Friday, December 13, 2013

Love Note #13: The deaf and hard of hearing world-wide look to Rochester to improve their lives

Name:Wanda Dulski
Years in Rochester: 31 +
Current Home: 27 years in Pittsford

Rochester Darling, 

You're a classy Northern lady graced with southern manners with a dash of Midwestern values located in the likable four seasons weather of the Genesee Valley region .

My going on 32 years commitment with you parallels your inclusion of National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) into your overall community.  Integration of deaf and hearing hasn't been easy on either of us.  As one person of hearing suggested, us deaf, "always want more & are never satisfied." I could say the same about Rochester -- always asking full fee for services, taxes and an expectation that I be fully present without expecting accessibility in return.

NTID started out isolated & segregated from Rochester; a reflection of times, values and dictation of governmental funds.  Your community's preferential treatment of hearing was obvious despite my being required to pay the same for services, health care, performances, learning and recreational activities.  Most of your barriers continue to stem from pre-supposed loss of revenue, perceived limited resources and fear of being spread even thinner.  You still make the mistake of short-changing our contributions, energy, devotion, faithfulness and tax dollars. 

Still, over the past 30 years I've seen your attitude change from rigidity and blatant, offended refusal to ignorance and resistance and then leading into modification and tolerance.  I'm beginning to see your awareness, accessibility and inclusion spread out more evenly and even as far away as Naples, NY.

Nationwide, 34 million Americans are deaf or hard of hearing. Rochester set the baseline back in the late 1960s when Lyndon B. Johnson personally advocated for and established the National Technical Institute of the Deaf.  The deaf and hard of hearing world-wide look to Rochester to improve their lives.  They look to you to show what access, equality and fairness mean.  Assuring basic human rights for all deaf and hard of hearing is vitally important to all Americans.  Its not a matter of whether the hearing will have a hearing problem, its when and how severe it will be. Rochester is the trailblazer for the rights of Deaf and Caption-Users alike. 

Most Rochesterians are able to finger-spell and sign a few phrases or at least, know now to slow down and face me. I've become courageous about stepping up to ask for what I need.  Both of us have gotten over our shyness.  You call me one of yours.  My special name for you is, "Home, Sweet Rochester."
L, Wanda


  1. Technological and educational opportunities creates the cultural diversity that Rochester enjoys.

  2. I can totally relate with this Love Note!