Doing the Oppressor's Work For Them, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Hiring and the inHumanity of the RID

All right. So Branton Stewart has been going around complaining about how upset he was that Sheneman announced she didn’t get the job before the RID was ready to announce their CEO choice.

Own The Bed You Made, RID.

You dangled the two candidates in front of your membership for feedback. Your idea might have been to engage the membership and excite them about new leadership for the RID. That didn’t seem to work, though, given the results and misunderstandings surrounding the “survey/vote.”

But it did excite deaf people. It built momentum. It built expectations.

Then You Made It Worse. By announcing on April 30 that you had made your choice. So everyone knew. That meant Sheneman must know either way- that she had the job or that she didn’t. Can you imagine how many people asked? The frenzy, the curiosity, the excitement that deaf people would have representation…and how that builds up over time.

And You. Dragged. It. Out.

Yeah. background checks, salary and contract negotiations with Joey, etc. Maybe you should have thought of that first before using Candidate #2 as a token. Or as a tool to excite your membership. Or make more money on membership fees. Whatever.

If you were human, if you had heart, you would have made the announcement as to your final choice much sooner. In fact, you should have done so as soon as you told her she didn’t have the job.

When you get pissed off at Sheneman for remaining silent for four weeks through a barrage of questions without recognizing A) how you set up that situation yourselves from the design of the interview process to your dangling cliffhanger announcement on April 30 to your failure to be able to announce Joey as the CEO immediately upon informing Sheneman and B) without recognizing the emotional effect of having to maintain a facade of “everything’s ok” and smiling at every person who says you’re a shoo-in for a entire month is a pretty fucking difficult task and is in fact commendable, then

You. Have. No. Humanity.

Here’s a public relations tip for next time. “We are close to a decision.” Close would have been true. The final decision is made when the background checks are done and ink on contracts are dry. Close is a very tiny little word that would have spared everyone a lot of pain and embarrassment.

And it makes you seem more thoughtful and deliberative. Taking two weeks instead of two days to make such a significant decision for an organization that’s struggling.

Words matter. Nuance matters.

Stop whining and start taking responsibility for your decisions. This is what happens when you treat hiring like a reality show.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Where’s the Proof ?

Melvin and the RID Board:

You clarified the search process in your video. What is in dispute is:

Did you contact the Councils and collect their feedback on the two finalists?

They claim they were contacted for feedback on the process but not on the two finalists.

They can’t prove an e-mail or survey that does not exist.

If you sent such an email or survey, you can easily prove that it exists and you made a good effort to reach out to them. Can you show us the goods?

P.S. Only 1,500+ out of 16k~ members contributed feedback on the two finalists? Looks like you have a lot of engaging to do. This isn’t the best of starts.


Allyship and Centering Deaf People, Disempowerment, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

Can We Trust The RID ?

Bill Millios gave a great presentation at Street Leverage St. Paul. [Hey Bill. Hope sailing cures what’s ailing you. Heard you had a rough week at the office.]

The main point of his video was conscious vulnerability. Here’s a few of my favorites from Bill.

BM: “As a result of that introspection, I came to the realization that every previous time I had worked with an interpreter, I had made a decision to have that interpreter there. It was my decision to allow them into my life, my workspace, to work with me.”

BM: “So, my questions for interpreters are, “Do you recognize the impact you have on the lives of Deaf people? Do you realize the access you have to another person’s life? Have you as individuals ever consciously made yourself vulnerable to that degree? Have you ever put your lives in someone else’s hands, like Deaf people do every day? Have you ever had to trust someone as much as we trust our interpreters?”

Bill’s response to the trust question is certification. [Or being subject to some sort of gatekeeping.]

Exactly, Bill. Interpreting is a profession that demands vulnerability. To overcome that vulnerability, we have to have trust. Especially when we don’t have a choice. Trusting the interpreter means we have to trust their training, trust their certification processes, trust the professional organization that is responsible for their professional development, certification, ethical standards, and professional standards.

I pose this question: who do we trust most to advance the interests of Deaf people? Who do Deaf* people trust with oversight of interpreter training and education, certification, ethical practices and code of conduct, and standards for the field?

Bill makes more great points in his presentation about gratitude, vulnerability, and the Deaf Ecosystem. All three points are points the RID board should revisit. Bill also mentions the value of working with our interpreters. Deaf people must be part of the team and must be part of the process.

He is not the first person or the only person to argue this. Tom Holcomb did too, and you can see his presentation, Engaging the Disengaged. Trudy Suggs did an amazing talk on deaf disempowerment and has written good posts on this subject.

The RID clearly wasn’t paying attention to Street Leverage and to the Deaf* people speaking about how and why interpreters need to work with Deaf people from Deaf perspectives.

There’s a new book out edited by Thomas K. Holcomb and David H. Smith called Deaf Eyes on Interpreting. Gallaudet University Press has the book for sale. Sheneman published a chapter in that collection according to her resume. ASL summaries of each chapter is also available.

The release of this book was timed so well. June 2018. The same month the RID demonstrates very firmly, beyond a shadow of doubt, that such a book (and perspectives) are needed.



Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

RID Members: If You Cared So Much…

One of the things I find interesting about the recent criticisms of the RID from its membership is that there’s a lot of anger/frustration toward the RID.

But. There are so many of you that did not read carefully about what the feedback “vote” really was supposed to be. Many of you didn’t read the CVs for the two CEO finalists. Many of you didn’t follow the CEO selection process. Where’s the Care in paying attention to the governance of your organization?

And as for governance: RID Board Service… why is there not more robust interest in service? Yes, it can be frustrating at times. And it’s time away from the other things in your life that demands your energy. But service to the profession and to the communities we serve is very important work. If you signed up to work in this field, then where are you all in stepping up for Board service? How can we work together to make Board service more… palatable?

I really like what one Coda said on Facebook about “leaning in and engaging.” That’s a better answer than abandoning what one interpreter called a “raging dumpster fire.”

We also need to figure out how to expand Deaf* representation on the Board. One thing we need to do is address the attitudes that prevent Deaf* people from wanting to serve.

The RID still owes us a response.

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

From The Horse’s Mouth…

Branton Stewart says at the 46 second mark he thanks the membership for their feedback. (Not votes, my dear reader).

At the 50 second mark, he says the CEO has been selected and will be announced soon.

From RID eNews and Face to Face Meeting Update, April 30, 2018. This was shared with RID members via e-mail.

See the Video for Yourself:

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

From a Council Member: The RID Didn’t Follow Promised Procedures.

I received through my contacts form this following anonymous comment.

Comment: I am currently a council member (one of three councils for RID). I am not comfortable with revealing my identity. You may copy and paste this message for your blog. Thank you for your blog. It has caused me to consider many holes within RID.

I was reading your blog post clarifying the process was not a vote. You quoted RID’s February 26 email: “Applicants who are invited to the second round of interviews will be asked to produce a video to introduce themselves, and explain why they are seeking the position of CEO of RID. This video will be shared with the RID membership, the three Councils (Diversity Council, Council of Elders, and Deaf Advisory Council), and the Member Sections. The Board will collect feedback from all of these groups.” From what I understood, feedback from the membership was shared using the voting platform. I think by using this particular platform, it confused membership into thinking they could vote for the next CEO. RID never consulted with my council. I am guessing that they did not contact the other two councils either. Councils were established to advise the board but the board rarely looks at us for guidance. That begs the question about why councils exist in the first place if the board is not working with them.

I also wonder about how the search committee was managing the process. Kelby Brick’s post made me wonder about the process: 1. Were the members of CEO Search Committee identified and communicated with the membership? 2. What questions were asked in the first and third rounds? Were Joey and Naomi asked the same questions? That should have happened. Someone told me that Naomi was surprised when the board asked her a question in the third round about why she resigned from the board. I wonder if that set her up for failure.
3. I feel that the steps of the search process was not clearly detailed for the membership and stakeholders. There was a lot of room for vagueness and misunderstanding.

I am saddened to see that the impaired search process hurt all the candidates, membership, and this organization. I can only hope for recovery but how?


The contact mentioned Kelby Brick’s Post. I have copied and pasted Kelby Brick’s post below in full. He said it was shareable.

Now that I look closer at the hearing white male candidate’s resume for the position of Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. CEO, I’m shocked that he’s even considered in the first place. (Yes, I know his appointment has not been announced yet but he’s the only candidate remaining that RID has put forth to be under consideration).

As an executive in the private and non profit sectors who have hired people, consulted non profit and corporations in hiring, a member of many search committees, been on the board of local and national non profits, etc. etc. I can tell you about the usual processes.

The search committees usually have a set of questions that automatically screen out candidates so that they can focus on the most qualified. Those questions are typically set forth in non profit organizations such as RID as follows for executive positions (and what the answer would be if one looked at that hearing white male’s resume).

Does the candidate have an advanced degree (Usually first criteria to winnow down pool)? (NO)
Is the candidate a Certified Association Executive (CAE)? (NO)
Does the candidate have have executive non profit experience? (NO)
Does the candidate experience in fund raising as an executive? (NO)
Does he has experience dealing with a non profit board or a member based org similar to RID? (NO)

RID Specific questions:
Does the candidate have expertise in interpreting? (NO)
Does the candidate have experience in telling stories of interpreting (a criteria set forth by RID’s President a few months ago) (NO)
Does the candidate have experience as an advocate for accessibility (another criteria set forth by the President) (NO)

You and I know that in most situations a simple “no” to any of those would automatically result in exclusion of the Deaf candidate. Yet, a hearing candidate who presents a NO to all those questions made it as a finalist.

At this point, it is not enough for RID to simply restart the search process. They must now provide its members an explanation of why such a hearing candidate with such limited qualifications made it all the way to the final round.


The Council Contact and Kelby Brick are both right. The RID Board and the Search Committee owe us an explanation. We are waiting.

Allyship and Centering Deaf People, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Resistance

From Anonymous Contact re: RID

I received the following communication via my contacts from a former board member of the RID.

You can submit anonymously if you want via the contact form on this blog. My contact’s message is below in bold. No changes were made.

I just had a thought. In RID bylawas, it states that any decision made by the board can be vetoed with a 2/3majority of those eligible and participating in a special referendum. If 1000 people cast a vote (out of approx 15k members). We would need at least 667 votes in favor of the motion in order for it to pass. It should be simple as someone making a motion (they would be name and face attached to the motion so hopefully a CDI would be willing to do that) and then having seconded by someone else (whose name will also be attached to it). Then we would have to call on the board to send it out ASAP. Typically referenda by electronic vote needs to be left open for 30-60 days. Although it probably can’t be a person involved with affiliate chapters. I believe we would just send the motion to the board and demand them to send it out for email referendum immediately. Even if we lost the referendum, I think it would show the communities that not everyone is accepting/approving of this decision. We would have to spread the word to encourage people to vote. (referring to people usually being oblivious or deleting emails from RID)..

When might this happen? So far, we have no announced decision from RID. We still do not know if it is a failed search or if they are in negotiations with Joey over the offer.

My thoughts. Not just CDI but any eligible member can take this step. This is one way of showing disapproval for the decision.