Hello, everybody, and thanks for coming, especially here on short notice. Welcome to our mock news conference and media training exercise. I’m Robb Leer. I represent the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing.

I’m joined here today in support with several individuals who use ASL as a primary language. I sincerely want to thank all of them for participating.

I also want to acknowledge our team of two sign language interpreters who are facilitating this communication today, ensuring us that this news conference is accessible in two languages: English and American Sign Language, also known as ASL.

You’ll also note that this video has closed captions, ensuring that the video is accessible to anyone who might be in a noisy environment where it’s hard to hear, to anyone who is learning English as a second language, to children who are learning to read, and, again, to people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing.

The state of Minnesota is committed to staffing any state emergency announcement like this with a sign language interpreter, but providing an interpreter is only as effective as the media’s commitment to include the interpreters on-screen in the news conference.

Photographers, we encourage you, when framing your shot, please include the sign language interpreter and the news maker. Producers, reporters, editors, when selecting your sound bites, please be as mindful.

When the state of Minnesota declares a state emergency and critical information must be timely distributed from Albert Lea to International Falls, our state leaders lean on our media outlets to inform all Minnesotans on as many details as we can share. Where’s the danger? How long will it last? Where should our citizens go to be safe?

When under a state emergency, time and information is critical. Let’s give all Minnesotans and this includes deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing Minnesotans a chance to get this time-sensitive information that can help to save lives. That completes our mock training exercise. I’ve got time to take a few questions.

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