Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students Pen Anti-Discrimination Poems

Sophomore Andri Peña stands next to his poem on the 7th floor.

Sophomore Andri Peña stands next to his poem on the 7th floor.

BRONX, NY – “Discrimination Is Not The Answer” is the subject of discussion among students at Truman High School, and several students in the Hearing Education Services Department found a creative way to express their ideas about being deaf.

“I’m trying to tell people that those people who think that deaf people are dumb, I’m trying to inform them – what [does it mean to be] deaf?” says Andri Peña, a sophomore who is hard-of-hearing.

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The poems were created after an English Class discussion on achievements made by deaf people, and discrimination they may face along the way.

Peña and other 10th grade students wrote the poems as part of their English class, after a discussion about two deaf employees who work in the White House.  The conversation focused on exactly what accomplishments those with hearing loss can achieve, and what discrimination they may suffer along the way.

“I said, why don’t we write a poem about at time you were discriminated [against]?” says Hearing Education Unit Director Grechy Milian.  “All of the responses were phenomenal, but this (Peña’s) blew me away.”

The poem, as well as two others were put on display on a bulletin board on Truman’s 7th floor. They have been getting lots of attention from passers-by ever since.  Peña said he was proud to get his message out to the other students in the school.

“[People like to make fun of [the] deaf because they can’t speak.  That don’t matter, because they can talk sign language, and we can understand,” Peña added.  “Hearing people and [the] deaf- they can be good friends, no matter what.”

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