Since we were told by this hotel assistant manager, Jenny, that it was permissible to distribute the flyer outside only, not inside, so we followed the crowd walking toward out of the building during a lunch break. As my daughter, Brianna, and I walked to the curbside where the participants were loading on a bus, we saw Rachelle tussling with Jenny who attempted to swipe the flyer out of her hands. We then walked briskly to the sidewalk area thinking that it would be better since we were not on the premises. As we passed out the flyer, some individuals happily accepted it and some declined. What I noticed was those who declined tend to be well dressed white women.
One thing I wanted to add (that was not included in my video clip) was that when I approached to a Puerto Rico woman, her eyes lit when she saw the word bilingual. She gave her thumbs up.
Before I know it, this Jenny snatched several pieces of flyer from Brianna then from me. I confronted her that we are not breaking the policy as we are outside on a sidewalk. She said, "No! This is MY property!" She then shredded the paper into pieces and walked away from our location babbling to herself.
A few hours later, Brianna and I had down time where she was able to review what happened earlier. She expressed how scared she was and mentioned that Jenny scratched her hand. I said,"WHAT ? " had I known this earlier, my reaction would be totally different. I didn't even realize my daughter was intimated and scared by Jenny who conducted unprofessional, unreasonable reaction. It was suspected that Jenny was ordered by AG Bell leaders to confront with us. I felt furious and dismayed making my daughter a victim. She had no right to scratch my daughter and make her scared.
This transcript was composed by two people, Jenny Cantrell and Brian Riley who graciously offered their transcription services.
((Footage of Raychelle Harris being accosted by the hotel manager))
We’re outside!… (after the manager leaves) whoa.
We were outside the hotel and I could pass out our flyers. Hey, it’s a free country, right? No problem there. I was outside and conference attendees passed me on both sides as they were leaving the building. I passed out the flyers with a smile on my face and people took the flyers, seeming to accept them just fine. I kept passing them out as people walked out past me and it was peaceful. Suddenly, much to my shock, the manager was in my face, a woman with shoulder-length hair, approached me and seized my flyers. It happened so fast. She forcefully grabbed the flyers. I was holding them as she tried to pull them out of my hands. She was trying to speak to me while tugging and yanking on the flyers. She suddenly let go and walked away. WHOA. I, stunned, couldn’t help but WONDER… would she do this to hearing protesters? I mean, she might approach hearing protesters and talk to them. But would she actually grab onto flyers in an attempt to confiscate them? Would she rip them, like she actually did to someone else?
I was walking outside and I looked over and noticed something happening — I saw Raychelle’s tussle with the security guard, the very same security guard, um, manager, named Jenny. After the struggle ended, I told my daughter to come along with me to the sidewalk area, because I remembered very clearly that this was specifically where we were permitted to distribute flyers. We, happily, were right by the bus area where conference attendees were lined up to board. We seized the opportunity to pass our flyers out to the people in line. My daughter and I were passing out flyers peacefully. Everything seemed to be going fine. But then wouldn’t you know it? All of a sudden, the woman came up to us the minute she saw us, Jenny I mean, and GRABBED the flyers from my daughter’s hands. My eyes flew to the manager. She then snatched the flyers from mine and I was so confused and stunned. This was totally unexpected and it happened so fast. She just came up from behind and yanked them from us. Bewildered, I said, “Wait, what are you doing? What are we doing wrong? We’re here on the sidewalk area.” She said, “No, this is my property! You all just get out! You’re not allowed!” And the she began ripping up all our flyers! I couldn’t believe what was happening. I just felt that she completely shut us out. There was no attempt to discuss it with me or try to initiate a dialogue. NONE. She totally jumped the gun by snatching the flyers from my daughter, confusing her and me too. Then, as we were still reeling from what had just happened, she just up and left without finishing the discussion. She walked away like this very angry woman, just walking around like that. You can see how crazed she looks on the video. That’s evidence.
I pondered the recent events. Later on, yes, I was still stunned. I talked it over with my daughter to make sure she was all right. We discussed feelings at length, and she shared that she was stunned and afraid. This went on for a while. Some time passed after that discussion. But it wasn’t until only one hour ago that she finally shared something, y’know, during quiet time, just the two of us bonding and sharing. My daughter told me, “That woman scratched my hand.” I was like WHAT??? A SCRATCH? If I had known this in the first place, I would have reacted much differently at the time. With the knowledge that she TOUCHED her, I became furious, unhappy, and heartbroken. It grieved me to think of what that woman did to my daughter. What will my daughter think? Will she hate this hotel and hearing people because one treated her this way? This was so completely unnecessary. She should have approached me first in a calm manner and talked it over with me, not simply grab and yank the flyers out of our hands. I was actually following their policies! This just threw me off and she was trying to be mean and squash us. When my daughter told me all this, I put my own feelings on hold and focused on supporting her. I’m feeling down and I’m grieving. These feelings will fade with time, but at the same time, I will do something! I will have to. I’ll write letters, tell others my story, let it out. And all of you can add your own contributions to the effort. The process will gain momentum. What right do they have to do that? Scratch into her hand like that? Is that right for them to do that? No!
Today I was at the AG Bell convention. We were in a group, passing out flyers to people. Everything was fine when I saw Raychelle trying to keep her flyers from the woman. I watched, shocked. We walked fast to the sidewalk. It would be better. I was just passing them out with my mom. We were just passing them out when I saw; I had no idea, the manager, behind my back, grabbed my hand and scratched it. It hurt. Ow. I watched her grab my mom’s papers. I watched, scared. She grabbed the my papers out of my hands and then ripped them up into pieces! I felt really scared. I watched, uh-oh. What’s wrong with her?
From Amy Cohen Efron:
The morale of this story: Deaf people uses our hands to communicate, and we desire that all Hearing people to use THEIR hands to communicate with us. We do not tolerate having THEIR hands to control us, by touching, pushing, snatching, hitting, grabbing, but not using their hands to communicate.
Why cannot people just try to use their hands to communicate, instead of using them on us?
That is a very serious communication breakdown, but sad, very… very… common for us to be controlled by their hands all of the time.
The irony is… hearing babies are encouraged to use their hands to communicate before they can speak. Deaf babies are not allowed, and will not…
Think about this.