My Hope for Deaf BIPOC Youth
During the Aug 19, 2020 kick-off session via zoom for a year-long partnership between CC School and the National Deaf Education Center (aka Clerc Center), someone asked me: "By being a woman who is Deaf and African American, what do you think your experience has taught you about social injustice and what are your hopes for the upcoming young adults of the future?" Whew. Here's what I said:
[video description: Andrea is wearing a long-sleeved dark pink blouse, stud earrings, an Apple watch, and her hair pulled back. She’s standing in front a black wall.]
Y'all gonna make me tear up. That's an emotional question for me but I'm grateful for it. Thank you for asking this.
[Question from the audience: By being a woman who is Deaf and African American, what do you think your experience has taught you about social injustice and what are your hopes for the upcoming young adults of the future?]
Whew, this is a big one. So, to be honest, CC...[side convo]. Honestly, the Critical Consciousness School curriculum that I created is strongly influenced by what I have witnessed, experienced, researched, and dialogued about with other people. This is a big question. I am Black. I am Deaf. I am "African-American." But I have privileges, too- I'm light-skinned, I'm thin, etc. I experience other forms of privileges along with various forms of oppression. I'll try to answer your question in one statement - your question about what I've learned from my experiences and…Wait, what was the rest of the question? My hopes for future generations. Okay, here we go. For a long time, when I was doing "social justice" work - although I was giving my all in a movement that I thought was against all things that break people's bodies, minds, and spirits - I had a strong internal belief that I was not whole. That I was not enough. I operated with a deep sense of scarcity, often thinking to myself, "I need more time. I need to know more about this or that. I need to be stronger," etc. I was always focused on what I lacked, what I didn't have enough of within the context of social justice work. And, for me, that led to burn-out and resentment towards myself. In my experience, I think this was also related to a false sense of responsibility – needing to know and do everything "social justice," joining all the organizations, attending all the events, and so on because I'm Black, Deaf, a womxn, etc. Feeling responsible to participate in all the things, know all the things, teach all the things, etc. My wish, my hope for young adults, especially BIPOC Deaf students, is that they aren't made to feel responsible for saving the world from problems they didn't create. My hope is that they feel responsible for resting, healing, being fully who they are. This society often puts BIPOC in positions to be everyone's savior. Yet, at the same time, societal conditions are designed to make sure we don't have rights to experience wholeness. To sum this all up, my experiences related to social justice - and social injustice as well - learning and interacting in both contexts, I must always remember that I am whole.
That's my biggest hope for students. For all people, actually. Adults. Youth.
From the moment of our births, I hope we receive all the love, care, and wisdom that nurture our sense of wholeness.
Posted in loving memory of Breonna Taylor. Especially during heartbreaking times like these, which are often, Black womxn need all the reminders from our loved ones, from each other, that we are whole. Rest. Heal. And follow @TheNapMinistry on Instagram.