Well, well-- I went and came back home!
The 2009 RID conference was conducted in Philadelphia, PA. It was definitely an experience!
I enjoyed meeting other Deaf interpreters and found myself inspired and more motivated about Deaf interpreting. As always, it was nice to see old faces! It got weird for a minute when I realized that I am now a peer to my old interpreters from my high school-- "Hey! I am one of you now!" But it's all good-- I didn't get to see everybody because almost three thousands people attended-- so it was one BIG conference and one big flurry of faces in the hallways!
I tried to use every minute available for every workshop available, to meet people and socialize, but in the end, the conference just wiped me out-- I had to take a break a couple of times to just kick back in the hotel room with my classmates. So on one or two days, I didn't take the opportunity to go to the second Deaf Caucus get-together and one Deaf-related workshop. Disappointed, but I wish the schedule would be better-organized so everybody can have a breather in between workshops. I have heard that this year's conference is different from the past conferences and it is all for the best, so perhaps we shouldn't complain... nonetheless-- hey, RID conference-planners? for 2010, consider about giving us longer breaks in between workshops! It is hard to grab a lunch WITHIN an hour when you are hurrying past a flurry of familiar faces who want to say "HI, HI! HI!" and back for the next workshop!
As you may know, Deaf Caucus has a new team which I look forward to see their plans and actions unfolding for next two years! Check them out at http://riddeafcaucus.wordpress.com/
One point that was brought up at the conference that I thought worthy is about the membership of other organizations in addition to their RID membership. As a member of an organization, one should support other organizations that share the same goals as your organization, namely NAD (National Association of the Deaf). At the opening ceremony, the presidents of NAD and RID, Bobbie Beth Scoggins and Cheryl Moose respectively, came on-stage together to sign an memorandum of understanding. People said that one should be a member of BOTH organizations because both organizations need all members to affirm and support the ally. I thought this to be a valid point...
But then what about all other organizations whose presidents that didn't walk up on the stage with Bobbie and Cheryl? I want you to acknowledge that there are other organizations that need our support and membership as well-- just to name a few: Canada's Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC), World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) and many more that I am hoping you can help me naming.
Right now, the membership fees for (using my case as an example) a student/certified interpreter/individual for various organizations are:
- NAD (National): Student $25, Interpreter Member Section (optional) $5 = 35$
- NAD (Chapter): for example District of Columbia Chapter DCAD, Student $10
- RID (National): Student $30 (uncertified), Certified Member $120-ish but this is not listed on their website
- RID (Chapter): for example Potomac Chapter PCRID - Certified $30 or Student $15 (certified or not?)
- WASLI: Individual $50 = $50
- WFD: Individual, 50 euros ($70-ish)
- AVLIC: their website's down :( so I cannot investigate for their membership fee.
To support just NAD and RID at both levels, national and affiliate, a typical student who happens to be certified would have to pay $195 annually. If one wants to support all organizations such as WASLI and WFD, the total cost for annual memberships would be $315. WHEW! Well, I can't speak for everybody, but my status as a graduate student lacking a handsome salary annually make my piggy bank trembling in fear at the sight of those membership fees!
With so many choices out there to join and become a member of their organization, we have a hard decision to choose which organization to best invest our membership into. With that said, I hope you do not judge somebody if they fail to be a member of your favorite organization... just keep it mind that they made their choices and you should respect their choices just as they respect your choices of membership.
I hope in the future, there can be a sliding scale fee for students or interpreters who are working full-time/part-time /unemployed, maybe staff/freelance, and based on their state's GDP, so they can pay a membership fee that doesn't break their piggy bank. WASLI uses this mechanism to use each country's GDP to serve as a sliding scale for individual membership ranging from US$3.00 to US$50.00.
Here I go, rambling on and on!
Anyway, as I said in the beginning, the RID 2009 conference is definitely an experience that serves as a learning lesson for me as a Deaf interpreter and I want to thank you all for the inspiration and motivation which comes in a nick of time as I am about to start my second year as a graduate student in the Interpretation program!!!
THANK YOU ALL!