The RID sent out an announcement in February explaining the new CEO/COO structure. What they envisioned the roles to be. I’m going to take their words in that e-mail apart. The RID excerpts are in quotation marks.
“The CEO, by contrast, is outward-facing. Their primary job is to increase the visibility and relevancy of RID within the community – “community” is an all-encompassing term, including the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing community, the interpreting community, the disability community, and the rest of the world. Every interpreter facilitates communication between two or more people, and the “communities we serve” include both sides of the conversation.”
Within the community? Someone who is tangentially involved, if at all, with the Deaf* community? Versus someone who is Deaf* and interacts with many parts of the Deaf* community. Hmm.
The interpreting community. Ah. yes. Someone who moonlighted for a brief period in 2008 versus someone who has used interpreters for her entire life and has worked in interpreting for 18 years. Hmm. Again.
The disability community. I can tell you disability justice activists will all agree that a disabled person (in our case, Deaf*) should be leading, representing, governing the organization- from the CEO to the COO to the entire Board of the RID. Go take a gander at disability activist blogs, Twitter, Facebook groups, creative performances, and scholars. Should we go rouse disability activists? That would be fun. There’s a thought for us. And by the by: “the” disability community? Don’t treat disability as a monolith.
The rest of the world. Ah yes. I guess they mean people that know nothing about Deaf* people, our lives, or disability. And we should have a hearing person with the barest understanding of interpreting act as an advocate, explainer in chief, educator, and organizer for the profession. To be “the face” of the profession- and for a lot of “the rest of the world,” that translates into being “the face of the Deaf* community.” That makes sense to me. Lordy.
The RID post again: “The CEO’s job is to tell stories. They sell the vision of an accessible world for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing people who use interpreters in all situations, from births to funerals and everything in between.”
Oh yes. Who better qualified to tell our stories but a Deaf* person? Otherwise, shall we peddle pity while we are at it? Who better qualified to discuss the value of interpreters but those of us who experience firsthand what happens when we have/don’t have interpreters? Or unqualified interpreters? Or uncertified interpreters?
RID Post again: “The CEO is also the Chief Advocate for RID. They are the person that “shows up,” leading communities to celebrate when success occurs, and guiding uncomfortable conversations when accessibility does not happen.”
Who would be the biggest advocate for interpreting, access, and professional quality but a Deaf* person who has used interpreters their entire life? Who would be the best advocate for our own access, our rights, our needs? Who has the best expertise on our experiences when accessibility doesn’t happen? Who should be speaking for us? Deaf* people. Back to disability activism.
Back to the RID Post: “The RID Board of Directors is excited about this change, as it is a direct result of members’ strategic planning recommendations from the Salt Lake City Conference last summer. We see it as a necessary evolution in our pursuit of excellence, and a wonderful opportunity for RID’s continued growth of service.”
This reminds me of what the chairperson of the Gallaudet Board of Trustees said back in 1988 about deaf people not being ready to lead Gallaudet University because deaf people were not ready to function in the hearing world yet. There’s video of that out there on the internet.
RID. Looks like you missed your shot. By a million miles.
RID, You remain stuck in 1988.