Posts Tagged ‘deaf democrats’


Special Thanks from the Deaf Democrats

July 9, 2009

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It has been a month since the Deaf Democrats blog published a special tribute to Marcella M. Meyer, the last of true Deaf warriors. The outpouring has been rather huge, and this tribute became our most popular posting, with the highest number of hits ever for a single posting. This goes to show the kind of impact Marcella M. Meyer has had on our lives.

Ever since the special tribute came out, a memorial service honoring Marcella M. Meyer took place at the Greater Los Angeles Agency for the Deaf (GLAD) on Sunday, June 14th, with approximately 350 people in attendance. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Times newspaper ran two obituaries on her, one in the regular obituary section and the other one as a feature story published after her memorial service.

As further evidence of Marcella M. Meyer’s widespread reach to people from different walks of life, the Los Angeles City Council proclaimed this past June 14th (the day of her memorial service) as Marcella M. Meyer Day throughout the whole city. On June 23rd, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors closed its meeting with a tribute to Marcella and issued a proclamation in her honor. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is currently working on a special feature honoring her to be included in the next NAD NEWS issue.

The family of Marcella M. Meyer has been deeply touched by all this and some family members have not realized the extent of Marcella’s influence until now. The Deaf Democrats editors want to thank everyone for expressing their sentiments through various avenues. It is still a challenge for many of us to comprehend a world without Marcella M. Meyer; however, we can take great comfort in knowing that our lives have been made richer by her impact on us all!

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


MARCELLA M. MEYER, The Last of True Deaf Warriors

June 8, 2009

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The day of May 26, 2009 brought another milestone into the history of the Los Angeles Deaf Community and everywhere else, with the passing of Marcella Mae Meyer. As one of the founders and as the CEO of the Greater Los Angeles Agency of the Deaf (GLAD), Marcella brought upon incredible changes affecting the lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people everywhere.

Affectionately known as MMM, Marcella M. Meyer deserves this special tribute from the Deaf Democrats editors because of her steadfast behind-the-scenes support of this blog. Marcella had been a long-time supporter of the Democratic Party and held the distinction of being the first Deaf delegate to the California Democratic Party convention. Another compelling reason is that the current chapter in our Deaf history would not have been made possible without Marcella breaking barriers in a very GUTSY manner.

Marcella M. Meyer, (1925-2009), now belongs to a group of legendary Deaf leaders who stood at a pivotal period in our community history, leaders such as Frederick C. Schreiber, Don Pettingil, Ed Carney, T.J. O’Rourke, Jerry Jordan, Frank Bowie, Boyce Williams, etc. This group led the Deaf Community at a watershed point when civil rights, services and access came flooding into our community. One of Marcella’s enduring legacies stemmed from her creating the Greater Los Angeles Agency of the Deaf, Inc. (GLAD), using a concept derived from a Leadership Training Program position paper at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). There at GLAD, Marcella M. Meyer reigned supreme for 24 years.

Marcella M. Meyer used the GLAD platform to bombard the world with legislative and social changes. Her favorite means of bully-pulpiting were her renowned feature, Marcella’s Musings, in the GLAD News magazine, and at GLAD Council meetings and staff meetings. She provided a true and fine example of the famous conventional wisdom: Whatever happens in California, the rest of the nation will follow.

Among Ms. Meyer’s early victories was winning a legal battle for the right to sit on a jury, a precedent picked up by the rest of the nation; another victory involved the legislation requiring telephone companies to impose surcharges on all consumers to establish a telephone access fund. This resulted in both a statewide relay service (California Relay Service) and a free TTY equipment distribution program, with both models being copied by other states.

One of Marcella M. Meyer’s most colossal battles brought changes to the sign language interpreting evaluation systems. This all began when she challenged the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) and its interpreter evaluation process by establishing a GLAD interpreter evaluation system. Her creation was adopted by the California Association of the Deaf (CAD) and then by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). This process evolved with RID and NAD merging their evaluation systems into one, now known as National Interpreting Certification (NIC) system. These are only a few examples of Marcella’s achievements.

Also, one can say that Marcella M. Meyer was the very original queen of social justice, as she had the foresight to set up innovative programs dealing with issues that no one dared to touch — issues such as mental health, substance abuse, women’s issues, HIV/AIDS, smoking cessation, to name a few. More often than not, the issues and practices that she advocated would end up becoming buzz words or concepts in the mainstream society. One cannot help wonder where she got all her insights into the needs of our community and the world. Marcella herself was the epitome of this adage: A good leader leads people to where they want to go. A great leader leads people to places where they feel uncomfortable going.



An excerpt from the GLAD News magazine
upon Marcella M. Meyer’s retirement…


Marcella M. Meyer was such a trailblazer that she left a transforming impact on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. However, all her efforts and victories did not come without blood, sweat and tears. Her brash manner in creating social changes oftentimes ruffled feathers everywhere she went, as she seemed impatient with conventional methods and would rather see concrete results in the shortest time possible. An example of the legacy of her driving force was the acquisition of the current GLAD headquarters / community center at a historical landmark building in a Los Angeles suburb.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri during the Roaring 20’s, Marcella M. Meyer grew up and lived in a world where job opportunities for Deaf people were limited to manual labor such as printing, dry-cleaning, factory work, housecleaning, etc. Also, Marcella’s life paralleled that of the 20th century American history, being a factory worker during the Second World War and holding several different jobs during the booming postwar economy. Additionally, Marcella was one of the people who contributed to the creation of the postwar baby boomer generation by bearing three hearing daughters, with her first husband. During the 1960s, after going through two marriages, she took her daughters to California to start a new life which included another marriage, this time to Lenny Meyer, a teacher at Selaco High School in Downey, California.

Nowhere in Marcella M. Meyer’s life story up to this point was there any indication of the greatness she would achieve later in life, the qualities that would propel her to national and international stages. However, a close examination on the latter part of her life shows that the tipping point most likely came from her three daughters. They got involved in social issues of the day and causes such as the women’s liberation movement, and they brought a social awakening and political awareness to their mother. The rest was HERSTORY!!

Of all her achievements, Marcella M. Meyer often said that her greatest accomplishment was the raising of her three daughters – Jamalee Plank, Coleen Ashly and Michele Balfe. This statement of Marcella’s is not too surprising because of her renowned mothering instincts which she also shared with the Deaf Community. These days, stories from countless Deaf women and men abound about her incredible mentorship which included her pearly words of wisdom, her earthy and sometimes bawdy sense of humor, along with barrels of tough love!

Marcella’s daughters have taken on her superb mothering instincts while raising Marcella’s five grandchildren. Now some of her grandchildren are following Marcella’s example in providing active public service, including a granddaughter becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a grandson in the military, and an attorney granddaughter who recently argued before the Ohio State Supreme Court.

Marcella M. Meyer was one amazing woman who rose to the challenges of her times and who responded in a splendid manner and turned our community upside down. To give her our due honor and to remember her with reverence, a memorial service will be conducted at the Greater Los Angeles Agency for the Deaf Headquarters (2222 Laverna) on Sunday, June 14th, 2009, starting at 2 p.m. Also, you can read her obituaries in two newspapers, Los Angeles Times and Kansas City Star.

(Editor’s note: After the memorial service honoring Marcella M. Meyer at GLAD, the Los Angeles Times ran another obituary, this time with a feature story on her.)

To Marcella M. Meyer, the last of true Deaf Warriors, we doubt if we will ever see the likes of you again. We shall miss you TERRIBLY!

(Written by Christine “CB” Buchholz and Vikee Waltrip)


MMM and daughters

Marcella M. Meyer with her daughters —
Coleen Ashly, Michele Balfe and Jamalee Plank


We at the
Deaf Democrats blog encourage you to visit the condolence book below and add in your comments.
(If you don’t see the condolence book,
click on “# comments” below to open it.)
In observance of our famous tradition,
please keep your comments to 350 words.
Yes, 350 words instead of 250 words this time! Thanks!

And long live Marcella M. Meyer, through each one of us!!


Electoral College, huh?

November 1, 2008

These days all the media pundits have been speculating over the Electoral College while the polls are based on the popular vote. Several readers requested that this blog provide an article explaining the Electoral College as they expressed some bewilderment over this topic.


The Electoral College is a body of electors who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States, on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December of a presidential election year. This body consists of 538 popularly elected representatives; this number reflects the number in our Congress (both the House of Representatives and the Senate) plus three from the District of Columbia. Therefore, in order to win the presidency, a candidate will need to win 270 electoral votes (one more than the exact half).


The electors are decided upon on Election Day, the day of the nationwide popular vote. When a candidate carries a state, he/she wins electors from that state. The number of electors in each state is based on congressional districts; i.e., the state of California consists of 53 congressional districts and 2 senate seats; therefore California carries 55 electors. All the states except for two are winner-take-all states; the two exceptions are Maine and Nebraska where a candidate collects electors based on the districts he/she wins on Election Day. These electors themselves cannot hold office in the United States Congress.

Several weeks later, these electors meet at their respective state capitals to cast their votes.


To many people, the Electoral College does not make sense and needs to be abolished. In the beginning of our nation’s history, the Electoral College made sense and was considered an innovative tool of the American brand of democracy. The Electoral College was established by our Founding Fathers when they wrote up the United States Constitution. At the Constitution Convention in 1787, the smaller states such as Delaware and Rhode Island sought to protect their states’ power without being overpowered by larger states such as Virginia and New York due to differences in population numbers. Also these states did not want the Congress to have extra power by picking a president and vice-president without any popular vote, so this power was switched to the citizenry.

At that time, some politicians believed a purely popular election was too reckless, while others objected to giving Congress the power to select the president. The compromise was to set up an Electoral College system that allowed voters to vote for electors, who would then cast their votes for candidates. The Founding Fathers believed the Electoral college itself reflected very much the U.S. Constitution itself which was based on a compromise between population-based and state-based governances.

This is how we ended up with the Electoral College. Yes, our presidential elections are really based on a two-vote process – the popular vote and the Electoral College.

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


The G.O.P. Ship Is Sinking!!

October 27, 2008

Each day brings more bad news for the Republican Party, better known as the Grand Old Party (GOP). The G.O.P. ship is definitely sinking, and all the mice are now escaping the ship like crazy, escaping in the disguise of Republican leaders and major newspapers proclaiming crossover endorsements of Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for President. To make matters worse, several recent events cast a very long shadow on the Republican Party and the McCain campaign, events that occurred beyond anyone’s control.

The list of prominent Republicans who crossed over party lines to endorse Obama has steadily grown on a daily basis. Such Republicans included columnist Christopher Buckley (son of the late William F. Buckley); former Secretary of State (under the current president) Colin Powell ; Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana; former governor of Minnesota, Arnie Carlson; former press secretary in the current Bush White House, Steve McClelland; Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island; and most recently, former governor of Massachusetts, the ever-popular William Weld.

Major newspapers who endorsed Senator Obama included the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Arizona Republic along with many other major newspapers. At the last count, the tally of newspaper endorsements of Obama and Senator John McCain stands at a lopsided 194-82 in Obama’s favor.

The claim to the most stunning newspaper endorsement of Senator Barack Obama probably belongs to the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska, the home state of Governor Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee. Read below how the Anchorage Daily News explained its case yesterday (Sunday, October 26th):

Gov. Palin’s nomination clearly alters the landscape for Alaskans as we survey this race for the presidency — but it does not overwhelm all other judgment. The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

…Gov. Palin has shown the country why she has been so successful in her young political career. Passionate, charismatic and indefatigable, she draws huge crowds and sows excitement in her wake. She has made it clear she’s a force to be reckoned with, and you can be sure politicians and political professionals across the country have taken note. Her future, in Alaska and on the national stage, seems certain to be played out in the limelight.

Yet despite her formidable gifts, few who have worked closely with the governor would argue she is truly ready to assume command of the most important, powerful nation on earth. To step in and juggle the demands of an economic meltdown, two deadly wars and a deteriorating climate crisis would stretch the governor beyond her range. Like picking Sen. McCain for president, putting her one 72-year-old heartbeat from the leadership of the free world is just too risky at this time.

This was the rationale behind the endorsement by the Anchorage Daily News for Barack Obama.

In the past few days, three events took place that did not portent well for our nation. Last Wednesday, a McCain campaign volunteer in Pittsburgh, a white woman, claimed that she was robbed, raped and beaten by a black man who was an Obama supporter. After interrogating this woman and performing a lie detector polygraph test on her, the Pittsburgh police declared that this was a sheer fabrication on the woman’s behalf. To make matters worse, a McCain campaign official disclosed the details of the alleged assault to a local TV station BEFORE the police had a chance to finish its investigation, which raised suspicions of race-baiting within the McCain campaign.

Today, two major pieces of news came out that the McCain campaign probably wished would never happen. The first one was today’s announcement of a guilty verdict in the Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens’ corruption trial, a verdict that could greatly affect Senator Stevens’ re-election next week. The other news was that the federal agency, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), disrupted a plot by ultra-right wing skinheads in Tennessee and Arkansas to assassinate Senator Barack Obama.

On top of all this, almost all national polls point to a resounding Obama victory next week. And now reports are coming out in trickles describing major discontent within the McCain campaign. The full inside story may not be known until long after the election. However on the Meet the Press show yesterday, Senator John McCain guaranteed a victory in the presidential race:

“We’re going to do well in this campaign, my friend. We’re going to win it and it’s going to be tight, and we’re going to be up late. This is going to be a very close race. I believe I’m going to win it.”

Hello? Hello?? We shall see….

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


A New Poll from Deaf Democrats — West Virginia Primary!!

May 11, 2008

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


My Son, the Republican….Part Two

March 29, 2008

Republican Son part 2

After reading some of your comments regarding the choices my son made, I needed to jump in and clarify a few things.

I am a registered Independent. I choose this because my issues are not ALL one party or another. I like the choices I make, because I believe in them, and want to make the most of my American Citizenship. If I’m part of a smaller, not yet powerful group of people, that is my choice. Come November, the election may boil down to the Independents who choose neither side but make their own decision on who they want to vote for, without having to follow the cattle call of an all-Democrat or all-Republican vote. This is not to say I think Democrats nor Republicans can think for themselves. This is just to say, I prefer to choose some here, and some there.

To that person who ASSUMED I didn’t discuss political issues with my son and his choices, I have to say this, shame on you! Making judgments based on what little info you have! My family has been politically active since as long as I can remember, and we have always discussed the different issues out there, including for me, my own Deaf issues. What we discuss in our family discussion is personal and belongs inside my own family. I simply made the choice to share this, because I felt we all need to show how diverse we are, and even within the close-knittedness of family, there are differences. THAT is the beauty of being an American, and I’m proud of it and of my son.

My baby brother is also a Republican, however, this year he has decided to vote Democrat. Anything would be better than another four years of Republican rule, destroying all things in the eyes of the world. It is because of Bush and his daddy’s cronies that we are suffering the worst economic times, as well as being hated, villified and in some places, killed because we are simply Americans. Am I jumping up and down because my brother made his choice? No, because I know it was a difficult choice for him, and I respect that.

What am I doing on this Deaf Democrat Blog? Why the hell not?!? They are a good group and I support them.

Thank you- DEAF DEMOCRATS Editors


Where is the Deaf Voice in Politics?

March 24, 2008


Hello again…
I still believe that Deaf and Hard of hearing people will sit down and listen two presidential candidates (1 Democrat and 1 Republican)…. You have a question for that topic, other question for other question and you want.? [fade to black] This video will not playing at this time. Because I spoke with a Political insider through Video Relay service. During the discussion with him, I expressed my concerns, my vision, and my passion by seeing new improvement in relationship between the Politics and the Deaf (apply to all deaf/hard of hearing individuals). I asked him if he is the right person to discuss these concerns. His replied: “YES!”

After I discussed all my ideas, he heard all of them and understood. He asked if he can bluntly say two things open.

An Insider said, “First of all, Do we have any powerful Deaf group that can be identified by our politicians? None.
Secondly, None of Deaf groups that donated a lot of money toward presidential campaign.
My concern is that how do our politicians perceive of Deaf people? They would just say, they, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, are just People with Disabilities. Politicians often would think which laws that are associated/applied to People with Disabilities. Politicians probably would say in a calmly attitude, “Oh, its ADA (American with Disabilities), Education Act, and few others for these People with Disabilities.””

I puzzled but gave an emphasize statement that we are Deaf and Hard of Hearing and we face common problems daily unlikely what other People with Disabilities went through.

An Insider said, “Yes but the point is that do we have a powerful deaf group that focuses on politics for the Deaf and tell Politician like this “We support you if you support us?”

[Silent… thinking…] I said, “We have several organizations…” “Specifically, which one?” Insider said.

[Silent… thinking…] I asked, “Don’t mind to give me an example of what group that can be identified by our politicians?” “Sure” He said. “NRA – National Rifle Association is known for a largest membership and support any president who supports NRA.”

A group of NRA cares of what they do with their guns at home. if something happens at home,
they are protected – you know. Or during leisure time, they can go out for hunting games. That group cares the Gun Right. If any President candidate who says, “I support NRA”, NRA leader would tell NRA members that this candidate is good cause he supports us and please vote him. NRA members will support and vote this candidate.

An Insider said, “Understand that once Politicans hear the name of NRA, they know NRA is one of powerful organization. They can identify that organization. So does the GLAAD – Gay/Lesiban Alliance Against Defamation.”

Any gay goes to work or apply for health insurance, they are protected by law. So if one needs an health insurance but denied because he or she is a gay/lesiban or discriminated at work. The group of attorneys wrote a law to stop that kind of discrimination. That specific law is designed to protect gay/lesiban and they are now seen as equal at any workplace.

So does the organization for Women. If men got handsomely paid and women got small paid, women protested it. Therefore, they got paid equally.

So does the NAACP – National Association for Advancement of Colored People. Anyone discriminated against them because of their color skin. No. No. They are all equal regardless what color skin is.

An Insider said, “Politicians can identify each powerful group and they know what they are but Deaf? Deaf is part of People with Disabilities and is protected by umm ADA, right?”

I said, “Oh… but the group…” An Insider interrupted and said, “Money? If this Deaf group has money to donate to one of our presidential candidates, all press members will be notified. Press members will ask the Deaf group to tell them what this Deaf group is all about, why should President candidate listen this group, etc. So does the Deaf has a large membership? Does it has money for donation ready? Tell me.”

I said, “Oh I see.” I back off a little bit and said, “I really want to have relationship with Politicians but I need to talk with the group of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people about it.” [Silent]

Do we have this group that support either Democratic or Republican and donate to one of them by say, “We promise to endorse you if you support us.” Something like that so President Candidate can announce to the public and say, “I support this Deaf group. I identify this group, I protect this group, I understand their passion, I know their goal and purpose, etc” Group of press member will spread the news about this Deaf group. Press member could say “This Deaf/Hard of Hearing donated a million dollars to one candidate.” Do we have this group? No.

Can we start a new group and name it?

My vision for every deaf/hard of hearing individuals to donate 20 dollars each because 20 dollars times 50 thousand contributors is 1 million dollars. I believe it can happen but… I need your help. Can someone take a lead by form a new group which we can earn money from the public? So if we have this kind of money, a leader of this group will ask candidates with a question “which one of you support us?”

Either party must say, “I support this group with a reason”. After we hear their reasons, we will choose one who we think is represents us. Once we chose one, we endorse one. A lot of reporters/anchors will let America know about us. We have a VOICE. We want new change. New change will give all politicians a new perspective of us – Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

So… what change? Department of Homeland Security is important. If there is crisis, an emergency crew may ask us to sit down and wait but we are completely lost. Or there?s miscommunicate with Police. Its in cycle of problem. Repeat problem. Call attorney for help and accuse Police of wrongdoing but attorney couldn?t help us because police is powerful.. has a lot of political blackmail and case closed.

Education? Give a large fund to public schools but small fund for deaf programs.

So go on over one reason that is, a point of Communication issue. That communication issue, we face every single day. I want to see this to stop completely. Change it and start improving.

Do you know anyone who is eagerly to take a lead or other organization that is willing to add a separate fund that is designed only for presidential campaign. Announce to our Deaf Community that one is working on the relationship between Politics and the Deaf. Money shows we are serious and want one of presidential candidates to be seriously consider to represent us.

Please help us. Let me know and I will let everyone know. I will join you and help to fund it.


Thank you.