This piece was originally published in Cascadia Spoke, a community publication dedicated to raising awareness of the Cascadia movement and bioregionalism.
Hello Stewards of Cascadia Bioregion! We are humbly honored to be invited by Cascadia Department of Bioregion to introduce our presence and connect with you all as agents pushing for bioregional transformation on the social, cultural and political levels for the greater good of humanity.
Through our cultural-linguistic lens, we believe that all systems of oppression (racism, homophobia, hearing supremacy, etc.) are interconnected. To dismantle all systems of oppression equitably, we need to understand the critical importance of de-internalizing or unpacking ourselves when confronting our own human fragility in terms of reproducing cycles of harm towards ourselves and different people. That leads to introducing our transformative justice based work at Cascadia Deaf Nation.
Cascadia Deaf Nation (CDN) is a cooperatively owned social enterprise in Bellingham, WA, founded by Ashanti Monts-Tréviska in 2016. This was in response to the monocultural practices of reproducing cycles of harm including racism, employment discrimination and hearing supremacy (reframed from the critical analysis of audism) which is continually impacting BIPOC deaf communities in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Coast Salish Territories.
CDN’s core foundational values are mindfulness, stewardship and transformative justice. In this respect, the team co-directing CDN are called Stewards, as a reflection of non-hierarchical co-leadership in the circular ecosystemic work environment that fosters inner creativity to create solutions collectively.
CDN created 12 stewardship projects (also known as social impact projects) to reflect its pivotal work in dismantling the systems of oppression proactively. One of the stewardship projects, Transformative Equity Training (TET), has been very impactful because it guided few organizations and schools serving Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind and DeafDisabled populations to acknowledge the need to transform their fixed structural mindset that reproduce systems of oppression without full accountable awareness.
CDN is moving forward to incorporate the concept of language justice and design justice into its Communication Equity Project (CEP) this summer. The Communication Equity Project was intended to start last spring, though it was placed on hold because we needed more time to evaluate the intentions of co-directing this project. The Stewards at CDN are looking forward to co-facilitating design lab events through the Communication Equity Project to collaborate with social justice groups and communities. Together, we can co-develop tools to dismantle the practices of hearing supremacy raise an emergent understanding of communication equity (reframed from the critical analysis of accessibility) this summer.
Cascadia Deaf Nation (CDN) will be hosting a physical open house event in July to celebrate its 6th year of existing as a whole entity and to meet & greet communities. The event will be based on a hybrid format to be mindful of those needing to preserve their own wellness. Look for our future announcement of the open house event on our social media platforms. To learn more about design justice, CDN recommends reading “Design Justice: Community-Led Practices To Build The Worlds We Need” by Sasha Costanza-Chock.
To read about hearing supremacy (reframed from CDN’s critical analysis of accessibility) from cultural-linguistic lens, we recommend “Hearing Supremacy: The Deniability of Ethical Citizenship of Deaf Identified Community Members” by Cascadia Deaf Nation.
The Stewards at Cascadia Deaf Nation (CDN) looks forward to meeting you when the time aligns with the authentic meaning of social change in WA state. Deep gratitude to Cascadia Department of Bioregion for welcoming us to be part of the bioregional change with other Cascadia communities.
Cascadia Deaf Nation is a cooperatively owned social enterprise organization that works to invest in the flourishing needs of BIPOCD* communities in the Cascadia bioregion. It is headquartered on the unceded lands of Lhaq’temish Nation (Lummi and Nooksack nations) within the Coast Salish territories. Learn more at cascadiadn.co.
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