This post is coming to you from Houston, TX where I am attending the national conference, Boule, for the one and only Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. This is my second full day here and the opportunity to be around sorors from across the world is an experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Due to the week being so busy this post will be short but nonetheless will be significant. Now let’s get down to business. One piece of news that has not been talked about in the mainstream is the flawed criminal justice system that negatively impacts marginalized communities, in particular people with disabilities. According to an article written by the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), deaf people do not stand a chance for fair representation in the state of Georgia. Georgia authorities are not providing deaf people sign language interpreters, which is directly impacting that individuals due process. People under arrest have a right to speak for themselves and if they are not able to effectively communicate with police officers, judges, their attorney, they are set up for failure as soon as they come in contact with law enforcement personnel. How can someone be an active participant in their defense when they cannot communicate with anyone that determines their fate? Thankfully, the ACLU is taking action against the Georgia Department of Corrections. According to the ACLU, the proposed complaints highlights how prison, probation, and parole system fail deaf prisoners — leading deaf people to go to prison more often, stay longer, and return more quickly. This is an injustice that must be reversed immediately. I really do not care how much money or what Georgia and the United States has to do to accommodate the needs of deaf people but it needs to be done. Think to go through the due process, arraignments, trials, sentencing and not hearing a word of what anyone is saying. Sitting there not being able to give your side of the story and going to jail for something you did not do. It’s an absolute travesty that requires national attention. I am giving it this issue the attention it requires and more importantly deserves.
~Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes~