Full length of Edwin Black’s presentation on Eugenics in America and its implications for the Deaf community.


The panel discussion on eugenics and its impact with Dr. Genie Gertz, Dr. Thomas Holcomb, Nancy Baldwin and Dr. Patrick Boudreault.



Press Release [Download PDF Version]

The Deafhood Foundation

Contact: Kathy Say, Marketing Chair


Over 500 people attended the presentation on Eugenics and its implications for the Deaf community given by author and researcher Edwin Black. This event was held at California School for the Deaf’s Little Theater on Friday, February 11, 2011. This night marked the first time the Deafhood Foundation provided livestream of the presentation and over 215 people watched the show from beginning to end.

The video of presentation is now available on the Deafhood Foundation’s web site with thanks to Nick Horn and Joey Baer.

Later in the evening, the Deafhood Foundation celebrated its first birthday at private clubhouse nearby with over 100 people in attendance. The Foundation also unveiled new logo on its website as well as glossy postcards emblazing the new logo designed by Deaf graphic artist Matt Daigle.

Edwin Black talked about the ugly truth behind eugenics movement, and how it evolved into today’s genetic engineering as well as its implications for the Deaf community. Black has published over 80 books, and “War against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race”.

Eugenics is a pseudo-science with a goal of “bettering” the human race, or in other words, creating a superior race without any defects or weaknesses. Black said that Alexander Graham Bell was involved in the eugenics movement.

In his presentation, he said the Deaf community should seriously consider pushing for a national law called “Deaf Culture Protection Act” that gives the Deaf people their right to American Sign Language and culture.

A panel of Deaf experts joined Edwin Black to discuss eugenics and the Deaf community was skillfully moderated by Dr. Genie Gertz, Recording Chair of the Deafhood Foundation. The panelists were: Dr. Thomas (Tom) Holcomb, professor of Deaf culture at Ohlone College, Ms. Nancy Baldwin, Deaf survivor of US internment camp for Japanese Americans and Dr. Patrick Boudreault, professor and researcher on Deaf Genetics.

This event was chaired by Deafhood Foundation’s Fundraising Chair, Kevin Clark, who was key person in making the first contact with Edwin Black. This resulted in Black helping out the Deaf community with A.B. 2072, which some considered Mendoza’s eugenics bill, that aimed to divert referrals and key information to being dispensed by audiologists. Clark said, “Many people in our community do not realize the true history and negative impact of the eugenics movement. When you also add in the fact that Alexander Graham Bell himself was involved in this speaks volumes. The organization’s complete and utter disregard for Deaf child’s human right to express themselves freely through American Sign Language needs to be stopped.”

Clark also added, “This event could not be possible without wonderful team of volunteers and Deafhood Foundation board members as well as our sponsors.”

Over $1,100 in donations were raised in a single night for the Foundation, and an audience member, Joey Baer, challenged everyone in the audience to consider making recurring monthly donations. Baer said, “No matter how small your donations are, they will add up and eventually snowball into something big for our community!”

Organizing Co-Chair Ella Mae Lentz said, “We were thrilled with the turn out, and I believe we will do more of this type of events with live stream available for everyone to watch.”

The Deafhood Foundation thanks the wonderful line up of sponsors for making this evening possible, and they are: ASL Wave, Bay Area Chapter of California Association of the Deaf, CONVO, and Gallaudet University Regional Center (GURC) at Ohlone College. In-kind sponsors are California School for the Deaf at Fremont, DCARA, Sweetwater Media and Ohlone College Deaf Studies Division. In addition, the Foundation thanks these individuals: Jeanne Ewald for organizing the clubhouse where the anniversary party was held, and the interpreters Aaron Brace and Patricia Lessard.

The Deafhood Foundation has raised over $34,000, bringing us closer to the $50,000 mark when the Foundation will issue its first Deaf-centered grant ever in areas of activism, arts, education, media and research.

For more information, visit www.DeafhoodFoundation.org

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