Enhanced transcript of Organizing Chair of the Deafhood Foundation Butch Zein’s welcome.

Hello! Welcome to the Deafhood Foundation with its unique and positive dimension of Deaf people.

You may wonder why we are starting a new Foundation?

In researching other Foundations focusing on hearing or being Deaf, we found that most if not all focused on the medical dimension dealing with the “problems” of deafness or hearing loss, and providing opportunities for solutions or rather cures or mitigation of deafness. Many of them border on economic exploitation of our Deaf ears.

Oberkotter Foundation is an example. It focuses on Oral deaf education and providing funds to organizations and so-called educational institutions that endorses oralism. Oralism is the philosophy and practice of denying or diminishing Sign Language in the lives and education of Deaf children and people by promoting clinical training in hearing and speaking. In 2007, Oberkotter Foundation has accumulated assets totaling $178 million. There are quite a few foundations like that:

Deafness Research Foundation with assets of $1 million

Starkey Hearing Foundation with assets of $1.3 million

Deaf Kids Talk with assets of $3.5 million

John Tracy Clinic with assets of $21 million

Clarke School assets of $36 million

Central Institute for the Deaf of $47 million

And many, many more.

Guess how many Foundations are similar to the Deafhood Foundation that focuses on the Deafhood dimension, the belief and practice where Deaf people are viewed as complete, healthy, and assets contributing to enhancement of the world?

A big ZERO!

That is one of the biggest reasons that the Deafhood Foundation was founded.

It’s time for CHANGE! to stop the oppression, the deep tolerance of injustice upon and misunderstanding of Deaf people, their culture and language, Once the Foundation is established, we aim to focus on the systematical and personal changes in viewing Deaf people. It’s time to invest in Deaf people, the Deaf Culture and Sign Language rather than having the wealth associated with our ears be kept away from us. Yes, the time is ripe for CHANGE!

The Deafhood Foundation aims to be the first of its kind and we expect this Deafhood dimension to explode and grow and push for positive changes in the system as well as individuals.

The mission of the Deafhood Foundation is achieving economical and social justice for all Deaf people. And the vision is to provide financial, educational and social opportunities to end the economic exploitation of Deaf people. The Foundation aims to free the world from audism and recreate a society where everyone experiences full humanity and celebrates Sign Language. To achieve the mission and vision, the Foundation will focus on four goals: consulting, outreach, networking and grants. Grants will be the primary goal and the heart of the Foundation and shall provide fundings for those areas: arts, activism, education, media, and research.

With those in place as the Foundation builds, we will SUCCEED!

Come join and be part of this exciting movement. There are ways you can be involved:

Volunteer... give your time to share the message about Deafhood and the Foundation

Think Tanks... set up think tanks in your locale

Workshops... host and fundraise to have the day-long Introduction to Deafhood workshop as starters in your area.

Donate! Yes, that will mean a lot to the Foundation if you could donate either cash or assets and that will help the Foundation move faster and closer to its mission of achieving economical and social justice for all Deaf people!

It’s gonna be GOOD TIMES! Come aboard!