Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Friday, April 27, which is the first of what will be a regular “Deaf News” segment on Fridays.
Today we will cover four stories.
Last Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona — a school bus for the Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind was involved in a frightening collision with a driver in a Jeep SUV who was in the middle of a shootout with someone else.
Before the collision, CBS 5 reported there was a fight at a park. The driver of the Jeep, a 15-year-old girl, fired shots as she drove away.
Those who were shot got into their vehicle and rammed the Jeep and shot back at her, with one bullet striking her.
The girl then reversed away, colliding with the front of the school bus as it was on its route.
The bus had a driver, an aide, and one child inside, and they were not hurt.
The girl was transported to the hospital in critical condition. Police was at the scene all Thursday evening trying to identify the suspect.
I reached out to ASDB and received a response from Ryan Ducharme, their Chief Agency Relations Officer.
Ducharme said the staff and student were in the Phoenix Day School for the Deaf program and are unharmed.
He said after the bus was hit, the driver and the aide (chaperone) quickly made sure the student was safe and to comfort her. The driver and the chaperone cooperated with police in their investigation.
Ducharme said several staff at PDSD were traumatized by the event and ASDB is providing access to trauma counseling services.
He said the head of bus operations at ASDB said he doesn’t remember anything like this ever happening in 30 years. The bus is now being repaired.
A Deaf woman, Liberty Gratz, who works at a Publix grocery store in Virginia, was punched in the back by a customer who apparently was angry that she was “ignoring” her. This happened on Sunday and made news headlines all over the U.S.
I reached out to her for an interview. Here it is.
Liberty: My name is Liberty Gratz. I work at Publix.
Alex: Can you explain what happened?
Liberty: I’ve worked here for seven months and this happened on Sunday. I worked at the dairy area, I was focused on stocking items. I didn’t know there was a woman behind me, maybe she was yelling. I couldn’t hear her, and she decided to punch me. I felt shocked, turned to face her, and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear, and how can I…” (Yes, I helped her). After she left, I went to my manager and told her about what happened. The surveillance video didn’t work out as it was not clear. There were people blocking the view.
Alex: Are you okay? Is your back hurting?
Liberty: Yes, I am okay. There is still a little pain, but it’s not getting worse.
Alex: Have you ever experienced this at Publix?
Liberty: No, I’ve never experienced this. But sometimes when people ask me for help in the aisle, I’ll tell them that I can’t hear, and they will just walk away. That’s rude. But I just bear it, I don’t react with anger.
Alex: Are you still working at Publix?
Liberty: Yes I am still working. I can’t, I will never quit. I am just preserving.
Alex: Do you remember the appearance fo the person who hit you?
Liberty: It is vague, because there are many older ladies with glasses and curly hair. I’ve tried to remember her face, but it’s hard. I’ll figure it out.
Alex: As you go back to work, do you feel nervous or confident?
Liberty: Both. I remain positive, but sometimes I feel nervous that there will be an attack. I was almost attacked yesterday when someone yelled at me. I told the person to hold on, explained that I couldn’t hear, and gave a pen and paper. The person wrote on it, and it was all okay.
Alex: I read in articles that there is a GoFundMe set up for you and your twin brother, because you both are DeafBlind. Can you explain about this?
Liberty: In January, I went to an eye doctor to take a test for a drivers license test. That was when the doctor said I had Usher’s Syndrome. I never knew about this. One month later, they said my brother needed to get his eyes checked, too, and he has Usher’s Syndrome too. To be honest, I wanted to hide this from people, but I can’t hide it, so I am willing to say I have Usher’s Syndrome. I have to be bold and positive. It doesn’t mean I can’t do anything. That is not true. You can do everything. That’s why I stand strong against the naysayers. I am still working, I meet new people, and I used to work with a Blind girl. I want to travel and do what I want.
Alex: Do you want to add anything?
Liberty: I feel bad that deaf people get negativity. I want to encourage them to be positive, that they can do work. Just get up, don’t be lazy. Get up and go for your goals.
Alex: Thank you for your time Liberty. It’s shocking how cruel some people can be, but she is a great example of perseverance. Best of luck with her life and personal goals.
Publix told ABC 8 News two days ago that they are cooperating with police about this.
Alex: A Deaf male boxer, Julian Smith, won the Chicago Golden Gloves, a major amateur boxing tournament two weeks ago. He beat out four people to enter the championship match, then won via knockout in the second round.
Here is an interview with him.
Julian: My name is Julian Smith. I started boxing when I was a kid. I grew up going to a mainstream school, then graduated from the Illinois School for the Deaf when I was 19, I went there for a year. Later I attended RIT/NTID. I switched majors after some time and pursued a career in personal training. After I got my 2-year certificate I decided to pursue a boxing career and started to participate in tournaments. I started to spread the word that I’m starting my career in boxing. I learned a lot from my brother who used to be a part of all this. So that’s me, that’s who I am.
Alex: Congratulations on winning the Chicago Golden Glove Championship. Can you tell us about the tournament? How big was it and how hard was it to win?
Julian: Thank you. The tournament was pretty big. It had some of the best fighters from all over the country. My next tournament will be in Omaha, Nebraska from May 14-21. It will be a tough challenge, I will have to bring my best hands to the fight.
I am one of the best Deaf fighters in history with this championship.
Alex: One article said that you learned boxing from your older brother but that he tragically passed away when he was 22. Can you explain about your brother and his influence on you?
Julian: One thing about my brother is he would always motivate me to pick up my gloves even if I didn’t understand why I should at the time. Sometimes we argued just like regular siblings, but my brother encouraged me more than other hearing people, who would often discriminate against me because I’m deaf.
He taught me how to stay motivated and keep fighting hard. He taught me many good things and was positive influence on me. He also taught me how to fight hard.
My brother was always there for me and would teach me new fighting skills. He taught me to never give up on myself and stay motivated in my passion.
Alex: Do you box in honor of your brother?
Julian: Yes, I still box to honor my brother. One thing I want to share is that I want to help make the violence to go away. Get involved in sports, get involved in education, participate in a gym. If you have serious emotions you’re dealing with, go get involved in a gym, that’s an opportunity to help your anger go away.
Alex: It seems you are the only Deaf person in your family. Your family is hearing, your trainer and coach is hearing. What has your experience been like?
Julian: I think my experience has been pretty tough. Even though I sign, I do have depend a lot on reading people’s lips. The first thing I learned was that it is very difficult. Not everyone can understand me, except for when my Mom is able to interpret sometimes. Most of time I communicate with my coach using lip-reading. As long as he speaks a little louder on my left side I will usually understand and be able to communicate with my coach.
Alex: Wow – so now that the championship is finished in Chicago, what are you goals ahead?
Julian: My goal is to continue winning in national tournaments and win more championships. I want to continue fighting all over the country. If I keep participating in national fights like the one in chicago, I can become a member of a team or even go professional in as soon as 2-3 months.
Alex: Would you like to add any comments?
Julian: I want to say one thing to people out there causing violence: put your hands down and pick up your gloves and get involved in that instead of getting involved in violence. Support all disabilities, not just Deaf people. I want people to know that they can do it. I want everyone to know that if you’re dealing with emotions or rage, please contact me or meet me in Hammond. We’re definitely ready to help you find the motivation to go to a gym. We want to help you help yourself and make sure you don’t hurt yourself and learn good fighting skills.
One thing I want say to Deaf people: never let ‘disability’ control you. Always shoot for the Moon. If you miss, you’ll be an amazing star. Always pursue your dreams. Thank you for watching.
Alex: Thank you for your time and for sharing your message, Julian. Best of luck on your upcoming matches and on your goals of turning professional.
In Austin, Texas on Friday, May 18, the Texas School for the Deaf Foundation will be hosting their 12th Annual Diamond Gala to raise funds to support TSD. I will be there as the emcee.
The event is named “Sunset Over the Savanna,” it will be at the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch, which has a pavilion with animals from different continents, including giraffes, rhinos, zebras, bison, and others.
Students from the TSD Culinary Arts Department will work with the event caterer to serve meals. Deaf-owned businesses Crepe Crazy and PepperBox Coffee will serve dessert and coffee.
The funds raised will benefit TSD students and provide resources for over 7,000 deaf students across Texas.
If you want to attend, you can buy tickets at the link below in the transcript. It is $150 per person or $275 per couple. It is a formal event with cocktail attire.
Hope to see you there! If you can’t make it but still want to support TSD, you can at the TSDF website.
That is all for today. Have a wonderful weekend and… Stay with the light!