Lewis Merkin, CDI, from New York, was conscripted into interpreting by dint of being the “hard of hearing” child in an all-Deaf family. Studiously avoiding any thought of the profession, he went on to have successful careers as an actor (Broadway, off-Broadway, national and international companies), a produced playwright (3 productions) and a community educator (GLAD- AIDS Education for the Deaf and Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services). In 1996 he realized that not only was interpreting a viable career choice, but that he thoroughly enjoyed the intellectual challenge and the camaraderie.
At this point, he set out to become certified and he dove headlong into the profession and RID. Currently, he is a staff interpreter with the NYC Department of Education. His specialty areas include Deaf-Blind, sign to voice, medical and mentoring.
He served four years on the board of NYC Metro RID (including a term as President), then shifted his attention to the national level where he was chair of Deaf Members in Leadership Committee (2004-2009), as well as chair of the 2009 Conference Program Committee. He was the recipient of the Judie Husted Leadership Award for Region 1 in 2005. An ongoing concern has been the diminishing voice of RID’s original stakeholders as the association has grown: the Deaf and CODA communities. For this reason, he feels it is imperative to ensure that RID’s heritage be represented at the Board level. His commitment is helping to ensure that RID will always remember and honor its connection to the Deaf community, without which there would not be a sign language interpreting profession.