July 7, 2020
State of Colorado: Signing the Times
During any emergency, all citizens should have equal access to information that potentially affects their lives. That’s why The IC has put such emphasis on emergency preparation for people with disabilities over the last several years. We not only created an Emergency Preparedness Guide, we have worked closely with state and local officials to ensure that shelters and alert and communication systems are accessible to all.
So we were only too happy to help when we were contacted by Sadie Martinez, Access and Functional Needs Coordinator with the Colorado Office of Emergency Management. Sadie wanted to know if we could produce a video of the Governor’s Safer-at-Home Order in American Sign Language (ASL) for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Sadie said she thought of The IC because “The Independence Center has resources as well as experience in offering information in multiple accessible formats.”
While The IC is not in the video production business, we felt it was important to be part of the solution and our team quickly jumped into action. During any other time, this project would have been as simple as setting up a colored backdrop, arranging the lights, and shooting video of an ASL signer while an ASL interpreter spoke into a microphone. But during a pandemic when everyone is working offsite, nothing is simple.
Gabe Taylor, The IC’s Marketing & Event Coordinator, had to do a little (well, a lot!) of problem-solving. With the help of our IT Generalist, Alex Witzenburg, Gabe worked through numerous technical issues to capture a remote video session with The IC’s ASL/English Interpreter Specialist, Naomi McCown, and Deaf interpreter, Kevin Harrer – who were miles away from each other in different cities. The video was then edited, captioned, and loaded to YouTube.
The state was pleased with the final product and The IC was thankful to be trusted with this important project. Of the partnership, Sadie said, “This is a true model to all of our Colorado communities, partners, and stakeholders related to opportunities about how we plan together, prepare together, and respond together.”
You can view the video at https://youtu.be/mLAZ1hb3TAA.