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Video Description: In 2 zoom boxes side by side are two women. Regina, sits on the left of the screen, wearing a black sleeveless high neck shirt, dark framed glasses, dangling earrings, her dark hair is pulled back into a tight bun behind her. She is against a white/tan background. On the right sits Jamers, wearing a black shirt with a black cardigan over top, she has long curly red hair that is worn down, she is sitting against a gray background.


Regina: Hello!! What’s up with you?

Jamers: Oh nothing, but you have something exciting to announce right?

R: Well first- why don’t you introduce yourself?

J: Okay good idea. I am Jamers Spier. And your name?

R: I am Regina Daniels. Happy to be here with you today Jamers.

J: Me too!

R: I remember the first announcements awhile back announcing and introducing the first scholarships. We are thrilled to share the current, new and old, 6 scholarships that are offered through MRID. 1- Pioneer Education Scholarship - $500. 2- Pioneer Interpreter of Color Education Scholarship.

J: That is a new scholarship.

R: Yes correct! I am thrilled about that. It is also for $500. 3- Certification Scholarship, $300. 4- Interpreter of Color Certification Scholarship for $300.

J: Another new one!

R: Exactly! 5- Mary Burnes Mentorship Scholarship for $100. And last, 5- Stephen Medlicott Professional Development Scholarship for $200.

J: And again, a new scholarship.

R: It is really amazing to see 3 scholarships that have stood the test of time, and now the addition of these 3 new scholarships! So now, what can they do with all that information?

J: You will be available to apply starting on September 1st. You can visit the website where you will find the google form to fill out with an essay and to attach a video. The application deadline is September 30th with the goal to announce those winners in October.

R: This is such a great opportunity for everyone and I do with you the best luck! If you have any questions regarding this application process please reach out.

J: Yes you can send an email to

R: I’m excited for all of you, best of luck!

J: Yes, good luck!


Video Description: Sydney, wearing a purple shirt with purple cardigan over top, tortoise color framed glasses, small gold hoop earrings, and her red/blonde hair half pulled back behind her, sitting in a chair against a gray washed background.


Hello MRID Community! I am thrilled to tell you that the process to apply, and nominate for board positions is now open.

I’m sure you’re wondering about how this works with the business meeting, but this year we will have a different approach than in the past; it will be prior to the meeting, and online. You will see a google form to fill out yourself if you are interested in a board position, along with a 5 minute video explaining why you are interested. You will also see a place to nominate someone that you think would be a good fit and we will get in touch with them to see if they are interested in serving. Now is the time to be thinking of those that you believe would be a good fit and nominate them.

Prior to September 12th we will be working through the MRID website, and once all is set to go we will send it out to all voting members of MRID. In order to be a voting member you need to have membership at a national level of RID as well as a local level of MRID. Your membership can be certified, student, associate or community. Once we have let you know that our voting is live, you will need to log into your MRID profile where you will be able to watch each applicant's video, and select who you want to serve in that position for MRID. This voting will all take place and come to an end before our annual business meeting, and we will announce the newly appointed position on October 24th.

There are 4 board positions open this year:

Operations Director- in charge of the daily operations or the organization itself, taking notes, and make sure everything is running as smooth as possible.

Financial Director- in charge of the finances of the organization itself to make sure it is healthy and sustainable.

Community Relations Director- working to see how MRID can better support and collaborate with other local organizations.

Community Director- making sure that information is shared to the public on what is happening within the community, events, MRID etc.

Each of these positions I just mentioned are all served as 2 year terms, they will start term January 1, 2021 and come to an end December 21, 2022. What is unique about this is that the newly appointed board person will have an opportunity through November and December to work with the current board member, and receive some mentoring, to make sure come January 1, they are ready to go!

Also in December the board will come together for a retreat weekend and share ideas and goals moving forward as an organization. Being a part of the board calls for many opportunities such as meeting many of our community members, networking, building relationships, and learning what the interpreting field itself looks like in the state of Minnesota, and at the same time developing your skill as a leader.

If you are interested in applying for any one of these board positions, or want to nominate someone that you believe is a good fit, please go ahead and do so now. We are looking forward to receiving your applications!


Visual Description: Nicki Mosbeck-Barrett sits in front of a purple backdrop with hair pulled back in a pink scrunchie, wearing a black dress.

Hello MRID Community.


You may remember in late April when we asked you to participate in our short survey. A lot has happened since then, but we want to share those initial results with you. We had a total of 142 responses, 74% of which were members, 26% were non members. 90% of people wanted webinars, 60% wanted social opportunities, and 70% want a mentor list to be created. If you want more in depth information on these topics, please take a look at our flyer.

Thank you for your participation. Stay tuned for more.

MRID Board of Directors.


Visual Description: Sydney Groven stands in front of a grey backdrop with her hair pulled back wearing a black button up top.

Hello MRID Community,


Lately the MRID-News listserv has had a lot of activity. Over 65 people have participated so far in the discussion. This listserv reaches over 1,500 people, not just our members. That means that over 1,500 people were exposed to the conversation and we have 1,500 various perceptions and thoughts about what happened through the dialogue. We recognize that people have various personal responses to statements, felt hurt by the discussion, and asked the Board why we were allowing it to continue. We made a recent vlog to discuss this, that we felt it is an important dialogue and an opportunity for learning. We don’t want to forget this conversation. In fact, we want to continue this dialogue and we want to unpack what happened and the various statements that were said. If you are interested, please join us on Monday June 15, 6-7pm CST for a discussion on Zoom. Again, we recognize that many people are responding differently and have thoughts that you would like to process through. Let’s get together and talk though it. We are looking forward to this discussion.

Also, we want to address one more thing. Bethany Gehman recently made a vlog expressing disappointment that the board did not include statements of solidarity and support for Black Lives Matter in our vlog. Yes, we recognize that those statements were not included. The reason is because that vlog was specifically addressing the conversation with MRID-News and why we were not intervening. So, you ask, what is MRID’s view and where does MRID stand? You matter to us. We stand and support Black Lives Matter. We support Black Deaf, Black Interpreters, and Black people all over the world. We recognize that the pain you are feeling is not recent nor is it only because of murder of George Floyd. For over 400 years, you have been constantly fighting against injustices such as this. We stand with you. We agree with RID’s recent statement of Solidarity. Yes, our recent vlog did not include these statements; we are saying them now. We didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon and express empty words. These statements of solidarity are powerful and mean something to us. As our board was processing these events and learning for ourselves, we asked ourselves what we should do because we didn’t just want to make a statement and move on. We are committed to action and the first step of that action is our community discussion. Other plans are also already in the works.

Again, to our Black and Brown community, you matter to us. We support you.

Thank you.


Hi, I'm Tarra Grammenos, president of MRID.

I'd like to talk about the emails in the MRID-News group the last several days.


People have reached out asking "what's MRID's view?" and "why has MRID allowed all these emails to go through?"

Well, I would like to remind everyone; MRID's organization is not just the 7 board members, the organization is you.

You also have to remember MRID's mission statement includes "provide space for continued growth and development of interpreters" - that's exactly what's been happening. Now I get it, this type of learning is uncomfortable for some people. At the same time, it's even more uncomfortable for those who have been willing to share their grief, pain, and heart. That right there, is a gift, and we need to honor and recognize that. Thank you to those people. The MRID board has intentionally remained silent. We've been watching, reading, listening, and learning. We've also intentionally allowed this dialogue to continue; in fact, we welcome it. So going forward, I hope we can continue to work together.

Please, take care of each other; because that's what this community is really about. Thank you.


Visual Description: Sydney Groven, female in dark pink shirt with grey backdrop.

MRID Community,


We recognize that our membership and communities we serve are not exempt from the hardships caused by COVID-19. We are in unprecedented times.

The typical activities that members look forward to unfortunately are not what can be offered at this time. In light of that, we are seeking input on ways the organization can adapt to the current needs. Please fill out the survey attached to direct the next steps of the organization.

This survey should take you less than 5 minutes and will inquire about webinars, social opportunities, mentor roster, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this survey. We hope you’re staying safe and healthy.


Visual Description: Sydney Groven, female with curly hair half up in pony with blue shirt, in front of grey backdrop.

Hi MRID, this is Sydney Groven, MRID Operation’s Director. We felt that it was about time we recognize you, your skills, and your creativity. We recognize that this time has not been easy.


COVID-19 has impacted thousands in its sweep, and it has been difficult. Your work, your lives, and your normal routines have all been disrupted. Whether you work in education as an interpreter or instructor, VRS, legal, medical or any other type of interpreting, we recognize that this has been a very difficult time for all. We also want to recognize those that have been involved with improving access in our community. We have had several DI/HI teams interpreting important announcements on the news, others have been a part of innovative efforts to get VRS interpreters transitioned to working from home or getting instructional curriculum and interpreting online. This has been a lot of work and we appreciate all of you. We are thankful for you.

Also, we wanted to let you know that we are committed to this field and that our operations have not stopped. Back in February, we had a board retreat focused on goal planning for the year. While our plans now need to adjust to the new reality, we are not giving up. We are determined to keep moving forward. If you are interested, we will be having another board meeting on April 25, 10:00am-2:00pm, and we welcome you to join us. Our board meetings are public, and we will be hosting this meeting on the Zoom platform. All are welcome! More information such as the agenda and link to access the Zoom meeting will be sent out soon.

Again, we appreciate you, and thank you for all you do.


Hello everyone!

I am thrilled to announce that MRID’s Camp ASL will be here sooner than we know it. It is planned for the weekend of May 29-31, after Memorial Day weekend.


This year Camp ASL might look different than you are used to. There will be two of us running the show for the weekend, myself and Patty Gordon.

We are planning to provide you with a multitude of activities, dialogues, discussions and more with the emphasis on opportunities to try, learn and stretch your abilities in ASL.

If you remember in the past we have had phenomenal presenters and workshops, followed with some group discussions, and those have been great! This year we are mixing it up! It will be a weekend to dive head first into ASL. We will have 15 Deaf mentors and 60 attendees. The thoughts on limiting that number to 60 this year is to allow for more time with each other and Deaf mentors to really see your language grow, and be truly involved in every activity. There will be no sitting in the back and watching it happen.

Visit to register and you will find 2 prices listed; if you are a member of MRID $185, non- MRID members $210.

If you are ready to sign up as a member, you can also find that information at where prices range from $15-35 depending on your category. Registration is now live, but remember we only have limited space so get your place at camp ASAP!

Can’t wait to see you there.


Hi! I’m Tarra Grammenos, President of MRID.

I’m here with some updates for the community. Remember the business meeting last October? There was a motion that passed to establish an ad-hoc committee focused on researching licensure for Minnesota.


We collected 21 applications and picked 10: 5 deaf interpreters and 5 hearing interpreters. We are confident this committee will represent our state and community well. Look out for more information from them soon.

We also just appointed Megan Bolduc, our new Communications Director. We’re thrilled she joined our team! Megan is a former MRID Vice President. Congrats Megan!

Lastly, we just finished our 3 day MRID board retreat where we examined our history, legacy, present, and future. Did you know that next year, MRID turns 50? That’s a long time! That really got us thinking - we know MRID is important to this community and to us, but we wanted to ask you the community- MRID For-For? Why is MRID important to you? Let us know!

Use #MRIDForFor and tell us! Looking forward to seeing your response!


Gina: Hi I’m Gina Alvarado and I represent MinneCODA.

Tarra: Hi I’m Tarra Grammenos, president of MRID.


Gina: Remember our fundraiser with Abababa last November? He gave a performance about his life as a coda (and a workshop about interpreter ethics). Combined, MinneCODA and MRID raised $2,525 to donate to Metro Deaf School!

Tarra: We have Susan Lane-Outlaw here to accept the check.

Susan: Wow, thank you so much! This is going to benefit MDS so much, we really appreciate it!

Everyone: thank you so much!


MineCODA and MRID are partnering up to host an exciting event coming soon. On Friday November 22 and Saturday November 23, Abababa, (actor Alan Abarbanell) will be performing and sharing on stage about his life as a CODA.


His stories are very well known and quite heartfelt. The event will be held at Metro Deaf School (MDS) at 7pm. Doors will open at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25- you can purchase them online at, or at the door.

If you are planning to purchase at the door, please make sure to arrive early.

Note that one Saturday morning, Alan will be providing a workshop geared towards interpreters, and how to navigate certain situations that arrive during interpreting assignments. Cost for the workshop is $40 and there are .3 CEUs available. Again, this workshop can be purchased at the door or online at

Please come out to support this fundraiser as the proceeds will be donated to MDS itself- what a great way to support our local organizations and Deaf school! See you there.


Click on video and then CC for English captions


Click on the video and then CC for captions



MADC and MRIDs fall conference is quickly approaching. If you have not registered yet you should act swiftly- registration ends on October 13th.


You can register online at MRID's website, where you will also find detailed information, schedules, price, presenters information, and more. All presentations will be held in ASL, so we know having to choose between 1 of 3 workshops will be tough!

Also know that MADC and MRID will be holding their business meetings during this conference, it’s a fascinating process to be a part of, we welcome you to come.

If time allows, take a tour of MSAD and the history surrounding us during this conference. MADC and MRID are thrilled to be working together to host this conference and we cannot wait to see you there, don’t wait any longer to register.

If you are wondering about where to stay during the conference there are a few options available. You can book a hotel room in Faribault, although act quick as rooms may book up quickly, if that is the case, look to stay a bit North in Northfield, or South in Owatonna, also know that you can stay at the dorms of MADC for $15 per bed.

Don’t wait any longer, register now and we will see you there!




Sabrina: Hello! I'm Sabrina Hubmer.

Lisa: Hi! I'm Lisa Wasilowski, and we're on the local planning committee for the upcoming MADC MRID Fall Conference.

Sabrina: It's happening on October 18th and 19th.


Lisa: Hey Sabrina, where is it hosted this year?

Sabrina & Lisa: Here at MSAD in Faribault!

Lisa: Registration is located at

Lisa: There are different categories of prices for the conference: Professionals - Those who are eligible for CEUs/ASL hours, such as teachers, interpreters, therapists, etc. Those with license/certification. Their cost is $120 for the full two days, and includes lunch both days and the banquet dinner Friday night. The second category is Community and Students - and their cost is $100 and includes the same as the professionals, just no CEUs. If you'd prefer to attend just one day, Friday's price is $70 which includes the workshops, lunch, and dinner, and then Saturday's price is $60 which includes the workshops and lunch.

Sabrina: The conference is open to everyone! Community members, interpreters, students, teachers, therapists, counselors, parents, etc. The workshops offered will benefit everyone!

Lisa: Hope to see you there!


Visual Description: Nic, wearing a blue shirt with a dark gray long sleeve over top, dark rimmed glasses and small thick hooped earrings, sits in a wooden chair with a painted light green wall in the background.

Hi everyone! Thanks for checking out our MRID update.


I am Nic Zapko, one of the current board members for MRID. You might be wondering what we the board have been up to throughout this summer, June- August. We have been diligently working, hosting our regular monthly board meetings, as well as other meetings live in person, through zoom and other platforms to stay current on our work. We are diving into our organization as an entity, as well as each individual board member's position description and responsibilities within. We quickly noticed the overlap in some directors positions which is great news to know we will not be working alone, but instead together to move forward in different projects and tasks. RID has 56 affiliate chapters (AC) across the nation, some states have more than one AC, some have none. Of those 56, we split the work between board members, and researched the following: mission and vision statements, term of board positions (1 year or 2 years), how the overlap of positions work, workshops and how often they are provided, as well as different features within each AC. Do they write out transcripts in English? Or only Vlog in ASL? We gathered all of this information and brought it together for a retreat weekend in July with the main goal of focusing on MRID itself. How can we set up this organization for success and longevity?

Our answer was in part, to analyze the past and events that have happened, experienced board members, to make clear expectations so that those who join in the future, know what their role and responsibilities are. We want this work to be enjoyable and fun. We also have discussed the changeover of board positions.

For example: we will never have a year where the President and Director of Finance are both new positions. Same with the Communication Director and Membership Director- because of the valued and shared work that they do, it is important to stagger the change in those positions. Again- our goal is to keep MRID running for the long term. Of course we cannot forget our favorite topic, bylaws. We took information from other states and their ACs, with the goal of simplicity and maintaining. That is what this summer has looked like for us board members.

Also I should note that we have something exciting approaching. MRID and MADC will be hosting a Town Hall together. We are welcoming all members, community members, interpreters, Deaf from across Minnesota to join us and share your thoughts and perspectives on state licencing.

Some things to look out for- both organizations MRID and MADC will be running a two day, fall conference together in Faribault, MN. In November MRID and MinnCODA will be hosting Abababa comedy show, and a workshop an event at Metro Deaf School (MDS)

Some big things are coming our way! Hope to see you all there.


Visual Description: Sydney Groven sits in a chair wearing a blue shirt, black cardigan, and glasses.

Hello MRID Community!

We have a couple side projects going that we could use your help with. Did you know that the MRID is almost 50 years old? In less than two years, we will be celebrating our 50th birthday! (Cake and ice cream anyone?!)


One side project that we've been working on is collecting the names of all past MRID Boards of Directors from 1971 - current, and we would love to get community input on this document to ensure its accuracy. Names may have accidentally misspelled or there could be incorrect information about who has been on the board. There are also a few missing pieces of this history that we are hoping to fill in. Go to to check it out!

We are also trying to collect all known copies of the MRID Update Newsletter in hopes that we can get them archived online in the next year and a half. The document attached has a record of all of the Update editions in our possession. If you have any of the missing MRID Updates, please get in touch, we would love to be able to archive them!

Thank you so much for your help with this project!


Hello! I’m John Fechter, MADC board president.

Hello! I’m Tarra Grammenos, MRID board president.


Tarra: We’re here to announce a joint town hall event happening Saturday, Sept 28th, 1pm-5pm at Metro Deaf School. We will be discussing interpreter licensure. There was a lot of discussion this year about licensure, so we’ve decided to provide a space where the community can come together and discuss this topic.

John: The town hall will be facilitated and led by Howard Rosenblum, CEO of NAD. We’ve chosen him because he’s familiar with interpreter licensures from all around the country.

Tarra: The event itself is free, and if you can’t make it in person, we will be live-streaming it via Zoom. To find the link, head to that morning.

John: See you there!

Tarra: See you there!


Gina: Hello! My name is Gina Alvarado and I’m from MinneCODA.

Tarra: Hello! My name is Tarra Grammenos and I’m from MRID. We’re here to announce a fun partnership between MinneCODA and MRID; we’re hosting two events November 22nd and 23rd.


Gina: On November 22nd we’re having a show here at Metro Deaf School, remember, it’s the new building! If you haven’t been here yet, come visit! Friday night’s show will be Alan Abarbanel, also known as Abababa. Alan will perform his show, with stories about his life growing up as a coda. Also, we need to emphasize, this is his farewell tour. If you haven’t seen his show yet, now is the time! Tickets cost $25 and you can purchase them at Doors open at 6:30pm and the show starts at 7pm. Again, the cost is $25 for the show.

Tarra: Saturday morning, Abababa will be presenting a workshop about the most outrageous, hilarious, embarrassing, frightening moments while interpreting. It’ll be a great discussion. Plus, how do we apply the code of professional conduct to those situations? It’ll be fun. The workshop costs $40 and will be worth RID .3 CEUs. You can buy tickets at

Gina: Also, for Friday night’s show, Alan will use spoken English and American Sign Language at the same time, and for the Saturday morning workshop, he will use American Sign Language the entire time. Remember, Friday night is his farewell tour, your last opportunity to see him perform!

Tarra: This event is hosted as a fund raiser for Metro Deaf School to support their new building, so come support with us!

Gina: Come enjoy Friday and Saturday with us! See you there!


Hello, I’m Tarra Grammenos, Director of MRID.

Hello, I’m Regina Daniels.

Hi, I’m Nella Titus and I’m an interpreter.

Regina: We want to have an open discussion today related to the workshop I presented at Camp ASL.


I want to have a conversation with Nella. But first, the reason why we’re here. Just a heads up, the three of us have already talked prior to this being filmed. We wanted to have a chance to unpack our emotions before all of this. The three of us decided to just talk this out by ourselves, without anyone else in the room. Get all our feelings out so we’re able to clear the air. I know rumors were spreading and I know there were different sides to the story, but not everyone was there to see what happened. We had a discussion before today, and decided to do this together. We felt it was appropriate to witness what we unpacked, what we faced, and what MRID can do going forward. The whole purpose was to vlog together was to avoid any misunderstandings by doing individual videos separately. So that’s the reason we decided to go forward with this vlog together. We had some really good eye-opening moments, and I know I learned a lot, Nella learned a lot, MRID learned a lot, we all did. I think this conversation is valuable and beneficial for all. So I would like Nella to open with her comments on the situation.

Nella: I attended Camp ASL and I went to Regina’s workshop. During her presentation, I got up for some tea. At that same time, Regina had called me up to the stage. I was surprised, but I did go up. She had a good question. She asked me why I had accepted a job interpreting for Michelle Obama. I was taken off guard and I froze. My mind went blank, I completely shut down, and in that moment, I lost the chance to respond. The opportunity was ripe for honest, vulnerable discussion and it passed us by because I was not able to express my thoughts. And you know that that opportunity could’ve been so meaningful. There were many students there, and students want to learn.

Regina: The topic was about People of Color and reframing impact in the interpreting field. The reason I called Nella up was to challenge her and her experience, and I thought that this approach could really influence new interpreters, or students who are still learning. In challenging her, I was trying to do something different. I wanted to show ways to really step back and unpack yourself. When Nella froze, I realized things weren’t going according to plan. Nella ended up walking out and I started questioning myself. Was I in the wrong? Was it me? I was shocked at that point, too. Tarra and I made eye contact and I just thought, “Shit.” I was still questioning it. But part of me said, No, this is the topic. I warned people that this topic is heavy and sensitive. I told them they would feel uncomfortable and unsettled, and to be prepared for that. But it seems that didn’t happen that day. When she walked out, people seemed shaken. But I did take a minute...I felt like...I decided to... OK, no one told me what to do with this, no one, but I got back up on stage and I said . “I’m sorry if that made you feel uncomfortable. I’m sorry if this caused an upset." And I explained my reasons. "I’m sorry you feel that way, that it was uncomfortable. I’m sorry that you were confronted with that situation. I’m so sorry that you are experiencing this. But unfortunately, this is hard core stuff, period. Whether you like it or not, because it’s for a reason." So when I met with you, and I wanted to know what happened, what was your response?

Nella: I said, "Wow, I feel embarrassed. When I was called up I panicked, I wasn't ready." But really that opportunity for discussion, all those students watching and waiting for me to say something, and I was just standing there like a deer in the headlights...really I embarrassed myself. I did not have a good response to continue the discussion. I didn’t open up. I missed out. Really, I failed you. I failed the students and everyone in attendance. It wasn’t your fault, Regina. And I’m really sorry that happened.

Regina: And that...that helps me understand how we as People of Color, as this diverse group, can better help the community. Because if they don’t have that experience, or they aren’t ready to approach that-- like in your situation, you weren’t ready or weren’t prepared. So how can we, in a situation like this, step in and say "Ok, this is what happened, engage with me here," and encourage a change of mind and a change of heart? Because this is how we will improve the interpreting field. I mean, you're right Nella, people were watching! Because you are, how many years have you been interpreting?

Nella: Technically 7 years but I’m a CODA so I’ve really been interpreting all my life.

Regina: Right! So people really look up to you as an interpreter. I’m not a hearing interpreter, but I am a Deaf interpreter, and also a Deaf instructor, so when we had this discussion, and you apologized to me, it really helped me understand where you were coming from in that moment, why you left, and why I felt I should apologized in that moment. Thank you for the apology. I really appreciate your explanation, it helps me understand how that situation played out for you. I would like to add because maybe we could explain a bit more about your culture and how you approach things, vs. my culture and how I approach things.

Nella: I’m white. Born and raised in Minnesota. I’m a woman. I typically prefer private one-one-one conversations. So part of the reason I left was because I wanted this to be a private conversation between the two of us, but that was a different cultural framework for this situation. It was different than what I usually expect. And some of my emotions came from it not being what I expected. And frankly, that stemmed from me being white.

Regina: I get it. From my culture, “calling out” just means to challenge you. "Let me challenge you." Right! Did I want to throw you under the bus? No! It was more of a teaching moment. We all need to learn. So I did challenge you. That's why I called her to the stage to say, "Let me challenge you." So that was the reason behind it.

Nella: Right, I completely misunderstood. I thought the purpose was to embarrass me, which wasn’t true at all. Thank you, Regina, for explaining it to me because now it makes sense, and it wasn't what I thought.

Regina: And again, it could be my Black culture, too. We tend to be very expressive and more animated than white people are used to. Sometimes they think we’re mad, like ‘Omg is she’s screaming at me?’ and they get intimidated. It's like, come on! It’s a Black culture thing. So, yeah. We just have so much to learn.

Nella: Very true! I’m here and excited to learn more.

Regina: And I look forward to teaching! I’m not going to give up; people better get ready! But honestly, I think this situation has really impacted the community too. Even outside our's kind of crazy. Like, wow, people are actually listening, people are really taking it to heart. They are showing support and checking in with us. And it's like, finally! You’re paying attention to this! This is an issue within the community, and we need to wake up. We can't keep writing other people off. How can we pull each other up? If we someone with good skills, a Black interpreter, Deaf interpreter, Deaf presenter, Deaf...anyone, we have to support them. There’s just too much rejection and judgement out there. Too much ignorance. When will that stop? I know it's only my second year here in Minnesota but come on, I see it now. It's like, wow... This is really becoming a problem. And hopefully one day, we can say this is where we started; the three of us started with this and said . "Hey, what you’re doing is not appropriate. Stop."

Nella: Right. Thank you for this dialogue.

Regina: Yes, you're welcome. Okay so now that you’ve recognized the situation, what will you do differently, related to interpreting for Michelle Obama? You’ve unpacked a lot, what will change and how will you make that decision?

Nella: OK. I’ve been working as an interpreter for 7 years and throughout the years, many jobs such as plays or concerts have come up that involved people of color. In the past, I would reach out to interpreters of color and try to bring them on as my team. This happened several times. But some of them would say, "Hey, I feel like you chose me because of my skin color alone." Or, "You picked me to team with you only because I’m a person of color?" It felt very tokenizing to them. So I took a hard look at the situation and realized I was causing them harm, and I clearly don’t want that. Plus, I’m a CODA. I grew up with Deaf parents. And I went through an interpreter training program which taught me to always follow what the Deaf consumer wants. Whatever I do, where I stand or sit, what I wear, etc., I must honor what the Deaf person wants. Sometimes it means adopting their signs, whatever it takes to best meet their needs. So, I saw the request for me to interpret for Michelle Obama's event, and I thought, Okay, on the one hand, do I risk causing harm to my colleagues, interpreters of color? But on the other hand, I must also follow what the Deaf consumer wants. I thought about both sides, and I eventually made the decision to accept the job. After the show, many people told me that I made the wrong decision. I did some serious soul searching and realized they were right. It wasn’t a good decision on my part. Because who am I to decide what jobs to offer interpreters of color and what jobs to interpret myself? That’s not for me to decide. Plus that job, come on, it’s Michelle Obama, she’s incredible. It would have been such a great opportunity for an interpreter of color and I took it away. They never even had a chance at it. I feel terrible, and now I recognize the impact of my decision. I apologize for that. So, going forward, what will I do differently? I will always reach out to interpreters of color; I now know they actually do want to be contacted. You know, to let them know I've been offered a job and see if they would be interested. If so, I can step out of the way and let them interpret for the job instead. I’m also thinking about students and newly graduated interpreters of color. I can mentor them, work with them on their platform interpreting skills. So I'm thinking about that. Plus, now I got your number, Regina.

Regina: Right! You know where to find me. A few other things: You're right. Sometimes we don’t realize that in accepting a job, we know that we have to follow the Interpreter's Code of Professional Conduct and all those rules, and that's great!... but sometimes we just have to change our mindset and think about what’s best for the community. What's best for diversity, best for the Deaf community? And how can we support them and their advancement? That’s key here. We need to figure out how to give them a leg up. Many people of color, Black, Indian, Muslim, Asian, etc. I mean, really, the list goes on and on. They have amazing talent. The question is how we can support them. White people get many amazing opportunities, whereas we’re sitting here like, "Hey! Help us out!" First of all, now you know what to do going forward. If someone says you picked them just for the color of their skin, I would say, "I’m here to offer you mentoring, feedback, support, whatever you need." Then they may feel like, "Oh, well, she’s got my back. She knows I have talent and she’s here to help me out." It's a support system. We have to work together. Many people don’t recognize that. It’s not about tokenism, it’s about supporting and helping them get to a point of recognition. The beauty of it is, we won’t be abandoned. We won’t feel abandoned. It’s not about taking advantage, it’s more like offering others a hand. Raising them up. It’s like that crab theory, pulling everyone down, saying they can’t do this and that. That needs to stop right now. This is where the community needs to hear and see. See? She just recognized the next step. We need to pull each other up. If someone has a bad reputation, help them out. Have some heart. Benefit of the doubt, because everyone deserves a second chance. Everyone deserves any help we can get. Every little piece of wisdom, we all need from each other. We don’t have time to bitter each other up, or fight with each other. This is 2019, soon 2020, when will all of this stop?

So now, that leads me to the open letter that was sent out. First, I will say this, I know the letter was sent, it was not written by me. I feel conflicted here. I get it they meant well, supporting me. But at the same time, let me do the talking. Let me do the signing. Let me put myself out there. Let me be the front runner. But by them taking over, it didn’t leave anything for me to say. It didn’t allow me to think through things myself. It felt more like I was under pressure to respond. I don't need that. We as people of color need to be on the front line. Those who want to advocate and encourage us need to take a seat. We love you all but let us have our spot. Let us have the floor, let us have our message. You mean well. I appreciate the thought that was behind the letter but... let our POC Community express our thoughts without taking over. It took me a long time to process it but at the same time, people want to show their emotional support. Thank you. I really do thank you for listening and checking in. I do know you mean well, but let us be. Because it is our time, our words, our thoughts, our message. Let us.

Nella: Thank you for that message.

Tarra: Deep breath!

Regina: I've already cried enough.

Tarra: Thank you, Regina. And thank you, Nella. MRID needs to apologize to you Regina, that you experienced that going to Camp ASL. Nella, your experience, Regina your experience, it was a tough weekend. I apologize that you went through that. I know you were looking forward to a fun weekend at Camp, playing musical/light chairs your favorite game.

Nella: Spoons tournament!

Tarra: Spoons!

Regina: Yes, spoons tournament was the best!

Tarra: Right, spoons tournament was great! But then that situation happened and we as a Board and me as President, we didn't intervene in that moment. We waited trying to figure out what to do and ended up doing nothing. So now we know, we’re learning. We're all learning. We have a full white board, we’re still learning. We’re from Minnesota. We're learning.

Regina: Yeah, "Minnesota Nice."

Tarra: Well, in talking with you, talking with interpreters of color, getting their advice and help. Thank you for your energy, time, patience, going through this with us has really taught us a lot, and it really has only just begun. I’m excited for the conversations going forward. The MRID Board did meet, and talked about what to do going forward. We will be using you and other interpreters of color as our guide. Now we have an action plan, and that feels good. We have a list of things we’re going to do, it’s nice to see it written out. Rather than saying "Oh we will eventually do these things," it’s just nice to have something down on paper. I’m excited to work with you and others, I’m happy this is happening.

Regina: I’m glad we’re talking about this right now because we finally have something concrete that can be done and successfully done.

Nella: Right. I’m hoping that interpreters who are watching this now aren't just thinking,"Oh I will make different choices in the future,"but really, I would say make a different decision starting today. Now, right now.

Tarra: Thank you.

Regina: I'm touched. I love you!

All: Love you!

Tarra: Thank you for watching.

Regina: Yes, thank you.

Tarra: We’re excited for important dialogue in the future. Thanks again! Bye!


Hello, I'm Nic Zapko, one of the MRID Board members and serving as the Communications Director.


We've got an exciting announcement for membership!

Now we finally have the ability to do auto-renewal for your membership. For so long we've had to manually renew every year, and with our lives nowadays, it's easy to forget among all the busyness.

Now you can go to (under your profile) and click on the "Change" button next to your membership level. At that point, you should be given the option to switch to the auto-renew membership level. If you select the auto-renew option, it means that it will automatically take your payment yearly (2020, 2021, etc). Keep in mind that with this cool feature, you can change your mind at any time and go back to manually paying yearly. This is also completely optional for you. If you feel like you want one less thing to worry about, but want to make sure you stay an MRID member make the change today.

At this time, Student and Supporting membership renewal will still be done manually, but Certified and Associate members can take advantage of this great perk and have peace of mind.

If you have any questions or need clarification about the process, email

Enjoy your Spring!


Dear Communities,

The Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC) and the The Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (MRID) would like to make a joint statement about discussions around HF 2634 and SF 2702.


We have recently received confirmation from Representative Daniels, Senator Hoffman, and Sonny Wasilowski that HF 2634 and SF 2702 will not be heard this year, and therefore not move forward this legislative session.

Our boards recognize how impactful this proposition was to our communities. We also acknowledge that there are members of our organizations who have publicly either supported or opposed the bill, and we understand that there are layers of history, emotion, and logic tied to licensing for sign language interpreting. We also respect that there have been ongoing discussions and work-groups that led to the development of this bill and an overarching acknowledgement of the need for continued evolution and growth of the work we do.

We appreciate the opportunity to clarify what involvement we've had in this process. Sonny Wasilowski reached out to our presidents, John Fechter and Tarra Grammenos a few weeks ago. They were given a rough draft of the bill and offered the opportunity to provide feedback. Due to the sensitivity of the topic and tight timeline, the boards of both organizations were not fully involved with the creation or the drafting of this bill. Any opinions or perspectives that have been implied as being on behalf of either entity are unwarranted.

MADC and MRID acknowledge that we have been selected to represent an incredible and engaged membership. We are committed to continuing this conversation around the idea of establishing a sign language interpreting license for the state of Minnesota, a board of sign language interpreters and transliterators, and the current language of the proposed bill, through the use of public forums and data collection throughout the year.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to MADC President, John Fechter at or MRID President, Tarra Grammenos at

MADC & MRID Board of Directors


Hello! MRID is thrilled to host the upcoming Spring Conference, Saturday and Sunday, April 6th and 7th at Metro Deaf School's brand new building! The conference is 9am - 4pm both days, includes lunch, and is worth 1.0 RID CEUs.


The two-day conference is called "The Art of Teaming: Deaf and Hearing Interpreter Teams." We have two fantastic presenters from Chicago - June Prusak and Ann Wohlmoth. June and Ann have worked together for several years and we're excited to learn from them!

Registration is online at You'll notice two different prices; $120 for certified interpreters, and $80 for non-certified interpreters and students. Everyone is invited! Whether you're an experienced interpreter, newly graduated, still a student, or even a deaf community member debating whether or not to pursue becoming a CDI, you're invited! We're there to work together for two days with a variety of lecture, group activities, discussions, and much more! Hope to see you there!


Hi welcome to the MRID Update. I am Nic Zapko, a director on the board of MRID. I am sure many of you are wondering how things are progressing with the new changes of position on the board over the last two months, January and February.


We are grateful for your support during this change. Previously we had 11 board members and have just recently made the change to 7 Directors.

So what have we been up to? In December all board members participated in a two day retreat where we had great conversation regarding our organization, how it will be run looking forward, what members want from us and more.

We looked into the history of MRID itself, as well as the history of the field of interpreting and Deaf history and know that our work in doing this will help us moving forward, and will help us keep you updated as we go.

During our monthly board meetings, we have discussed what are traditions to MRID, such as Deaf Awareness Day and having both a spring conference, camp ASL, and fall conference.

We have also looked at each 7 Directors positions, clarified each role and tasks and how to work together moving forward with those events and traditions. This organization has seen a tremendous change that will have long lasting effects- we are thrilled with the changes and what it will allow us to do individually as directors and as an organization.

We know many of you are looking forward to being involved in different committees with MRID, and we will be announcing those soon. If you have any questions or ideas, please stay in touch and let us know. Thank you!


MRID Fall Conference is coming up fast! It's happening October 26th - 28th at Breezy Point Resort. This conference is the perfect time to come together to catch up with old friends, and make new ones.


We have such a diverse community with a wide range of knowledge and experience, plus the fantastic lineup of presenters, some great discussion, and the ability to learn and grow from each other is really the point of the entire weekend.

Speaking of workshops, there are so many wonderful ones to choose from, it will be hard to decide! More than 15 presenters will be there over the weekend to teach us a wide variety of skills, tools, and resources to contribute to our professional growth. All workshops will be presented in ASL, which is great news!

The cost for this conference is $350 until September 30th. That includes 2.0 RID CEUs, 2 nights lodging - and I'll explain more about that: that price includes a double occupancy room with two people (2 beds). If you want to room with a specific person, be sure to put down their name while registering, and have them do the same. We will be sure to pair you up when assigning rooms. The rooms look like your typical hotel/resort rooms, not like camping in the woods. The resort is warm, cozy, and includes everything you need. Of course if you would prefer your own room, you can certainly do that by paying an extra $100.

The registration fee also includes 7 meals, and at $350 for all of that, it's such a great deal! You don't want to miss out on the early bird price - it ends Sept 30th! After October 1st, price will go up to $380, only $30 more! We already have over 100 signed up, so grab your spot now. The entire list of presenters, workshop topics, prices, etc is listed on our website at, or on our Facebook page. The last day to register is October 22nd, so sign up now while you still can.

Oh! Have you seen our new t-shirt and sweatshirts? It's an awesome design! It's also a fundraiser for the conference, so be sure to buy one of those - last day for the online store is October 8th - once you buy online, you'll be able to pick up your shirts at the conference!

Hope to see you there!


[Visual Description: Two woman are sitting outside. Sydney is on the left wearing a black blouse and Nic is on the right wearing a black shirt and jacket.]


Sydney: Hello!

Nic: Hi!

Sydney: I’m Sydney Groven

Nic: And I’m Nic Zapko

Sydney: The two of us are part of the MRID Change Team. Nic, do you want to tell them what we’ve been up to?

Nic: At the upcoming fall conference, during the business meeting, the Change Team along with the Board of Directors will be presenting a motion related to the Board positions. Historically, we have had 11 positions. Our motion proposes 7 new positions, each with its own focus.

Sydney: And that brings us to the reason for this vlog. We want to introduce each new position along with a brief explanation of the role. The first position is all about communication. The Communications Director will be responsible for gathering any news or information from MRID and our greater community, and will get the word out. Our goal is to have more transparency in communication.

Nic: The next position is Membership Director. They will focus on maintaining a good rapport with our members, as well as keeping a pulse on our community throughout the entire state of Minnesota.

Sydney: Another focus will be on operations. This position will primarily be taking care of internal business, such as making sure tasks are completed, taking minutes, setting up meetings, etc. to keep MRID running smoothly.

Nic: Next up is Finance Director. They will be responsible for the budget and making sure MRID stays on track. They would also oversee any fundraising efforts.

Sydney: This next one is a new concept: Community Relations! It’s pretty cool. We all know Minnesota has many organizations focused on Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and interpreting too. Community Relations will work to create new partnerships and relationships with those organizations, as well as invite those groups to be involved with MRID.

Nic: Now, onto Programs Director. Their job will be overseeing any conferences, workshops, and providing a variety of trainings for all of you.

Sydney: I’m so excited to announce this last position: MRID Director! They will be keeping tabs on the organization as a whole, and will act as our liaison with RID. Plus, we hope they will be a visionary with ideas for the future of our organization. This is an exciting prospect!

Nic: So that’s all 7 positions. We hope that gives you more to think about as we approach the fall conference! We will discuss these positions more in depth during the business meeting. Stay tuned for our next vlog!

Sydney: Bye!

Nic: Bye!


[Visual Description: Two woman are sitting outside. Nic is on the left wearing a purple shirt and Megan is on the right wearing a black shirt.]

Nic: Hello, I’m Nic Zapko

Megan: Hello, I’m Megan Bolduc


Nic: We are two members from the Change Team. Our last VLOG update was about how our organization, MRID, has been in a slow decline and something must be done. The Change Team has been meeting regularly to figure out what that something could be. And then we noticed… Megan: Yes! We noticed the MRID has several opportunities for growth.

Nic: Exactly.

Megan: Nic, where do we begin?

Nic: Do you have ideas, Megan?

Megan: Well, we’ve noticed some issues with the current board structure; it’s preventing us from being as effective as we could be. At this point, we are supposed to have 11 board positions.

Nic: Right, 11-- that’s a lot.

Megan: Noticing this as a barrier, the Change Team recommends the MRID take this time to refocus our board positions. Instead we could have a board of 7, each person specializing in a specific arena. For example, an emphasis in communication,

Nic: along with membership, operations, etc. This change will allow the MRID to live up to membership expectations. Minnesota is huge and our board needs to match the diverse state of our community. It makes sense to move forward with 7 positions instead of 11.

Megan: Want to learn more about these 7 positions? Stay tuned for the next VLOG!

Nic: Bye!

Megan: Bye!


[Visual Description: Two woman are standing outside with grass and trees behind them. Melissa is on the left wearing a navy shirt and Nic is on the right wearing a black shirt.]

Both: Hello!!!

Melissa: I’m Melissa Mittelstaedt.

Nic: And I’m Nic Zapko.


Melissa: As a member of MRID, I’ve been involved with group called the Transition Team. We typically refer to it as the…

Nic: “TT” for short.

Melissa: Exactly. The Transition Team has been collecting data from all over Minnesota to try and figure out what MRID needs.

Nic: Kinda like taking a pulse of the community to see what’s been going on.

Melissa: Yeah, right. So, we set up focus groups to get the data, and also hosted a workshop at the Fall Conference with Darlene Zangara.

Nic: Yep, that happened last year.

Melissa: Right, last year. We used that time to collect even more information to add to our report. Once we completed our report, we handed it off to the Board of Directors.

Nic: Right, once we got it, the current [2018] board read through the report. It was pretty eye opening, but after discussing it, we agree with their findings. It’s sad to say, but it seems like MRID is on our way to a stage of decline and something needs to be done! We started brainstorming about how to turn it around and decided to establish a new team. This “Change” team now has five members, and let me tell you, these are some pretty amazing people! So, we’ve got Megan, Sydney, Katelyn, and us!

Melissa: Yep! And us!

Nic: This team has been getting together every week to brainstorm and strategize about how to get MRID back on the upward track so we’re alive and healthy again. That’s really been our focus lately.

Melissa: Yes! Look forward to more updates as we work toward the future of MRID! We’ll see what happens!

Nic: Yep! Just wait until the next VLOG!


Tarra: Hello, I’m Tarra Grammenos, President of MRID

John: Hi I’m John Fechter MADC’s President.

Tarra: Lately, several significant events have happened. We recognize that people are upset with RID’s recent CEO election. We also recognize the upset in the community over the outcomes of two major lawsuits in Minnesota which resulted in the courts deciding against the Deaf people involved.


We are here to show our commitment to improving the relationship between our Deaf and Interpreting communities here in MN.

John: Last July, I attended the NAD Conference with one other MADC representative. There was a lot of good discussion. Interpreting seemed to be a common point of interest in the conversations there. I plan to bring a lot of the information gleaned at the conference from workshops, dialogue, and activity back to MN for you.

Tarra: I just got back from Region III Conference. There, I met many people, learned from them, and am bringing all the information that I gathered back to MN.

John: Tarra and I have been working together this past year for our communities, and I’d like to highlight a few things we’ve done. 1. Supported University of MN’s College Bowl Team as they competed at NAD. 2. Provided mentoring for students at Camp ASL. 3. Partnered with the community for Spring Conference and held a Town Hall meeting there. From the info gathered at Spring Conference, we decided to establish a Task Force focused on interpreting. It’s already underway and you should hear more soon.

Tarra: We’ve already reached out to MADC to see how they can be involved with this year’s MRID Fall Conference and we’re already planning to be involved with MADC’s 2019 Fall Conference! We are committed to maintaining this partnership between our organizations.

John: Going back to when I mentioned the InterpretingTask Force, I wanted to say that if you have any stories, thoughts, or ideas please contact our (MN) MADC Task Force.

Tarra: Our contact information will be at the very end of this video. We’re here for you, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns for either of us.

Contact Information: MRID: MADC: (Attention to Interpreting Task Force)


HEY! Camp ASL is coming up quick, I’m so excited! Let me tell you about what it’s is going to look like.


But first, what’s all this white stuff still doing here?! It’s April! Hmm.. makes me wonder if we’ll have a snowy camp? I guess we’ll just have to see. If it does come, I know that it’ll be a blast!

Back to what’ll be at camp. It’s a silent weekend, of course, an opportunity for everyone to communicate in sign, but is that all? No! There’s so much more. We’ll have activities surrounding sign language, such as Classifiers and handshapes, as well as team building activities. Plus, we’ll have many presenters, all of them DEAF. They will be presenting on a variety of topics such as math, education, and culture. Feel free to check out all the details on our website. We will even have over 10 Deaf Mentors. doubling the involvement of Deaf persons this year.

This is a setting you don’t get every day. By coming, it’s your opportunity to gain cultural exposure, language, confidence, knowledge, conversational skills, and more.

Again, the whole weekend will be voices off and hands up. If you know ASL, you’re welcome to come! This event isn’t just for students or recent graduates, anyone is welcome. If you’re a hearing parent of a Deaf child, come! If you work with someone who is Deaf, come! Instructors? Come! Interpreters who have been in the field 10…30…40 years, COME! Everyone can come if you know ASL.

Our goal is to come together as a community and have a fun weekend. Go ahead and sign up! See you there!

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