THE EDITOR: September was a month of celebrations as it pertains to the International Week of the Deaf. That month was plagued with fellowships, raising awareness, encouraging freedom of expression, fostering inclusion or bridging the divide.
After reading about the experiences of two colleagues and a recent letter to the editor by my friend, I wonder how many other deaf and hard of hearing people have their own concerns and wish to share them with the wider public but cannot. Were their inabilities to do so mirrored by their audiological disabilities or lack of support in the right direction? Or was it simply because, due to common public misconception, the deaf community cannot learn and understand?
I am hard of hearing, a term correctly defined by the Articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I may not share the same life experience as some in the community, as I was born with some degree of hearing and a capability to excel in my educational, financial, personal and professional life. However, I have faced discrimination and limitations placed on me because I wore hearing aids.
The late Dr Eric Williams once said “the future of this nation lies in the school bags of our children.” I took this to heart from childhood to adult, possessing my highest educational achievement thus far — Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. After such a hectic month of events, I too feel inspired to share my voice. Why not? After all, Williams, the father of the nation, was also hard of hearing.
You know what inspiration is? It’s someone who lets you know that life will go on and something amazing will be waiting when you least expect it. I encourage the hearing community to give the deaf and hard of hearing an equal opportunity to share our voices or concerns. You will be surprised at what we actually understand.
Let’s not forget our national anthem includes that “Here every creed and race finds an equal place.” How about we add something to that effect and make it our own personal motto: “Here every creed and race finds an equal place with one voice, one community.”
SADE SHERELLE WALKER, vice president, Voice of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing of TT