it because government is above us at the top?
Dino: or is it for intellectuals at the elite level?
Kellie: Up there looking down at us below? No! Dino and I were discussing this and we looked the word “politics” up in the dictionary and examined the word. It involves compromising, Don’t you think so, Dino?
Dino: We were looking at the word more in depth. The sign for “politics” could be more accurately signed more similar to “debating, negotiating, compromising”
A textual display of the definition.
Kellie: Everyday in our lives, many of us think that politics happens only at the governmental level but actually we instinctually use politics to negotiate and bargain on different things. Few examples include:
I have a broken mobile phone. What to do? I go to the store and negotiate with them and I have insurance coverage for the phone and get a new replacement.
Dino: Your child comes to you and tells you he/she wants some candy. You talk with your child and make an agreement that your child needs to clean his/her room first then she/he can have some candy.
Kellie: I want to buy a car. I go to the dealership to look around and compare prices. I bargain until I get a reasonable price and then sign an agreement and leave with a new car.
Dino: My hearing child goes to school and I as a Deaf parent educates the school on effective communication methods such as using interpreters and email and we decide on the most effective method of communication to maintain between us.
Kellie: I start a new job and my boss is not familiar with how to work with me as a Deaf employee. I educate my boss about various communication tools I use to interact with hearing people depending on the situation such as using paper and pen, texting, email, interpreters for meetings, training, and workshops, etc. My boss increases a better understanding of the importance of developing effective communication between us.
Dino: These examples and many more that are used everyday is politics applied in your everyday lives. That is what quality of life is about.
Kellie: With all the different organizations we have–sports, specialized interest groups, social, etc.—all together as one large group makes us stronger.
Dino: Yes, stronger with a common goal. We have one thing in common. We are Deaf.
Kellie: WSAD’s mission statement which includes these words: “quality of life”—that is what this is about.
Dino: Come and join us and help us become stronger.
Kellie and Dino: Thank you.