Deaf Motorcyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run, Suspect Arrested; Interview With Isidore Niyongabo, Founder of IDEAL; ISU Survey
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Deaf Motorcyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run, Suspect Arrested
Ten days ago in South Carolina a deaf man riding on a motorcycle died after a car hit him, which knocked him off the motorcycle, and a SUV ran over him.
The deaf man’s name is Alan Lane Smith, he was 31. He died at the scene and was wearing a helmet.
The car that first hit him fled the scene, it didn’t stop, while the SUV stopped.
Police announced they were looking for the driver, saying the car is a blue Hyundai Elantra. They then posted a “WANTED” image of the suspect, David “Ritchie” Harris.
After a search, he was found and arrested last week. He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. It is a serious charge.
Alan’s funeral was on Sunday. He owned a construction business. He leaves behind a wife and three sons.
On Alan’s Facebook page, he made a selfie posting on March saying he was happy after previous struggles, that he is a successful small business owner, and told people to never lose faith.
There are many social media postings of people, including his family, mourning his death. Many were impacted by Alan’s death.
A person set up a GoFundMe to support Alan’s family. The link to it is below.
Interview With Isidore Niyongabo, Founder of IDEAL
Alex: Here is an interview I did with Isidore Niyongabo from Austin, Texas. He is the Human Resources Manager at Convo and the founder and director of IDEAL, an organization that supports deaf children around the world. He will share his life journey and what he does with IDEAL.
Throughout my life, I have a strong belief that poverty should not be a barrier to success. Why is that? Because of my experiences growing up in a small farming village in Burundi.
My childhood was good but when I was ten, I contracted meningitis. I was vey sick and almost died. My parents took me to a doctor and after observing me, he told my parents, “I’m sorry, but he has to leave, I have no time for dead people. Go and bury him.” My mother ignored him and took care of me. After four days of care, I woke up alive. I think the doctor misunderstood “dead” with “deaf.”
Although I was deaf, my father still supported me. He decided to use his favorite bicycle to bring us to a deaf school. It took 13 hours, during the summer and through very hilly terrain. Sometimes we had to get off to walk and then get back on it. We kept on until we arrived. I was registered at the start of school and I started my education career.
The Burundi genocide happened on October 21, 1993. My father was with a group of friends as usual, every night they would sit together and drink beer. His friends told him that it didn’t matter how much alcohol he gave them, they would still kill him. My father looked at them and laughed it off. He thought it was silly. But he was still defiant. He went home, told my mother and siblings that he had to go and make peace with the community because he knew something was going on. He picked up his machete and his bag and walked away. A few minutes later, my mother and siblings heard my father screaming, “Help! Help!” Then he passed away. That was the last thing they heard from him.
Although he is gone, his life and his way of approaching the world can be summed up to this one quote. “Love all, trust everyone, and do wrong to no one.” That has stuck with me. That is how I feel connected with my father because my way comes from him, my aura, how I meet wonderful people. This includes one deaf friend who in Uganda taught me how to find a way to move to America. How? Google. I had no idea about it in 2004. He told me if you type www.google.com, you can find anything in the world. I was like, “are you for real?” I remembered that and that’s how I got to America!
In 2010, I was at SDSU San Diego State University in my senior year. I was astonished when I won Homecoming King for 2010.
I remember standing in front of a huge crowd of about 50,000 people in the middle of a football field. I looked up and the first thing that came up was my father. I thought, “Thank you, father. You rode a bike for me for 13 hours, so now I will ride a bike for another deaf children in the world who have a similar situation, there is no better opportunity. So I founded IDEAL.
Right now we have four deaf children who we support — in Uganda and Rwanda. Why those four? To let you know, in Africa, K-12 education is not free. It costs about $500 per child per year.
We believe in supporting individuals and the community. We connect them with opportunities. Sometimes there are gaps in between. For example, a student might be accepted to a university in another country. But the person is stuck because he can’t afford visa costs or flight tickets. We cover that, send them out.
I don’t give because I have much. I give because I know how it feels when you have nothing. Two years ago I had a huge moment in my life. I didn’t expect this. I actually met the U.S. President Obama in his Oval Office.
That moment taught me an experience — in life you will experience many challenges. But at the same time, when I look back at my life, I realize that there were many things that you thought would think is almost impossible, but it isn’t. There will be many challenges, it is not easy, but at the same time, it is not impossible. If you believe, you will achieve.
Alex: Thank you for your time, Isidore.
Recently, Isidore and IDEAL sponsored two African young leaders to attend the 2018 NAD Convention, one from Rwanda and another from Zambia. They said the workshop will help prepare them for Deaf leadership summits in Africa.
For more information about IDEAL, links are below.
Current campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/zambia-deaf-youth-leadership-camp
This is an advertisement.
The Idaho State University and the Idaho Council for the Deaf and HoH received a grant to create a survey to ask Deaf patients on their experiences in healthcare settings, with a specific focus on their experiences when asking for or being provided with interpreters.
ISU and ICDHH say Deaf people know that they are often denied medical care and appropriate communication access, but that this is not documented in healthcare literature, so it means for funding agencies, there is “no problem that needs to be solved.”
They want to change this with getting data on how often Deaf people are denied care because of a lack of communication access.
ISU and ICDHH are asking you to fill out the survey. All questions are in both ASL and English, and you can respond either in ASL with a webcam or mobile device, or in typed English.
If you complete the survey before August 1st, you can enter a drawing for a $25 gift card to Wal-Mart, there are 20 that will be awarded.
To take the survey or for more information, the links are in the transcript.
That is all for today. Go to Daily Moth Facebook tomorrow to follow me all day at the 258 Deaf St. Festival in Denver, Colorado!
Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light!