The need to belong, some will say, is as great as our need for air. So why is it that certain communities divide themselves into subsections, fracturing off more of their own? Silent, No More gives voice to those who are deaf, but also speak. This newly formed sect of the deaf community is struggling to find their place among the deaf and hearing worlds. “We are the grey area, and we hope to add color to the grey”, says one participant.
With a simple set nestled in Carnegie Hall’s Recital Hall, nine brave souls took to the stage and shared their experiences of being “deaf-speak”, the new term for people who are deaf and also speak. Each one uniquely compelling in its own way, the performances left me moved and inspired. Whether deaf and speaking or an advocate for that community, every speaker reached into their soul. Sharing their most intimate themselves with us, they left an indelible mark on the audience.
I, as a disabled man, connected with each actor. I’ve often felt caught between two worlds, as they do. My disability is not visible (I use a wheelchair but can also walk), so am I part of the disabled community or the regular world? The “deaf-speak” struggle spoke right to my heart. And I hope that they will be fully embraced for who they are and not ostracized for being a part of both worlds. It’s no fun beight caught in the grey area and we need to change it. NOW!
Kathy Buckley, a deaf comedian and actor closed the evening. Her hilarity filled the room and her poignancy touched us all. I would be remiss if I did not mention No Limits, a school “where deaf children are empowered to speak, dream, achieve, and inspire.” The accomplishments, made by the participants, some of them alumni of No Limits, are impressive. From pilots to actors, there is truly nothing they can’t do. But their struggle is real and it’s a needless one. Let’s just accept this wonderful group for who they are and respect their right to make their own decisions. Shouldn’t everyone be allowed to live their life as they see fit? They stand where they stand, and they fit where they fit. That’s enough. Shouldn’t it be?