NAD Miss Deaf America Rachel Mazique was representing the Deaf community and individuals (Deaf, Hard of Hearing & Deaf-Blind) by signing the National Anthem and "America is Beautiful" songs at Super Bowl 2012.
She was not shown on TV at all and there was no exposure of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. Millions of people had the opportunity to see the songs signed beautifully by a young Deaf woman who had a genuine intention of nothing but getting the message across that Deaf people can do anything.
This moment has passed by and it never can be redone again. The opportunity is gone. Young children and adults from all over the world missed the chance of seeing that Deaf people like Ms. Mazique can be successful in the real world and barriers can be broken. NBC (and anyone else involved) chose to put up those barriers by not portraying Ms. Mazique & kept her out of the spotlight.
Ms. Mazique has been working hard to make a difference in the Deaf community by doing small & big accomplishments. She already has her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. Ms. Mazique is a very intelligent person who knew that if she was shown on national television to 165 different countries across the world, it would send a message that Deaf people are capable of being successful and that sign language is beautiful. We are not disabled and we are to be treated equally to hearing people.
This action by NBC (and anyone else) clearly shows that they did not think Ms. Mazique was good enough to be shown on TV even if she was signing the exactly same song that Kelly Clarkson was singing. Ms. Mazique was 'hidden' from the spotlight and this message speaks loudly of what NBC thinks of Deaf individuals.
Please sign this petition and share it with your family members, friends, co-workers, and anyone else that would sign this. Spread the word of what NBC did to Miss Deaf America and how NBC decided to shun the Deaf community. This is unacceptable and our voices will not be silent; we will be HEARD!
Let’s make a difference on national television that Deaf people no longer need to be ‘hidden’. Make our voices heard to NBC (and anyone else involved) that they made a poor decision of leaving out Miss Deaf America from national television. This needs to stop!
Statements from Ms. Rachel Mazique removed from Miss Deaf America Ambassador Program's Facebook Page. They were posted before this petition was started; to clarify, the statements are not originally for this petition:
"To my family, friends, fans, supporters: Thank you for rooting for me. I'm as disappointed as you are that American Sign Language gained no exposure. ASL was also not shown on the JumboTron inside the stadium--as far as I know. I have poor quality videos of me signing...blurry...signs and face cut off at some points.. shaky film because my mom was being pushed around on the sidelines...not sure if they are worth posting.."
"I am so sorry you didn't get the chance to see me on TV and I thank you all for your support and excitement. I'm re-posting this from someone's comment on my status: "Post your videos! And I got this off someone else's status: Found this email address in case you are interested in writing NBC regarding Rachel Mazique not being shown in the pre-game: firstname.lastname@example.org." Some are also tweeting to NBC. If enough people in the general public express their disappointment, next year's performer should get air time."
To Whom It May Concern:
The purpose of this petition is that we want a genuine and public apology from NBC, NFL Commissioner, and anyone else involved in this decision of not showing NAD Miss Deaf America Rachel Mazique on national television. We would also like to have a promise of a better effort for having future Deaf performers be displayed on national television during the future Super Bowl games.
This is not about feelings being hurt. This is not about fame. This is not about throwing a fit over not being featured on television. Our main goal of this movement and petition is that we simply want you to treat us equally and to show respect to our community.
To clarify what we mean by ‘Deaf’, this is a shorter way of including everyone who is Deaf, hard of hearing, and/or Deaf-Blind regardless of background or method of communication used. So if you combine all of those people, you will see that we are a big community with a rich culture, history and our own language that is called American Sign Language (ASL). We are American citizens and equal to hearing people, even if we have experienced oppression for hundreds of years.
Ms. Mazique was nowhere near singer Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, and Blake Shelton for the National Anthem and “America is Beautiful” songs at the Super Bowl 2012. Ms. Mazique had to leave right away after she did both songs in ASL and when the Deaf community found out about this treatment, we were stunned and outraged of what you did to Ms. Mazique. It was a big embarrassment and insult to the Deaf community because it left us feeling like you did not consider Ms. Mazique to be equally important as the other hearing singers are. It was a slap in our faces when we found out what happened and we want this to never repeat again.
We have support from hearing people who believe in this movement; signatures and comments have been pouring in from all over the world and they are outraged as well. Some examples of those supporters are hearing parents of deaf children. Numerous of parents and teachers have left comments on our petition about how they were very disappointed because they wanted their children and students to see a Deaf role model on national television to show that Deaf people can accomplish anything and that barriers can be broken down.
But instead, what they saw were barriers being put up again with Ms. Mazique not shown on national television and they had to somehow explain why this happened to the confused and disappointed Deaf children. What kind of message is this sending to our future generation(s) of children? That Deaf people ‘cannot’ be seen equally to hearing people? That a role model like our current Miss Deaf America is not considered good enough as famous hearing singers are? Not everyone becomes a Miss Deaf America, so what else is considered to be good enough as being a famous singer?
Things are very different now than in the past with television system; it is not difficult to somehow find a way to make sure that our Miss Deaf America could have been shown on national television such as in a ‘bubble’ during the entire song. We do not understand how it could have been a ‘mistake’ because there was no mistake about filming singers Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton on national television.
It is not ‘distracting’ to most people if Miss Deaf America was standing near singer Kelly Clarkson during the National Anthem song. Many people would find it fascinating to see the song done in sign language because it is very visible with how the hands are used to form and shape words to express what is being said in the song. It would have been a beautiful performance for all of us to enjoy.
Ms. Mazique’s goal with doing National Anthem and “America is Beautiful” was to show that Deaf people are not ‘disabled’ and that we can do anything because Ms. Mazique knew that the Super Bowl was going to be shown to 165 different countries all over the world in many places where Deaf people experience oppression. But this did not happen and the opportunity is gone. What happened is that Ms. Mazique experienced oppression herself as a Deaf individual regardless of how hard she has worked in her life to make a difference in the hearing world.
We hope that you will reconsider your decision of not allowing our Miss Deaf America on national television and make sure that this never happens again with future Deaf individuals.