A VLOG from the Presidents of IAD and IRID

This VLOG is a message from the Presidents of the Illinois Association of the Deaf (IAD) and Illinois Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (IRID). A transcript is below:

Will Lee: Hello, I’m Will Lee, President of IRID.

Corey Axelrod: Hello, I’m Corey Axelrod, President of IAD.

Will Lee: I want to share about the meeting that took place last night between IAD and IRID regarding the situation that has transpired over the past several months.

We had serious and lengthy discussion during the meeting. Everyone was given a chance to express their feelings. This was beneficial to all.

One deaf member of IAD stood and said, “When I read the letter, this was the first time that I saw you all as hearing…”

That resonated with me personally. Yes, I’m hearing, but I was able to see myself through his eyes and realized in that moment the impact of our words no matter the intent. I apologize on behalf of IRID.

Both sides made mistakes. We take ownership of not communicating directly with IAD and IRID commits to improving our communication moving forward.

Corey Axelrod: Same here – IRID is not solely responsible for what happened, IAD contributed too. We did not do enough to engage interpreters, including IRID and the greater interpreting community, to learn your concerns and thoughts pertaining legislation. In hindsight, I recognize opportunities for improvement. I apologize for this. Having better communication could have prevented some of the issues that transpired, including misunderstandings.

One of the other things I wanted to address is how powerful social media is. The dialogue on social media impacted both organizations. Individuals, some more than others, were impacted. You (Will) and I, along with other leaders were impacted. After our dialogue, I looked within to identify what I did to contribute and to solve the issues at hand.

There were some comments where I could have interjected and shared “targeting individuals is not appropriate.” I did not do this with several posts I knew about. Additionally, there were some posts I “liked” or responded with comments. I should not have done this and instead steered the conversation to a more positive type of dialogue. After learning more about the different perspectives, I really better understand the impact of what transpired. During yesterday’s conversations, I saw the emotions and hurt involved on all ends. Everyone in that room shared the same sentiments of being hurt by this ordeal. How do we move on from this?

I contributed to this, and Will, I’m sorry. I also apologize to the community. I look forward to us working together.

The conference is coming up, and we’ve talked about the need for the conference to be a safe place for everyone, period. Social media must also be a safe place.

Dialogue is healthy. We may not agree, as long as there is mutual respect for each other. At the end of the day, I look forward to that continuous dialogue where everyone is included.

Will Lee: After the conference the dialogue will continue, both organization will plan to host forums throughout Illinois in an effort to gather feedback, understand one another better and to improve communication.

Corey Axelrod: I look forward to this. I know our members also look forward to this. Having interpreters and Deaf individuals at the same table is important. This is an opportunity for us to learn together. We have people with their own concerns. I look forward to honest, genuine conversations where personal agendas are put aside.

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