Following are the position statements regarding the Deaf-Parented Member-at-Large Bylaws Referendum from the following (scroll below for each statement):

RID Board of Directors
Deaf Caucus
Interpreters with Deaf Parents (IDP) Member Section

RID Board of Directors:

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Position: The Board of Directors supports the inclusion of all perspectives and experiences at all levels of the organization; national, regional, state and local. Further, the Board  believes that the structure of the Board of Directors should be explored to ensure that the composition serves the needs of the organization. The Board of Directors will support the decision of the members on the DP MAL referendum.

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Deaf Caucus:

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Position: Deaf Caucus is in support of this referendum regarding having a Deaf Parented Member-at-large on the RID Board.

Rationale:

  1. The Deaf Parented Member-at-Large would represent the distinct set of formative experiences. Deaf parented interpreters come from various family backgrounds, Codas and Deaf of Deaf with one deaf parent, both Deaf parents, all Deaf families, a mixture of Deaf and Coda families, and DeafBlind parent(s).  Early experiences of exposure to American Sign Language and a wide variety of other communication forms used by Deaf people through life-long interactions with family, friends and the community provides the necessary brokering skills needed on the national RID board.
  2. Deaf parented interpreters come from diverse backgrounds and personal experiences of discrimination, oppression, and frustration with lack of access to communication and information experienced by Deaf family members.  Thus, the Deaf Parented Member-at-Large would enhance the ability to recognize and negotiate cultural behaviors, values, and mores within the hearing and Deaf membership of RID and the people RID serves.
  3. Members with diverse ethnic backgrounds are also from Deaf parented families. Having a Deaf Parented MAL representative would allow additional perspectives from these members and alleviate discrimination from the interpreting field within the contexts of a multicultural and multilingual environment.  Particularly, there are trilingual interpreters who are Deaf Parented Interpreters and their perspectives can be included.
  4. Young children of Deaf adults are often overlooked as consumers of sign language interpreting services.  So much so, that such consumers are not mentioned in any of the RID Standard Practice Papers.  A guaranteed representative that is a Deaf parented interpreter on the RID board will enhance the presence and awareness of such consumers.
  5. Deaf Parented Interpreters (DPI) are under represented on RID National Board. Currently, there is one position titled, Deaf Member-at-Large, making that position only 10% of the board who are Deaf. Even though other positions on board are open to both Deaf and Deaf Parented members, there is no guarantee that they will be voted into the Board. The Deaf Parented Interpreter Member-at-Large position would bring more balance and representation to the board.  With both the Deaf MAL and DPI MAL positions, it would assure a 20% Deaf World representation on the board at all times.

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Interpreters with Deaf Parents Member Section:

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Position: IDP is in full support of this vote.

Rationale:

  1. The Member-at-Large would represent the perspective of those whose lives are shaped from formative years by the Deaf community. The Board position would also be recognition of the founding members from Deaf family backgrounds that contributed to the development of the role of professional interpreter. Additionally, this position will continue the Deaf-centric ties and values that are the cornerstone of this organization.
  2. Deaf parented interpreters came to the profession of sign language interpreter from similar foundational experiences. The social norms and attitudes of their Deaf families and communities were internalized in early childhood and adolescence. Deaf parented interpreters often experience, in one form or another, the economic and social inequities of their immediate and extended family members who were Deaf. As Deaf culture is marginalized, many of the the cultural norms and values fall out from this shared experience of marginalization. Growing up with a Deaf parent or parents has created a collective firsthand experience of the tensions due to asymmetrical relations between hearing (the dominant) and Deaf culture. The instinctive role of cultural mediator, whether expected or not by parents, is inherent for some, if not most of those who have grown up with these formative experiences.
  3. Deaf parented interpreters come from a multitude of diverse backgrounds. This Member-at-Large position provides committed opportunity and outcomes for the multilingual and multicultural make up of Deaf parented interpreters within RID.
  4. As the RID Board of Directors acts as direct liaisons to member sections, committees and advisory councils, a Deaf Parented Member-at-Large has had life long experiences of collaborating with and navigating within bilingual groups. This ambassadorship is innate to the Deaf Parented interpreter, thus another benefit for the Board of Directors and the membership.
  5. A Deaf parented interpreter on the RID Board of Directors is aware of and can attest to to the gaps in academia for Deaf parented interpreting students and native frame of reference within our field. A position on the board will exercise this knowledge and experience to its greatest utility.
  6. Deaf parented interpreters are key stakeholders, both personally and professionally, by each decision made by RID. By our existence we are fully invested in the development and standards that uphold RID’s mission. The resource and guidance from a Deaf parented interpreter can only strengthen RID’s vision.
  7. This Member-at-Large position will be groundbreaking for this organization. For all of the above mentioned reasons, Deaf parented interpreters can make a unique and valuable contribution to the board of directions within RID; yet historically have not been recognized by the larger organization. RID has yet to count native Deaf parented values within research, statistics, or organizational demographics. Recognition of this Member-at-Large is the turning point for such change.