Awareness of Deaf Rights at Employment

    The word “awareness” brings an important notion for the community of deaf people with deaf rights. Deaf rights is to be identified in the group of disability rights law. Speaking of awareness of deaf rights is to be specified within the employment level. Many deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people have struggles to bring awareness, adaptability and make a positive contribution at employment level in any agencies, companies and NGOs regarding their abilities with professional skills related with disabilities. In true reality, many with their disabilities are having reluctance/awkward moments, self-confidences issues, and insecurities when it comes for a job interview or when it is about to place a reasonable accommodation with accessible services at workforce place due to the struggles they have experienced with oppression, stigma, societal attitudes and all forms of discrimination. Bringing awareness of deaf rights into hearing society at employment level is to come in breaking the stereotypes and overcoming preconceptions regarding disabilities. On the other level, it is also about to break the barriers by using their rights enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), civil rights law related with labor and equal opportunity employment and human rights law in the US.

    Awareness is to bring in educating among people about disability rights and share a knowledge of the various abilities the deaf/the deaf-blind and hard of hearing people can do in all kinds of levels related with educational and professional skills with its own challenges in the workforce place. Discrimination, stigma, societal attitudes and oppression persist to exist however with the awareness to bring is to tackle that issue which is paramount. For the past 45 years the US has made an advancement with law for people with disabilities. We currently have Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These five laws represent modern national disability employment policy that define prohibition on discrimination in federal, state, local government programs, contracts and employment including at business company and the NGOs, promotion on accessibility services,  requirements to follow in establishing accommodations for workers with disabilities and provide a guidance of creating a workforce system designed to increase labor force participation and employment of people with disabilities in the public and private sectors. It has been noted that federal government has become the largest employer of individuals with disabilities as it has taken steps to provide increasing levels of recruitment, hiring and retention of people with disabilities. State governments, private and public sector of employments referring to business companies and NGOs/IGOs do follow the same steps as the federal government does however the awareness of deaf rights has not been well reached there than in the federal governments. 30.8 millions people are with disabilities in the US, the data being mentioned in 2018. The labor force participant rate for people with disabilities is at 21.4% while the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is at 7.3%. (US Senate: Disability Employment – Outdated Laws leave People with Disabilities behind in Today’s economy) The employment gap for people with disabilities remained to have an improvement however we need to address the awareness for deaf/deaf-blind and hard of hearing people at employment level more often. US has so many skilled and qualified deaf/deaf-blind and hard of hearing people with all level of degrees in all kinds of profession. The barriers and the competition is something that deaf/deaf-blind and hard of hearing people often face when there is a job interview. On the other level, many deaf/deaf-blind and hard of hearing people at workforce place have no confidence in raising the awareness about deaf rights related with disability rights. Even though we have all disability rights law in the US, but we also have civil rights law related with equal employment opportunity and human rights law that support the provision altogether for the group of people with all various kinds of disabilities. While we have all kinds of law, all deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people at job interview and at workforce place have the ability to bring and raise awareness regarding of their disabilities with their rights enshrined in all disability rights law. With this awareness at job interview and at workforce place is important to show about what the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people can contribute to the organization based on its own mission/goals. Awareness and contribution often is to go altogether and it is the way to have the ability to break all barriers. Regarding of competition, it is always tough to face when it is about the concern of communication. Competition is always going to be there no matter what even between disabled and non-disabled people in all kinds of profession. My saying for this matter in all level of job position even at job interview and at workforce place is important to bring adaptability in order to realign to the organization’s expectations to meet including their missions/goals. Contribution is very vital to show as it is the only way to bring an impact that is to see the benefit of them being part in any organization in one whole even in one whole community. Indeed, this kind of contribution can bring diversity, inclusion and equality with good adaptability. The only thing is that deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people are not considered to be the special people and they are the human being that they can do all kinds of abilities as the hearing people except that they cannot hear and see. The deafness including the blindness toward the hearing community is to make inclusion with diversity and equality in one whole community in which these kind of disabilities with the hearing people can benefit from each other in making in greatness in all level at public and private sector with their job positions. These groups of disabilities have cultures, American Sign Language and Pro-Tactile American Sign Language and visions with abilities that represent the diversity in the community in one whole altogether with the hearing people sounding more transparency to have and bring more creative ideas to make the society for the greater good. Disabled and non-disabled are to benefit each other in one whole community when working together in which it is to help, to grow, to learn, to develop creative ideas, to contribute, to support, to educate and to advocate in all kinds of topics, themes and issues at political, business and social level.

    Wherever the deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people go for job interview or are at workforce place, they shall not feel oppressed with stigma and face the societal attitude including the all kinds of discrimination because facing job interview or being at workforce place is always to be challenging. The challenges are to the point to show through awareness, contribution and adaptability when it is about a job to get or when it is about to work for a job position in doing the achievements in a positive way at any public and private sectors. We all have disability rights law and education which are the powerful tools to bring in raising awareness and to contribute with it for the abilities deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people can show during the job interview and at the workforce.    

Passion about human rights ignited in Guatemala

    How I became passionate about human rights for career development? Is human rights important in my life and does this represent ideally of who I am on the basis of career professionalism and at academic level? The answers to all these are powerful. Being powerful in representing the passion about human rights is to reflect about who truly I am and it is being reflected within my mind and my heart when seeing the human rights injustices.

    Passions about human rights started on the first day arriving in Guatemala City, Guatemala for a business trip in the year of 2012 during the summer time. On this business trip related with my academic course, I was there being represented as Student Ambassador for the United Nations (UN). My professors often kept telling me that my classmates and I shall get prepared for this country despite of security issues related with drug trafficking going on. Many said it is dangerous country and many were concerned about how I will make it there with communication regarding of my deafness however it did not prevent me from going to this business trip. I successfully did find a note-taker who was able to take notes from Spanish to English and vice versa on the computer. The tasks to carry for the business trip as Student Ambassador for the UN was paramount. The goal is to achieve in raising the advocacy issue with local NGOs /civil society within governmental level about human rights with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) being promoted by the UN in Guatemala. Indeed the tasks were significant to be fulfilled however I will not demonstrate here about the tasks given to me for this business trip. The idea is to focus on the question of why my passions on human rights have ignited me in this particular country. I am sure that some of you may have heard or learned about the history involving the civil wars with genocidal massacres between 1960s and 1980s in Guatemala. Once knowing the historical background of this country among the textbooks so well and not knowing in a reality with the actual truths that have happened there within these years, I was incredulously in total shock to see human rights injustices to be still occurred in the year of 2012. Traveling with minibus to visit different NGOs and meet NGOs representatives, survivors, victims and governmental representatives, I was highly impacted by their stories and even though to see in a reality of what position this country was in. Yes, the country did experience lots of issues regarding of human rights, civil rights, labor right, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and environmental rights. Witnessing the discrimination ongoing in the Guatemalan society with Mayan people and European born citizens of Guatemala including the civil rights violations and inequality being presented have hit me harder to see the real picture. The issues are lot to demonstrate. Mayan people are fighting for their rights – land ownership, health care access based on their cultural beliefs, educational access with their tribal languages, cultural and religious practices related with agricultural things and many more. On the other level, myself being on this business trip was the thing I was not prepared to witness in the actual events of recovering the genocidal massacres of where Guatemalan government did such horrendous crimes between 1960s and 1980s. The genocide massacres was demonstrated by the Guatemalan government against Mayan people who were conspired in working towards a communist coup. The point is that it was the time that the authorities even from the military level have revealed with heavy burden where the hidden genocidal massacres are so the human remains of loved ones can be properly returned with a good burial process. Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation is one of the NGOs to visit and show us the genocidal massacres including to hear and to learn about the victims’ stories. Showing the actual things and speaking to the representatives of this NGOs, I was appalled and my blood was raging. I have put many thoughts about this matter and I have asked about what I shall do about this in my life. I care about the words LAW and JUSTICE but how these words can be applied to the situation I have witnessed in Guatemala. From this clear picture, I have decided to become an advocate in the field of human rights.

    Living in this life where the world is unfair, I came to the realization that my life should be based on living for a good purpose to achieve in my career. The purpose being build along my studies is to work in the field of human rights. My personality is reflected to look upon the law being enshrined and the justice to be well served with a good dignity. My soul spirits is build in serving for society the human rights law with a fair justice. My calling for human rights is that it is fundamental prerequisites for each human beings leading a minimally good life. Having said this, I say in a clear point that in every single’s life is important to exist having human rights based on legal framework in which it is to promote the respect of its own norms. In a society lives are to be based on total equality, fair justice and human rights violations including civil rights/political and economic rights being prevented and the rights to be well guarded from any future harms/damages on each individual being. With this realization and with my passion for human rights, the only way I long for is to advocate for promoting human rights with total justice, equality and fairness being provided within the society. A wise man once said that “a right is not what someone gives, it is what no one can take from you”. Basically, we are born as human beings and we have rights inherent in that reality with dignity and worth of life that exists prior to the law and it is our duty to serve for the evolution of human rights movement with the humanity struggle toward creating a better world. We have the voice and we shall never silence these rights. We shall make our rights aloud serving with total responsibility via education, via advocacy work and via people’s voices for their rights with deep teaching of historical background and legal thinking/analysis of how to make a better world with better protection of human rights norms.