So the Interpreting Agency responded to Melissa’s request about trilingual interpreters. I posted about this yesterday. They responded. I cut and pasted their response at the bottom of this post. But I took issue with one line in particular. “Therefore, my committment to support the ADA, means that I must also support our commitment to equal opportunity.”
Jerk move. You know how we might interpret that line? Allow me.
If you want us to support disability access and rights to full linguistic access then you must allow me to uphold whiteness and white supremacy under the guise of “equality.” That was a jerk move.
One set of rights shouldn’t mean we have to give up another set of rights e.g. linguistic access at the cost of cultural access or racial equity.
The following is from Melissa’s post on Facebook.
“Melissa Elmíra Yingst This is the latest. Sigh. We truly appreciate everyone chiming in. We have gone back and forth all day.
Socorro y Melissa,
It is my hope that you will have a wonderful presentation tomorrow. We have honored your request by providing you with female, trilingual interpreters that are of color, for the duration of your presentation. I believe it is your intent to incorporate these interpreters into your presentation.
As for your request to change the assignment of the other sign language interpreters based on gender and ethnicity, I cannot do so. UTEP is a public institution that has a commitment to support equal opportunity in all aspects of campus life. I believe the professional organization that is co-sponsoring the Summer Institute also has a similar obligation. I have also been told that men and women that are not of color, are already utilized in other aspects of this conference. Therefore, the use of the ASL Interpreters that are already scheduled for the duration of the conference helps to fulfill the University’s commitment of promoting diversity and inclusion.
If you are interested in understanding this point further, I have attached the equal opportunity statement for the University:
The University of Texas at El Paso is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Employer. The University is committed to providing equal opportunity to all employees and individuals seeking employment or access to its programs, facilities or services, and will not discriminate against these persons on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In addition to this commitment, the University will take affirmative steps to insure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated, during all aspects of employment, in a non-discriminatory manner.
My office typically addresses issues associated with disability, but we must also support the University’s commitment to equal opportunity. Therefore, my committment to support the ADA, means that I must also support our commitment to equal opportunity.
I do hope that you will have a great experience while you are here. I also appreciate your raising these issues for my attention.
Good luck with your presentation!”