Northern California RID Chapter Update:
NorCRID enters the new year with gusto for productivity ahead and looks back in gratitude to our Region V sister chapters who inspire us and to LaVona Andrew, our Region V Rep, who leads us. We congratulate Shane Feldman on his new post and look forward to his leadership. We have invited Mr. Feldman to an important event in our community on March 16th, when we will hold a panel discussion of ASL interpreting agencies at the Deaf Community Center in San Leandro, California. The panel is part of a series and an extended project, in collaboration with our local Deaf organization, DCARA (Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency), examining the quality of interpreting services that agencies provide.
Because the issue of spoken language interpreting agencies providing ASL services has received such growing concern and impact nationwide, we will take this opportunity to update the RID e-News readership of efforts here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The description below is written by one of the key organizers, Robin Mills.
NorCRID-DCARA Joint Project: Agencies Providing ASL Interpreting Services
This project evolved out of conversations that had been occurring in the interpreting and Deaf communities. In 2012, Jim Brune, executive director of DCARA, and Robin Mills began organizing an effort. It has become a joint project between NorCRID and DCARA.
This as a multi-phase project that will build on the knowledge gained at each phase. It is an iterative process that will develop as information unfolds. Currently, the project is organized by Robin Mills, Jim Brune, Kendra Keller and Terri Manning. We plan to convene a committee or task force in a couple of months once we reach the later phase of this project. The most effective approach to the issue for the long run is to first investigate what is happening in the field, rather than acting on assumptions. Our first steps involve information gathering. We are currently in the information gathering phase of this project. Once information has been collected, we will identify the key issues impacting the provision of ASL interpreting services and determine appropriate and logical steps to be taken.
The information gathering that has occurred, and will occur is as follows.
1. Survey: A survey was developed by Jim Brune, Robin Mills, Charlotte Toothman and Aaron Brace and was distributed to members of NorCRID. The survey was intended to ascertain what experiences ASL interpreters have had working with Spoken Language Agencies (SLAs). The survey was distributed on Survey Monkey. Notification went out via an email to all NorCRID members and postings were placed on FaceBook. We received a 30% response rate.
[Participants: ASL interpreters-Deaf and Hearing]
2. Community Forum: The results of the survey were compiled and presented at the June 10, 2012 Community Forum at the Deaf Community Center. The forum was hosted by NorCRID and sponsored by DCARA. The intention of the forum was to increase awareness in the community about SLAs acquiring more and more sign language interpreting service contracts and provide a space for the community to come together, dialogue and brainstorm solutions. Jim Brune and Charlotte Toothman presented the results of the survey and then divided the participants into small break-out groups for the second part of the information gathering phase. Each group had a facilitator and a set of questions. Participants engaged in discussions about improving the quality of services provided by agencies (both SLAs and Sign Language Agencies). Both ASL interpreters and Deaf community members were invited to and attended the forum. Notes from the discussions were compiled and distributed via the NorCRID newsletter and posted on the NorCRID website, www.norcrid.org.
[Participants: ASL interpreters (Deaf and hearing), Sign Language interpreter referral agencies, Deaf community members]
3. The 2012 NorCRID Conference: The third part of the information gathering phase occurred at the NorCRID Conference November 2012. Invitations were sent to more than 30 Deaf community members, inviting them to be part of the process. Shawn Broderick led a session describing a task force that was developed in Washington State to address a similar issue. Kendra Keller then led the attendees in small group discussions, to gather ideas and feedback on the impact on interpreters and the Deaf community and to help guide a prospective position statement. A summary document collecting notes from the group discussions is available upon request.
[Participants: ASL interpreters, DIs, Deaf community members]
4. Spoken Language Agency Panel: The fourth part of the information gathering phase is a panel of Spoken Language Interpreting Agencies, January 26, 2013 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Deaf Community Center. This is an opportunity for us to meet some of the local SLAs and for them to meet us. A series of questions were developed and reviewed by Jim Brune, Kendra Keller, Robin Mills, Terri Manning and Aaron Brace. Jim Brune will moderate, followed by questions from the audience.
[Participants: ASL interpreters (Deaf and hearing), Deaf community members, SLAs]
5. Sign Language Interpreting Agency Panel: The fifth part of the information gathering phase will be a panel of Sign Language Interpreting Agencies. It is to be held on March 16, 2013 from 1-4pm in San Leandro, California, at the Deaf Community Center. RID’s new executive director Shane Feldman will be in attendance.
[Participants: ASL interpreters (Deaf and hearing), Deaf community members, Sign language Agencies]
The efforts outlined above represent our attempt to engage the many stakeholders involved to hear all sides of the issue. We are careful to include not only input from the interpreting and Deaf communities, but also from Spoken and Sign Language agencies. At the completion of the information collection phase, we plan to convene a committee to review the information gathered from the survey and the forum series, identify key issues, and set a plan for further steps. These steps could include (but are not limited to) a position paper which can be distributed, a task force to address issues uncovered, committees to work on factors uncovered. These will be determined once we have a clearer picture of the issues. Ultimately, our goal is to develop concrete and actionable steps to improve the quality of ASL interpreting services in the Bay Area.
Hawaii RID Chapter Update:
On Saturday, February 2, 2013 the Hawaii Deaf community learned that the only independent living center in Hawaii that caters to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals, as well as the major interpreter referral service center in Hawaii will have their funding cut on June 30, 2013. This was a huge shock and blow to the Deaf Community and an enormous uproar arose when the community found out that this information should have been announced many months ago. Because of the short notice the community quickly banded together to find a plan of action in order to keep these two Deaf services operational.
The next day on Sunday, February 3, community members including locally certified interpreters, members of the Aloha State Association of the Deaf (ASAD), Hawaii RID, and other interested parties, gathered together to discuss a plan. They arranged for a community meeting on Monday night at the Hawaii School of the Deaf and Blind in Honolulu.
Monday night, February 4, the community came together to learn about what caused the funding cuts and what our plan of action was. One of the action plans was to submit testimony for a bill regarding a Community Service Center for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf Blind people. This bill was set to be heard the following morning at the State Capital and if this bill passed there was a chance that the Community Service Center, once established, would be able to provide funding for both independent living and interpreter referral services.
Several members of the community, that evening, brought laptops and we helped each other type out testimony in support of this bill. Another group of people created eye-catching signs communicating our concerns to the legislature.
In the morning we met at the State Capital to stand on our testimony and hold up signs showing that cutting Deaf services would be a lose-lose for the entire community. It was a powerful moment. The legislative committee was in session and going through each bill one by one. About 20 members of the Deaf community were present in a small room of about 30 people. When our bill was on the table each Deaf community members in the back of the room humbly stood and held up signs silently screaming to be heard.
The week ended with a rally at the State Capital. On Friday, February 8, we congregated in front of the Department of Human Services, which is the funding source for Deaf services, and then peacefully marched to the State Capital holding signs, beating drums, and waving at the passerby’s. All together, over 100 Deaf community members came out to support the rally. The media was present and we made the local news that evening. It was a huge success.
Since the rally it has been quiet. We are still waiting to find out if alternative funding can be found to keep these two Deaf services operational.
All photos courtesy of Carol Nakamoto
KITV News Report covering the rally at the State Capital:
YouTube Video published by DeafTVHawaii shows the rally in front of the Department of Human Services and the march to the State Capital:
Idaho RID Chapter Update:
A Time to Celebrate
As RID prepares to celebrate 50 years this August in Indianapolis, IdahoRID just concluded our 40th anniversary celebration event April 5-6, 2013. We were thrilled with the turnout: for the Mr. Shineyhead (Patrick Fischer of Portland, Oregon) performance, we had about 170 in the audience; for the awards banquet, we sold out at 114 seats; and about 135 attended the all-day Patrick Fischer workshop and membership meeting. These record-breaking numbers were a testament to the brilliant work of the planning committee, the fantastic contributions of over ten sponsors (including platinum sponsor Network Interpreting Service), and a wonderful partnership with College of Southern Idaho’s United Signers Club and their advisor, Dawnette Reis.
Our ceremony honored seven award recipients:
Excellence in Educational Interpreting, Cynthia Elias
Excellence in Medical Interpreting, “SGS” Steven G. Stubbs
Giving by Acting, Heather Fultz
Giving by Acting, LaVona Andrew
Sister Organization of Distinction, Idaho Educational Services for the Deaf and the Blind
Sister Organization of Distinction, Idaho Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Lifetime Achievement Award, Ann Flannery
We were honored with the presence of Jim Palmer – the founding President from 1973, and his lovely interpreter wife Sheila, who has also been a huge boon to Idaho interpreters over the years. The weekend’s events were highly attended by the Deaf community, and incorporated the talents of photographer Valerie Whitney, and emcees Davina and Steve Snow. Additionally, the Fundraising Committee’s current initiative is IESDB’s Sawtooth Deaf Camp, for which the silent auction earned an astounding $2,119 in one day. Fundraising Chair Shannon Stowe and her team did a fantastic job with the silent auction, with boosted sales by the Technology Committee using square.com credit card processing .
The entire weekend netted $1,965.72 for IdahoRID, due greatly in part to fantastic cosponsors, vital collaboration with the Deaf community, and brilliant planning. What started April 28, 1973 is every stronger today. For that, we celebrate.
From left to right: Steven G Stubbs, Holly Thomas-Mowery, LaVona Andrew, Ann Flannery, Cynthia Elias, Brian Darcy, Heather Fultz, and Steve Snow
IdahoRID President Holly Thomas-Mowery with Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Ann Flannery