No Deaf Left Behind!
The late Forrest Curwin Nickerson’s message for more than 35 years of his lifetime was to remind Canadian Deaf people that they have always had their unique culture. He also had a dream about a Deaf Centre. Prior to establishing Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, CCSD, he painted a portrait of his Deaf Centre dream with a Winnipeg setting. This portrait became famous because Forrest demonstrated his familiarity with the oppression that the Canadian Deaf people experienced over the decades. Recently this dream came true. The Deaf Culture Centre will open in May, 2006 in Toronto.
His second message was untold but it was essentially “No Deaf Left Behind.” This message is modeled upon the USA President George W. Bush’s educational reform program “No Child Left Behind.” Forrest wanted to ensure that Deaf children and Deaf adults get needed support from a Deaf Centre. This support would vary from educational to vocational. Forrest was aware that Deaf people needed a Deaf Centre. We have witnessed the decline in enrollment in Canadian Deaf schools. There are now meager numbers as compared to the time before the world changed from an agricultural/industrial base to a technological base. Forrest saw a vision of Deaf World in 1970. This vision occurred during the time Dr. William Stokoe was bombarded by hearing linguists and critics from the Deaf community about the recognition of American Sign Language as a legitimate language used by Deaf people. Forrest’s words were written into Canadian Deaf folklore forever because we recognize him as the father of Canadian Deaf Culture.
As of now, Canadian Cultural Society of Deaf, CCSD, is picking up Forrest’s messages and advertising it across Canada. To maintain the Deaf Culture Centre for future generations, donations are needed. It is time for us to endorse Forest’s untold message “No Deaf Left Behind” by financially supporting the CCSD as much as we can. Deaf people are empowered by this new Deaf Culture Centre and we can educate the public and our levels of government about Deaf people and our culture.
Keep up our battles to continue preserving our unique Deaf culture!!
Talk to you next month,
Abbas Ali Behmanesh,
منبع: عباس علی بهمنش، دسامبر 2005، وب سایت بنیاد پژوهش های ناشنوایان ایران