Dear Alexander Graham Bell Community,
I am sitting here in Washington, DC, watching the rain fall, after coming back from celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s contribution to the advancement of American society. Monday was the beginning of a very hectic albeit momentous week in our nation's capital. This Friday, the 45th President of the United States will take the oath of office. At AG Bell, we will be working and watching from home as access to the city is almost impossible due to many street closures.

The beauty and power of our democratic system is showcased every four years when the people vote to choose a president to lead our nation. Most impactful is that this is a peaceful transition of power.

We owe the founders of this country our deep gratitude for ensuring that each of us has the right of free speech and free assembly. Proof of the power of one person voicing their opinion and calling others to action is this Saturday's Women's March. It was one Facebook post that has inspired, in just two months, thousands upon thousands of women from all over the country to march into Washington this weekend. Not only that, but in myriad cities across the United States women will also be marching at the same time. Their purpose is to stand together to ensure that women's rights are protected because "women's rights are human rights." According to the website, the marchers "stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us."

Which leads me to thinking about AG Bell. Our parents and our professionals want to make sure that children who are born deaf or hard of hearing have their voices heard. Simply, they don't want our children to be marginalized. With this in mind, AG Bell has developed resources such as our Parent Advocacy Training and our Ask the Expert resource. These tools enable parents to use their voice to protect and advocate for the rights of their children to have all they deserve which is often overlooked .

One of our greatest tools for defending the rights of children and educating parents, giving them access to people who are on the same journey, and to the professional support they need, is state chapters. AG Bell Chapters have now expanded to 31 states, and their leaders will join in a Chapter Leaders Meeting this Thursday evening. We will roll out our Healthy Chapters Program, which I will talk about in a future column. Just like those organizing the Women's March, our chapters are led by passionate, committed individuals who organize members to not only defend our children's rights but also enable their voices to be heard. If you do not have a chapter in your state and wish to empower your neighbors, consider forming an AG Bell chapter. All it takes is passion for the cause, your talent and some of your time. You can start by reaching out to chapters@agbell.org and we will help you to organize and grow a state chapter.
Inauguration preparations underway at the U.S. Capitol
As always, I am willing to listen to your voice and relay your message via the many communication tools we have at AG Bell such as Facebook, TwitterLinkedIn, eNews, Volta Voices, and of course, this column.

I leave you with the words of Margaret Mead, who said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Until next week,
Emilio EAM signature blue transparent 
Emilio Alonso-Mendoza

 

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?"

Martin Luther King, Jr.