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The Access Award is awarded to those who have done notable work in increasing the accessibility of services for and with deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing Minnesotans. Examples of accessibility support include captioning, interpreting, public access, or accessible technology.

[Slide with MNCDHH’s logo, and the following text, “Access Award”]

[Patrick Vellia appears onscreen and begins to sign.]

Patrick: The Office of Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan was nominated for their efforts to make sure there is ASL access and the use of Deaf interpreters throughout all the press conferences during the times of unrest and COVID pandemic. We are proud to be Minnesotans!”

[Nic is onstage with a very surprised Governor Walz. A clear plastic partition separates the two of them. For once, Nic is by the podium while the Governor is standing in the interpreter’s spot. Nic begins to sign.]

Nic: Wow, I always stood here to interpret, now we are reversing roles here and I like that!

Governor Walz: (laughing) I do too!

Nic: Okay. Just over two weeks ago you surprised and honored me with a special day. I was speechless and it is a memory I will keep in my heart forever. I find it a bit ironic that I now stand in your spot to surprise you. (Governor Walz signs ‘thank you.’) Minnesota has been shaken to its core this past year and we have watched your commitment. Your team, Lt. Governor with you and different officers come together to make decisions. Your commitment to save Minnesota from COVID-19. Then the George Floyd situation happened with civil unrest and you still called on me to interpret. You made sure access is still important for our community. It feels an honor to keep giving the access of communication. We recognize how the job is very heavy and heartbreaking and yet you still made sure access is very important to have. I want to recognize your passion. (Governor Walz puts a hand over his heart.) Now it is an honor that the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing community picked me to present this honorable award: the “Access Award.”

[Nic reaches down to pick up the award while the Governor puts on his mask.]

Nic (cont.): So I will now read this award. This Access Award acknowledges that the Office of Governor Time Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan has been recognized for notable work in increasing the accessibility of service for and with Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans.

[Nic puts on her mask and hands the award to the Governor. They elbow bump.]

[Slide with MNCDHH’s logo, a picture of Governor Walz with Nic Zapko and Patty McCutcheon, and the following text, “The Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan”]

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SG Mission: to serve our viewers by providing reliable, valuable, and important Deaf community oriented information in every newcast.