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Who is Claudia Gordon:

Claudia Gordon, Esq., is the first deaf lawyer who is African American and female, and also the first deaf student to graduate from the American University (AU) Washington College of Law, in Washington, DC, in 2000. At AU, Gordon specialized in disability rights law and policy. Since earning her juris doctorate from AU, Gordon has been active in working to ensure the rights of people with disabilities are respected.

Gordon’s Childhood:

Gordon was born in Jamaica and became deaf at age eight. After becoming deaf, she experienced discrimination in Jamaica. This discrimination is what inspired her to become a lawyer. In Jamaica, she could not get an education, so she moved to the United States where she attended first a public school, then the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York. It was at Lexington where she learned sign language.

Gordon’s Awards and Honors:

Gordon has been given many awards and honors. Prior to attending AU, Gordon graduated from Howard University in 1995 with a bachelor of arts in political science. At Howard, Gordon was a Patricia Robert Harris Public Affairs Fellow, a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, and the Political Science Honor Society. More awards and honors came at American University, where she was an Equal Justice Foundation Fellow, had the Myers Law Scholarship, and the J. Franklin Bourne Scholarship. In 2002, she received the Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Gordon’s Legal Career:

Gordon got the Skadden Fellowship (for law graduates working with disabled people) which paid for her to work at the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center. This allowed Gordon to provide “Direct representation and advocacy for poor deaf persons with a particular emphasis on outreach to those who are members of minority groups.” Gordon became a consultant to the National Council on Disability, then joined the Department of Homeland Security. At Homeland Security, Gordon is the senior policy advisor for the Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.

Gordon at Homeland Security:

At Homeland Security, Gordon’s focus is activities such as enforcing an executive order for Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness. When Hurricane Katrina hit, Gordon’s efforts to ensure that the needs of disabled people were met in hurricane relief efforts earned her both the Gold Medal Award and the 2005 Hurricane Response Award from the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Gordon’s Organizational Activities:

Gordon has been active in both the black deaf community and the broader disability community. She was the vice president of the National Black Deaf Advocates. In 2004, she was named secretary of the Board for the Lexington Board of Directors. Gordon is also associated with the National Coalition for Disability Rights (, where she is part of their national governance.


"After deafness is cured, what happens to the people who remain deaf?"

"Shot in the style of a documentary, The End follows four deaf children through their lives into an imagined future, as some decide to undergo treatment for deafness while others refuse it. But as the number of deaf people dwindles, what happens to the those who gradually find themselves without a culture?”

(Source: Vimeo via io9)


The Hearing Aid Chronicles: My Weakness is My Strength (by Semicolson)

Ladies, gentlemen, and whatever you identify yourself as, I present to you the third episode about my deaf internet series about my experience as a deaf person. This episode deals with the weakness of my speech which has been impaired by my hearing and how I turned it around into my strength.

Please like and share to as many people as possible if you like it!  

Deaf Culture Lesson #1: Deafness is not a disability


"The Anatomy of Prejudice” is a fantastic resource on blogspot that covers a lot of minority topics, ranging from homosexuality to religion to women. Though it hasn’t been updated since 2010 (and though this post is from 2006), it is the best explanation I have found of the number one rule of the Deaf world: The Deaf do not view themselves as having a disability. The Deaf community is not a subculture within the rest of mainstream society; they are their own culture completely. ASL is not based on English, but is it’s own language, and there are different social standards and customs that are not practiced by the hearing community. Thus, being Deaf is seen not as a problem or something to be fixed, but rather as a language barrier or cultural difference. The Deaf community that surrounds Gallaudet University in Washington D.C.  views themselves in a similar way the Hispanic community in Miami views themselves. Though a Hispanic community that does not speak English is certainly at a disadvantage in mainstream society, no one would suggest that they are a disabled people because of this language barrier. 

“But they can’t hear,” says a hearing friend of mine currently reading this article over my shoulder. “We have the ability to hear, and they do not. They are dis-abled to hear.”

But the post brings up a crucial point that being disabled is relative. Deaf people can communicate through soundproof glass, underwater, in extremely loud environments as well as ones that require complete silence—all environments where hearing people would be dis-abled. The roles reverse in that hearing people can communicate in the dark, from separate rooms, and without looking at each other, while the Deaf cannot. Thus, a term I have heard many times by the Deaf is not that they are dis-abled but “differently-abled.” 

The post also brings up the point that Deaf people don’t want to be “fixed.” Says the post, “Extreme proponents of this view regard giving a deaf child a cochlear implant or hearing aids as akin to ‘correcting’ the colour of a black person’s skin by making them white.” Cochlear implants are very controversial and will definitely be discussed at some point on this blog, but for the sake of pacing ourselves and because I don’t want hate mail in my message box from all of Tumblr just yet , today is not that day. 


"The Greatest Irony" by Maureen Klusza

Many De’VIA artists choose to record and share the Deaf perspective by depicting their experiences with audism. Resistance De’VIA examines the suppression of cultural values via the medical and educational systems. It serves as a visual testimony of injustices that Deaf people have faced.

This ligitimately ticks me off… So many times people who have Deaf babies/children refuse to let them sign, thinking that if they refuse that somehow people will see the Deaf child as “normal’… but all they do is keep the child from expressing themselves! But of course its “Super cute” to teach hearing children how to do little signs. Special thanks to Maureen Klusza for making this powerful piece. For more information on audism as it pertains to Deaf culture- the internet/bookstores are CHOCK full of books on the subject. Most of which are very interesting reads. ;)


I’m sick to death of seeing all these movies about Deaf people being about the poor, helpless d/Deaf girl who’s saved by the hearing boy who’s nice enough to learn ASL to communicate with her. I want a movie about a hearing boy and a Deaf girl who’s strong in her culture and saves him by…

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