17.05.2023 | Authors: Azeneth García, Rosario Cardona, Mónica Zapata y Soledad Magnone
Para leer en español, cliquea aquí
On 20 March 2023, we participated in the new edition of the Mozilla Festival 2023 (MozFest), which year after year brings together artists, activists and specialists in open technologies with a common goal: to build a safer, healthier and more inclusive internet. Our intervention at the virtual festival was carried out in collaboration with De Aprendices Para Aprendices (DAPA, in English From Apprentices To Apprentices), Causas Digitales and JAAKLAC, and its purpose was to highlight the importance of creating tools that promote the inclusion of deaf people. The session, called “Signs for a Data Detox: Saga Latine”, took place in the Youth Zone, and was facilitated by Rosario Cardona, Monica Zapata, Azeneth Garcia, Viviana Forero and Soledad Magnone.
Why is it important?
In 2006 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD): “Recognising that disability is an evolving concept resulting from the interaction between persons with impairments [physical, mental, intellectual or sensory] and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”. Globally, 1 billion people (15%) have some form of disability, 85 million of whom live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
However, the full participation of people with disabilities in society is often overlooked. Legislation, programmes and research are needed to mitigate this situation. In Latin America and the Caribbean “one in five people living in extreme poverty has a disability and nearly seven out of 10 households with disabilities are vulnerable to falling into poverty”. This is affected by the lack or precariousness of employment and the existence of universalistic education systems that are not sensitive to different needs. Education has also failed to prioritise the need for socialisation in the same environment for people with and without disabilities. It is thus important to question how schools reproduce fragmentations that feed social inequalities.
From the session
This session was prompted after closing our second Saga Detox Data Detox Latine (SDDL) campaign. For our session at MozFest, we questioned the accessibility of these tools for the disability sector, focusing mainly on the deaf community. The SDDL focused on investigating issues of privacy, security and wellbeing in digital environments together with teenagers, young people, educational centres and civil society organisations. The campaign was supported by Tactical Tech to adapt their Data Detox Kit content into online workshops. With them we created character stories that spread the DDK and other recommendations through social media.
Since there is no participation of deaf people in the JAAKLAC and Causas Digitales teams, we invited organisations that support the deaf community, such as DAPA. We also invited deaf people organisations from different Latin American countries through the SDDL team organisations and independent searches. To make our session inclusive for this community, we thought of using the corresponding Sign Language of each country, and in addition to this, we created a protocol to enable participation through chat, camera or interpreter.
We started the session with the game “2 truths and 1 lie” to break the ice among the participants, which allowed us to make the space more enjoyable and give a greater sense of trust in the community. Participation was divided into three sections: 1. Presentation of the participants. 2. Information about the Latine Data Detox Saga. 3. Dialogue section on Digital Divide, which was led by Monica and Rosario.
Our objectives in the session were to achieve one or more of the following options: a. Adapt the SDDL stories for deaf people; b. Creating new stories with deaf people; and c. Develop recommendations on how to create campaigns, such as SDDL, that are inclusive of deaf people.
During the session, participants were given the freedom to choose their own approach to reflect on and analyse the digital divides faced by the deaf community. In this way, the aim was to encourage the active participation and the exchange of ideas in an inclusive and collaborative environment.
With the participants in the session, we initiated a discussion by asking them: “How do you think technologies influence your lives? In response, they indicated that they felt that technology has had an impact on their bodies, time and relationships, as it has revolutionised the way we communicate. After listening to their comments, we gave them the opportunity to respond freely to the following questions:
- How much do you know about the technologies and how well do you know how to use them?
- What is the gap between technologies and deaf people?
- Regarding the SDDL stories, how would you adapt them for deaf people?
- How to make digital campaigns or online workshops inclusive for deaf people?
- What would be the positive and negative aspects of doing face-to-face or online campaigns with deaf people?
Below, we share some of the findings based on conversations with MozFest workshop participants and DAPA to coordinate the activity:
a. The communication gap with deaf people: we were not able to convene the views of deaf people on the workshop topics, and those who participated knew hardly any person with hearing impairment. This reflects the great communication barrier that exists and affects our ability and resources to integrate with this community.
b. Digital technologies are a double-edged sword: from our perspective as hearing people, we think that deaf people use video-based social networks to communicate, such as TikTok, Youtube and Instagram, which allows them to express themselves better. However, deaf people who are illiterate or lack the resources to connect to the internet do not have the same opportunities for digital communication and expression.
c. There is a need to create content on the internet and tell stories from and for deaf people. This is imperative to build digital societies reflecting the realities, needs and strategies in digital environments, and to bring them closer to digital rights groups.
d. Hybrid formats represent opportunities for inclusive campaigning, for example, as face-to-face or online workshops supported by cameras and chats, in order to have equal opportunities to communicate with the deaf community and express ourselves freely.
e. In times of Artificial Intelligences, intelligence is defined by our ability to ask questions. We must not stop questioning how to be allies to deaf people (and with other disabilities). How does knowledge sharing with deaf people (and with other disabilities) promote more inclusive and safer digital societies?
At the end of the session, we were able to synthesise the voices from different parts of Latin America that seek real and tangible inclusion, where we reflect on the importance of taking measures to protect our data, as well as to communicate this information to more people, since knowledge only fulfils its function when it is shared.
In addition, we share some digital accessibility tools: https://www.w3.org/WAI/standards-guidelines/es | https://wikinclusion.org/
Call to action
Do you know or are you part of deaf youth organisations? We want to adapt stories and tell new ones. Contact us at jallalla (at) jaaklac (dot) org or share them on social media using the hashtag #CausasDigitales @CausasDigitales_LAC @hey.dapa @JAAKLAC
Register for a free or pay-what-you-can MozFest ticket and watch the recorded sessions. There are about 15 that were in Spanish. Is there a MozFest session in English that you would like to see subtitled in Spanish or another language? Write us an email telling us which one.
Discover Tactical Tech’s DDK and What The Future Wants exhibition. Organise an exhibition with your group, collective or school. Write to Tactical Tech for guidance if you need it and tag in networks to expand the community.