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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!

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!

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!

Jakey Lingle - Camp ASL Mentor!
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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