“As a filmmaker, I do my best everyday to remind others to be more perceptive and sensitive toward the deaf, hard-of-hearing and especially animals. Some of you may want to know why I classify the deaf and hard-of-hearing together with animals. It’s comparatively simple. At birth, I was diagnosed with profound and permanent deafness in both ears, a hereditary attribute that resulted in the inability to neither hear my own voice nor others’ for the rest of my life. Yes, deafness is a disability in the mainstream society I live in, yet, I am privileged to have integrated deaf culture into my soul and I am a native user of American Sign Language, a language used by millions of hearing, deaf and hard-of-hearing peers throughout the country and Canada. American Sign language has enabled me to express my feelings and thoughts to others. But what about the countless people not familiar with American Sign Language? I am sure you can understand the difficulties I confront daily — but what about animals? Do we, as humans, understand what animals are trying to communicate? Do we ‘hear’ animals speaking about their afflictions or discomfort? In fact, I strongly empathize with animals for being incapable of clearly expressing illness, happiness, frustration, hunger, and, especially, pain. It is in this area that all our ‘voices’ about our feelings fall upon deaf ears.”
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