Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Remodeling Readers’ Café

Filed under: Advocacy,Readers Cafe — by at 10:11 pm on Monday, February 4, 2008

After a week of banging, cutting and painting, Readers’ Café – the place to gather and to share – has undergone an extreme makeover: blog style.

Readers’ Café hasn’t been inspiring in recent months. The topics weren’t inline with what I do, namely, writing about disability awareness and accessibility-related issues. And, I don’t feel there was any value or benefit to readers, which may explain dwindling participation.

Rather than close Readers’ Café, I decided to remodel! (If, at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.) Readers’ Café will still be held the first and third Wednesday of each month, 4-7pm pacific time, right here on the Do It Myself Blog. Participating in the conversation will still be as easy as posting a comment. What will be different is the format! The plan is to interview and chat with a featured guest on some aspect of disability and/or accessibility, and to have readers join in the discussion.

Karen Putz will be our first guest this Wednesday, February 6th. Karen is the Deaf mom who was denied service at her local Steak & Shake drive thru because she didn’t place her order through the speakers, which she can’t use due to her disability. Her story was covered by two TV stations and has received some attention by the blogosphere. Most blog commenters have been supportive of Karen’s actions to go public with her fight for her rights, some do not fully understand what life is like when you’re Deaf and require some gentle disability awareness training, and a few others have been complete…well, sadly, there are still people in today’s society that need major attitude adjustments!

On Wednesday, I plan to ask Karen questions arising since the incident began unfolding. Questions like:

  • Why didn’t you go inside to order your milkshake? (I know why, but I would like Karen to explain why.)
  • Is this type of incident common for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing?
  • What don’t most people understand about being Deaf or hearing impaired? What are some typical barriers you face daily?
  • Some unenlightened souls say you shouldn’t even be driving because you wouldn’t hear sirens coming, and thus, are a safety concern on the road. How do you know when to pull over for emergency vehicles?
  • As a person with a disability, surely you unfortunately encounter annoying and discriminating situation frequently. What was it about this particular situation that made you fight it rather than brush it of?
  • What steps have you taken so far to advocate for your rights?
  • You’ve used social media, like blogs and Twitter, to tell your story. What kinds of responses or results have you experienced? How have you managed to keep up with all of it?

Hope you can join us Wednesday, February 6th @ 4-7pm pacific time. Feel free to tell your friends.

If you have an idea for an upcoming featured guest, I’m all ears!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

FOX Airs Deaf Mom’s Fight for a Milkshake

Filed under: Advocacy,Living with a disability — by at 3:49 pm on Friday, January 25, 2008

Karen Putz continues her fight after being denied service at her local Steak & Shake drive-thru because she is Deaf. FOX News aired her story late last night. Ironically, the online video is not captioned and a transcript isn’t provided, making it inaccessible to people who are Deaf and hearing impaired, as well as those who’d rather read the story for various reasons.

Is Heaven accessible?

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Deaf Mom Continues her Fight for a Milkshake

Filed under: Advocacy,Living with a disability — by at 6:41 pm on Thursday, January 24, 2008

Yesterday Karen was denied service at her local Steak & Shake because she is Deaf. Today she was interviewed by two tv stations. Here is the ABC interview. Don’t deny a woman her milkshake!

I’m proud of you, my friend!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Deaf Mom Denied Service

Filed under: Advocacy,Living with a disability — by at 11:24 pm on Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Steak n Shake logo with a red circle around it and red line through it

Ironically, two days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, my friend Karen Putz (aka DeafMom) was denied service because of her disability, her deafness. After picking up one child at one school and before picking up the next, she decided to treat her son and herself to milkshake at her local Steak & Shake drive-thru. Because she drove up to the window to place her order, rather than placing it at the speaker, which she can’t hear, the guy refused to serve her, even after she explained she is Deaf and requires accommodation as legislated in the Americans with Disabilities Act. He still refused to serve her.

Karen has contacted the corporate office and a lawyer. Tonight, with a crash course, she has set up a Twitter account where she plans to share updates on her fight for her rights. Please join our Viral Activism in Action!

Perhaps appropriately Do It Myself Blog has advanced to round two of the Canadian Blog Awards, in the Best Activism Category. Voting is now open until January 30th, 2008 11:59 PM PST. Thanks for your support!

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What We Can Learn from Rudolph

Filed under: Advocacy,Living with a disability — by at 1:22 pm on Monday, December 17, 2007

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer poster

From age two to ninety-two, we all know these fun lyrics:

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!

But, how many of us see the valuable lesson here?

Rudolph is teased and ostracized because he is different. He is excluded from reindeer games for the sole reason that his nose glows bright red. How heartbreaking is that?

In the classic Christmas special, a dejected Rudolph and his elf friend, mocked for his dream of becoming a dentist, head out to find a place of acceptance and happen across the Island of Misfit Toys; segregation at its finest.

It takes the fog to come down for the big guy (possibly the employer) Santa to realize the value in a bright, shiny nose. And that’s the point when Rudolph is duly recognized for his unique ability, giving us the Christmas story that we know and love.

But this story leaves me thinking about the other parts of the story – the bits that didn’t make it to the song. I am left wondering how many other reindeer before Rudolph were discarded because their unique ability or talent wasn’t valued. However, I am comforted in believing that discriminating practice will not be repeated when Rudolph and his reindeer friends retire and new flying reindeer are chosen to pull the sleigh. After all, believing everyone is welcomed and accepted is part of the magic of Christmas!

Rudolph teaches children young and old about the importance of valuing diversity and inclusion. Without this reindeer’s different coloured nose, Christmas was surely doomed to be cancelled that foggy night. With him, that lesson went down in history!

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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