November 11, 2019
♪ Music ♪ Yes, I have a job. I work at Starbucks. I enjoy working there because I make good money, get good benefits, and I work hard so that I can get a pay raise. Starbucks actually initiated something called the Inclusion Academy a couple years ago where they started hiring and training people who have disabilities, people who are veterans, immigrants, and those who have unequal employment opportunities here in the United States. And actually the Starbucks that Josh works at in York, PA now has a video phone in the drive-thru So people are able to place their orders using American Sign Language. Not every deaf individual has had the same experience that Josh had. According to statistics from the National Deaf Center, 48% of deaf individuals are employed compared to 72% of their hearing counterparts. While the average earnings of deaf and hearing individuals are around the same ($52,650 compared to $52,980 respectively), less and less deaf people are employed in the first place. Employment rates change based on education rates. Annual income and education are positively correlated but deaf and hard of hearing individuals do not have the same educational opportunities as their hearing peers. In terms of college, 12.8% of hearing students graduate from college compared to 5.1% of deaf students. The disparity [in employment] between deaf and hearing individuals with college degrees is smaller but is still present. 81.1% of hearing individuals with a college degree are employed compared to 65% of deaf individuals ♪ Music ♪ Hearing people think deaf people can’t do anything , but they’re wrong. Deaf people can do everything. For instance, we can drive. I have my license, which I received after I took the driving test many years ago. I can get around just fine without any problems. Also I can play sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, and others like football. I played football for three years and was very good. I learned everything just fine. My teammates were good players and never picked on me or anything like that. Back in 2015, I had the opportunity to visit the Jamaica Deaf Village with Josh and this is a village that is run by all deaf adults there’s deaf carpenters, farmers, construction workers, pastors, artists, you name it. They run the town and they’re proof that deaf really can do anything and they’re fine without the help of hearing people. And if we afforded the same opportunities and access to language here in the United States to the deaf citizens of the United States then the disparities that Sarah spoke about would really start to dissipate and eventually disappear. I wish that the hearing population would learn about Deaf culture because it will help reduce bullying, discrimination, and negative attitudes towards deaf people. I wish all high schools, middle schools, etc would be required to take ASL classes so that hearing people can gain a better understanding of the deaf, improve communication, and work well with their deaf counterparts. Know that deaf can!