Bylaws Referendums Vote: Interpreters with Deaf Parents Member at Large
The Bylaws vote for the creation of an Interpreters with Deaf Parents (IDP) Member at Large position on the RID Board of Directors has now closed. See the results here>>
2011 BUSINESS MEETING MOTION
2011.04 Board of Directors charge the Bylaws Committee, in consultation with the leadership of the IDP Member Section, to develop bylaws amendments that establish a position on the Board of Directors to represent RID members who were raised by a Deaf parent(s), together with appropriate qualifications and duties for this position. The Bylaws Committee is to present these bylaws amendments to the RID Board of Directors, and then the membership, for a vote no later than December 15, 2012, but no earlier than the conclusion of all 2012 Regional Conferences.
Board of Directors charge the Bylaws Committee, in consultation with the leadership of the IDP Member Section, to develop bylaws amendments that establish a position on the Board of Directors to represent RID members who were raised by a Deaf parent(s), together with appropriate qualifications and duties for this position. The Bylaws Committee is to present these bylaws amendments to the RID Board of Directors, and then the membership, for a vote no later than December 15, 2012, but no earlier than the conclusion of all 2012 Regional Conferences.
PLAN OF ACTION
The RID Board of Directors has included this motion in the scope of work for the RID Bylaws Committee. Staff at RID Headquarters will work with the Bylaws Committee, Deaf Advisory Council (DAC), and Interpreters with Deaf Parents (IDP) Member Section to facilitate this work within the identified timeframe in the motion.
BYLAWS COMMITTEE RECOMMENDED
To amend RID Bylaws, Article IV, Directors, as follows:
Section 1-- Composition of the Board of Directors, to insert “, interpreter with deaf parents member-at-large” before “and one representative.”
Section 3 -- Duties, to replace “B. Officers:” with “B. Specific Duties:”; to insert a new item in place 7, “Interpreter with Deaf Parents Member-at-Large - Works with board of directors, assisting with the coordination of activities and communication in and among the association.”; and to renumber the remaining items.
Section 3 -- Duties, B, current number 9, Executive Committee, a), to replace with “a) Comprised of the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, member-at-large, deaf member-at-large, and interpreter with deaf parents member-at-large.”
Section 5 -- Term of Office, A, to replace with “A. President, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, member-at-large, deaf member-at-large and interpreter with deaf parents member-at-large shall serve two year terms. None of these shall hold the same office for more than two consecutive terms. They shall be elected by ballot during biennial meeting years and their term shall commence at the conclusion of the biennial meeting, but no later than September 1st of that election year, providing they are not already serving an unfinished term of office.”
Section 6 -- Nominations and Elections, A, to replace with “A. President, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, member-at-large, deaf member-at-large, and interpreter with deaf parents member-at-large candidates must receive nominating signatures of at least twenty-five voting members in good standing representative of all regions.”
Provison: If passed, the interpreter with deaf parents member-at-large position will become effective at the end of the 2013 national conference. So that this position may start at the same time as the rest of the 2013 board, a special election will be held with the following timeframe:
• Call for nominations is effective with the approval of this motion
• Nominations process begins March 1 with nominations to be submitted to RID Headquarters postmarked no later than April 15
• Election for this position to occur simultaneously with elections for other offices.
Over the past 5 years, the average PER PERSON annual amount for a single board member is $9,600.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The RID Board of Directors recognizes the value of having a diverse and inclusive make up of the Board of Directors. In addition, the Board values having members whose first culture and language are the Deaf World and ASL represented at all levels of the organization.
Points of consideration:
• The Board views members who identify as Interpreters with Deaf Parents (IDP) not as a special interest group but as an integral part of the organization, both historically and present day, with a unique perspective that benefits the governance of the organization.
• Creating a Board that grows in number. In the book Race to Relevance, authors Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers speak about the ineffective nature of a large governing Board. Coerver and Byers also point out that effective boards are usually comprised of 5-7 members. The Board has been re-evaluating its makeup based on this and the questions posed to RID members via the President's Tableside Chats during the Regional conferences as well as the on-line survey afterward.
• Fiscal impact on the organization. This is a consideration because the Board has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the financial stability of the organization.
• The Board shares in the concern as expressed in an article by Dennis Cokely, “Vanquished Native Voices- A Sign Language Interpreting Crisis.” http://www.streetleverage.com/2012/01/vanquished-native-voices Within this article, Cokely writes about the shift in members serving on the RID Board from RID’s beginning to the present time. Cokely notes that the shift has created a situation in which fewer Codas are serving on the Board, thus the organization as a whole is losing insights from persons who experience the DEAF-WORLD and ASL as their first culture and language.
• The Board would like the opportunity to explore why this phenomenon is occurring, why are fewer IDP serving on the board? IDPs, like all members of the organization, meet the requirement of serving for any position on the Board based on their certification status (with the exception of the Member at Large positions and residency requirements for Regional Reps). Again, why are fewer IDPs serving on the board?
• Under representation. The Board recognizes there are groups within RID that are underrepresented in the decision making processes at the Board level. We have been and continue to be diligent in our efforts to incorporate those groups in decision making processes through Councils and Member Sections. While we have not done so to the satisfaction of some members we continue to work under the philosophy of inclusion and representation of all members in decision making processes at the board level.
Therefore, the Board is unable to come to consensus regarding support of creating an IDP Member at Large position and will support the decision of the membership.
DEAF ADVISORY COUNCIL (DAC)
The DAC fully endorses "Motion E" as written.
The Diversity Council appreciates that the founding of RID was in large measure the work of Deaf Community Leaders with the support and collaboration of individuals who would be noted as IDP. Additionally, the majority of years RID development, historically its membership, was primarily IDP as was those who served in Executive Board and committee capacities. Their contributions to RID’s founding and initial development will always be honored. But we need to remember the many hearing individuals, not IDP, that have also contributed richly to the history of communication access and to the support of the Deaf and hard of Hearing communities rights. Even the name of the world’s premier and only Deaf university in the world, Gallaudet, is testament to that fact.
RID now stands as “the” association representing interpreters working in the Deaf /HH communities of these United States. As such RID has endeavored to incorporate diversity within its structure to reflect more fully all the interpreters/membership it is tasked to represent and all the communities it serves. To focus a board position solely on one segment of interpreters is to deny both historically, and at present, all those who have chosen their career path to be alongside the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and their right to communication access.
Not all who are IDP have “Deaf Heart”, no more than those who are not IDP can be said to not have “Deaf heart”. There are many interpreters, for example, from ethnically, culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds who have lived with very parallel experiences to the Deaf community and as such relate to the issues, challenges and difficulties of being denied the dignity and respect they deserve merely by virtue of their color of skin, or the native language they speak. Such experiences are very much in the same way the Deaf community has suffered similar indignities because of their culture, language and communication preference. Such experiences are shared in ways that even IDP did not directly experience. These interpreters from diverse communities don’t just have Deaf heart; they have had a “deaf - like life experiences” and as such are strong allies of the Deaf community.
If we begin to expect the board to make special appointed board seats, then how will RID address matters such as the fact that there are for example: RID Membership is approximately 16,000 with 9,000 of those being certified members. Of these 9,000 members of RID, only 537 are black. In one state alone there are over 250,000 that claim to be Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Of that 20,000-30,000 in that state are black. Yet that state has only one black certified interpreter (yet) and only six state certified. This under representation is sadly replicated in every state across our nation. Where is “their” seat on the board? Shall we now count the Latinos? Asians-Pacific Islanders? Middle Easterners? What of different religious affiliation? Sexual orientation? And so on. To establish such a board position would set precedent for any group to have a position specifically slated for them.
Additionally, such a position is not necessary because each position currently in the constitution allows for persons for varying backgrounds to be candidates. CODA/IDP is not a protected group per se on a federal level. Moreover, within the Sign language interpreter industry and within RID CODA/IDP as a group is not critically under-represented as previously noted.
The Diversity Council instead recommends that RID continue to move forward but with greater force, focus and determination to support a development of a diverse composition at all levels of the association, and with greater direct involvement and input of the member sections in supporting that diverse composition and representation in order for RID to truly fulfill its role of reflecting all its members within our profession.
INTERPRETERS WITH DEAF PARENTS (IDP) MEMBER SECTION LEADERSHIP
A recent polling of the IDP Member Section overwhelmingly supports the referendum to add a position to the National RID Board of Directors: Interpreter with Deaf Parents Member-at-Large. While this position is not a representative of the IDP Member Section, IDP Members believe it is critical to the future of RID. Interpreters who have been raised by Deaf parents represent the roots of our organization. We have lived in the “spaces in-between” and it is those very spaces and brokering skills we need represented to have on our national board. It is those valued and unique experiences and formative connections to the Deaf community that is often un- or underrepresented on the National RID Board. While it is true that ANY eligible member of RID may run for a position on the board, there is no guarantee this perspective will be represented. Failure to recognize, preserve, nurture and guarantee the presence of our organizations’ roots jeopardizes the future of RID. In our mission to bring “Deaf Heart” back to RID, let us not forget one of the crucial chambers of that heart.
DEAF CAUCUS MEMBER SECTION LEADERSHIP
We are in full support of this referendum regarding having IDP Member-at-large on the RID Board.
RID HEADQUARTERS STAFF POSITION STATEMENT
RID Headquarters staff supports the decision of the membership on this issue. We see value in diversity and inclusion of members from under-represented groups in all aspects of the association. The staff certainly values the contributions of deaf people and interpreters with deaf parents.