Vice President Melvin Walker
Region V Representative Erica West Oyedele
The Board is excited to be on the Gallaudet Campus for our spring face-to-face meeting. We will be meeting through Sunday, March 20th and as always, have a full agenda ahead of us. Just as we did in December, we will work to report to you about our daily discussions and decisions.
The energy of the meeting and my colleagues on the Board is to build on the momentum of the past few months. We have shared a ton of information with you since December with the risk assessment and organizational assessment, the information-packed annual report, and monthly status reports. We know it has been a lot of information, and we appreciate your engagement as we continue to make this information available to you. This week is no different.
NAD Mediation Meeting
On Monday, March 14, RID and NAD met and had the opportunity to discuss several outstanding issues related to our testing and certification relationship. During that discussion, we obtained additional information from NAD, and we were able to identify some next steps. As with any long-time relationship, as you sort through differences of perspective and opinion, that often leads to new areas to be addressed. This was also an outcome of that meeting. We will remain in close communication with NAD as we process through the information we exchanged on Monday and will be doing additional messaging as details of agreements unfold.
Power and Privilege training
As in December, we are starting every day of the Board meeting from this introspective approach of power and privilege training. Keeping us aligned with our mission, vision, and Board values of the 4Rs, this daily discussion sets a strong foundation for our agendas. Ritchie Bryant, Deaf Member at Large, led us through some very important discussions and self-awareness. We explored what does “hearing privilege” mean to us. How do we see that impact daily?
Board members shared thoughts about how hearing experience is different in terms of every day experiences; not only becoming aware and staying aware, but then acting on that awareness. Then we discussed the question… How can RID as an organization take the lead to reduce the impact of privilege among members – a complex question as you look at the willingness of individual self-awareness in group settings. There is movement in this area organization wide, but what more can we do from a leadership level effect change in this area?
We recognize the intensity and urgency from which members and stakeholders want a decision on the moratorium. During this discussion on the agenda, the Board went into closed session.
Interesting while we are here, the Metro system in DC shut down completely for 29 hours. Absolutely no trains ran and people who depend on that as a mode of transportation had to find another solution for the day. The reason for the shutdown was because of safety issues, and they needed to inspect every single one of the 600 underground jumper cables.
I find we can compare this with the moratorium decision. As you can imagine, the decision of this nation’s capital to shut down the major mode of public transportation was not a popular one; just like the Board’s decision to place a hold on performance testing. So, while not popular decisions, they were necessary ones. For the Metro it was about inspecting the safety of the rail system for its riders; for RID it is about inspecting the testing and certification system to address operational, fiscal, and governance concerns.
During our discussion, we considered the feedback from members and stakeholders who have been impacted by the halt in the pipeline of new certified interpreters. We also looked at the framework for two action plans that would lead to the lifting of the moratorium. These plans looked at how we are addressing the following:
- The operational issues identified in the testing and certification risk assessment