Third Letter to RID: Update??

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

National Headquarters

Alexandria, VA

Janurary 30, 2014

Dear RID Board members and National RID Headquarters staff:

Please take this letter as a formal request for a response to our proposal for Audism: Power and Privilege Awareness training.

To this date, no one has officially responded to our letters although we were informally informed that our proposal was received and training would begin in January. However,  the board has not yet announced plans, identified a trainer for the Power and Privilege training, and we do not know if they have decided to keep the Audism awareness portion in the training as well.

As a result, the Deaf Caucus Council feels that the lack of prioritization on this matter only gives emphasis to the lack of understanding of how crucial this training is for your work within and for RID. Relationships are fundamental. It is the root of the trunk hoisting up RID. Please do not continue to delay on this matter for the “New RID” begins with the right tools. How else can we see the foliage of your efforts if the roots thirst and cannot assist in the growth in our branching communities? Without relationships to these communities, RID would no longer have access to the sun. A rich understanding of what we can do together.

Be progressive, be the change, and start today.

Thank you,

The Deaf Caucus Council and Member Section



Journey on Promoting Power, Privilege, and Audism awareness

This is a vlog wrapping up our progress with the RID board in establishing an annual/bi-annual training. The two letters referred to this vlog is posted separately with both English and ASL versions.

Stage 1, complete.

Stage 2, initiates.

Keep an eye out for Stage 2.

Our second letter (response)

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf
National Headquarters
Alexandria, Va 
December 11, 2013

Dear RID Board members:

We are writing in response to the RID Board’s decision to move forward with a Power and Privilege training as a result of our request for a required Audism Training for the members sitting on the board as well as all of the National RID Office Staff, regardless if they are Deaf or Hearing.

First we want to commend you for taking a part of the “New RID” in not only taking steps but also recognizing that these steps must be made to become progressive and be a part of the change. While the concept of Power and Privilege is specific and important, it is also very broad.

What we were actually requesting was much more specific to the reality of RID- the fact that the field is dominated by Deaf and Hearing people who work for Deaf people. We agree we interpret for hearing people, however, they are already a privileged group so the dynamics come into play when we, as interpreters, work for members of a minority group- this gives us, Deaf or Hearing; power and privilege.

Currently, Coda, hearing, and Deaf members who have not received Audism Training may be endorsing decisions that come from a frame of Audism without realizing it. To further understand this, recognize it, and call out on it, Audism Training is not only essential but fundamental in contributing to long lasting results for the “New RID”.

To remove Audism Training and put in its place something broad, “Power and Privilege”, will not help foster critical relationships of understanding and commodity in this field. How can we process disputes, misunderstandings, core concepts, and conflict resolutions without the language? The language tools and framing provided specifically to Deaf and Hearing people is found only in Audism Training.

We recommend that the following individuals are who we feel would provide the best kind of “Power and Privilege: Audism Awareness” Training for RID. The top choices among Deaf Caucus members are to have Laurene Simms and MJ Bienvenu as co-trainers.  Facundo Element is also another highly recommended organization.  Below is a comprehensive list of recommended trainers from Deaf Caucus members.  Should you want follow up on the names, please contact us at

Thank you,

The Deaf Caucus Council and Member Section

List of Trainers for Power and Privilege: Audism Awareness

Co- presenters

MJ Bienvenu and Laurene Simms

Petra Horn-Marsh and Marvin Miller

Ella Mae Lentz and Genie Gertz

Sole presenters

Laurene Simms

MJ Bienvenu

Petra Horn-Marsh

Marvin MIller

Michelle Lennert

Tom Humphries

 Ben Bahan

Arlene (Blumenthal) Kelly


Facundo Element

Deafhood Foundation

Co-presenters who are hearing

Dirksen Bauman

Dr. Will Garrow



Our first letter…(recommendation)

Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

National Headquarters

Alexandria, VA

August 27, 2013

Dear RID Board members and National RID Headquarters staff:

Based on observations, facts, and collective experiences from the RID membership, the recommendation below is addressed to the Board and to the staff of National RID Headquarters.  Additionally, we invite anyone who finds merit to consider this recommendation and take it upon themselves to make this a “doable action” as a part of the “New RID.”

This is an invitation to the Board and the staff of National RID Headquarters to take part of an awareness that is taking place amongst the mainstream culture- discussions of Privilege and Power. Focusing this further for our impact on each other in our position in society and in organizations such as ours. The membership value and look up to the Board as models. Most of the Mainstream Culture is not aware of the Privileges that exist when co-existing with Deaf people. Then we have people, on the inside, who have invested their time with Deaf people that may or may not be aware of these privileges.  We invite the board and the staff of National RID Headquarters to become familiar with these privileges and what we can do as a group to co-exist respectfully, in full faith that we have the intent and the ability to communicate with a framework, and make balanced decisions together.

Audism awareness has a significant domino effect on the persons trained and those with whom they interact. Simple doable actions such as choosing how we convey words, respond with an open slate in place of judgment, and understanding will reduce the continental divide with discerning how Deaf and hearing needs can be met when interacting with each other. Audism awareness will give the Board and the National Headquarters tools to evaluate issues at hand, resolve conflicts based on misunderstandings and triggers, and make balanced decisions that, at the end, are socially justifiable. When natural leaders such as yourselves incorporate and model these tools- the way the National Headquarters is viewed will change, the Board will be regarded as a balance that RID needs, and all of the conferences to follow, will evolve. This is the “New RID.”

It is recommended, as leaders taking a part of the “New RID”, that the Board and the staff of National RID Headquarters take the initiative to partake in Audism Awareness training before and during the circulation of the new Motion being put forth by the Deaf Caucus. This motion, regardless of their Deaf or hearing status, will mandate the board members and the National Headquarters Staff to receive Audism awareness training each term.

Be progressive, be the change, and start today.

Thank you,

The Deaf Caucus Council and Member Section

Resource List for Audism Awareness Training


Facundo Element:

Alison Aubretch and Ryan Commerson

Deafhood Foundation:

Butch Zien and Ella Mae Lentz