Monday, November 24, 2014

DC's Marion Barry's Deaf Legacy

The District of Columbia's "Mayor for Life", Marion Barry recently passed away at age of 78 last Sunday morning, November 23rd. Barry was well-known for promoting the civil rights for many people including Deaf people.

The Barry administration vigorously pushed the citywide public transportation provider known as "Metro" to install the TTY ( teletype machines for the Deaf)  @ all Metrorail stations in mid-1980's before the passage of the American With Disabilites ( ADA) law in 1990.

Marion Barry's close friend and other Deaf residents founded the "DeafPride" non-profit organization to promote the civil rights for Deaf people within DC area. The organization was riddled with corruption and finanical mismanagement over years. The founder ( Wilson) was rumored for buying yacht and other luxury stuffs with organization funding from the city's finanical allocation.  The "DeafPride" organization was located @ 1350 Potomac Avenue, Southeast. The founder was a hearing woman who had a Deaf son.

The Barry administration seems helping several Deaf DC teenagers got the summer jobs over years.

The former mayor attended Rep. Eleanor Horton's public forum on Hillary Clinton's health care reform in 1993 which handful of Deaf DC residents like Barbara Kannappell, Dr. Betty Miller and Robert Mason also attended. Barry arrived very late at the forum. Mason was supposed to hand over papers ( not related to health care reform) to Kannappell. Barry grabbed the seat in middle of Deaf group on the front-row seatings between me and Kannappell. He disrespectfully seized papers intentionally for Kannappell from Mason and browsed papers. Barry finally handed papers to Kannappell. Barry didn't offer any kind of apology for such an inconvience.

ASLize yours,
Robert L. Mason