Before you read further, please review this: http://www.ada.gov/comprob.htm
2014 – a year of many elections in the USA and other countries too. Are you candidates and politicians aware of our needs for real time caprtioning? Ask for it now, for their events in person, for their media on television and on the Internet. Begin the conversation soon, it will take time. CCAC members are here to advise and help (if you join the CCAC, you speak to all in the members’ forum online). Keep this in mind – your voice counts, your vote counts!
Your local, state, or national government needs to include you, and, in general, these organizations are not making it easy. In the U.S., for example, several CCAC members are asking for captioning inclusion for town meetings, a special form of democracy where voters of a town meet face-to-face to discuss issues and make decisions. This is very important, yet it is not easy to get access to captioning for these kinds of meetings. With captioning streamed online, it can be done! Some towns have already started this, and we say thanks.
Here are some reasons why CART and captioning in government are important:
- To lead the way for all citizens by setting best standards for equality and inclusion.
- To reduce discriminatory gaps which now still exclude many able citizens (who happen to be deaf, deafened, have a hearing loss, or need quality text for many other good reasons) from regular and important government meetings, workshops, rallies, advisory committees, and public input to city, state, or federal bodies.
- To set the standard high, so all sectors can share the benefits as well as the responsibilities that come with full citizenship participation. To participate means to contribute and give back.
- To recruit and involve volunteers in local, state, and national initiatives among people with different hearing needs. If these many able citizens have the tools, they will be able to contribute more than currently where resources are missing or irregular.
- To teach about citizenship and voting responsibilities – a most essential part of government. CART and quality captioning help all, not only people with hearing differences, but also new citizens learning a new language.
- To establish effective communication with all communities and constituencies, and reduce the mass media digital divide. \
- To educate elected and non-elected government representatives about the challenges and contributions of individuals with many forms of hearing loss and deafness. Most do not use sign language, contrary to popular understanding. When “hearing” members of government are aware of resources for inclusion of all, they become better public servants also.
- To lobby for further legislation and reduction of barriers to make access a truly achievable goal.
- BECAUSE IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.
The CCAC is looking for examples of best practice for use of captioning in government. Please send these to firstname.lastname@example.org so that they can be included here with the following:
- When a deaf man was dismissed from a jury in Syracuse, NY, the court system later decided to make accommodations for future deaf jurors so that they could also participate as peers in judgment: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2010/10/after_deaf_oswego_man_dismisse.html
- CART was included in July 2010 on the lawn of the White House for the 20th Anniversary celebration of the ADA – laws for inclusion of all able citizens. Captions were also Included on the video online when President Obama signed the 21st Century Telecommunications Act.
- The small town of Stonington, Maine provided CART for a town meeting at one time, for inclusion of a valued community citizen.
- In Ireland, CART is used by the Wicklow County Council (in the chamber and also streamed online).
- CART is also used for some committee meetings in the Houses of Parliament in England.
Can you add examples from your state legislature? From your town meetings? From meetings of candidates for elections?
Sections of the above were prepared for the CCAC by Martha Galindo and Galindo Publicidad Inc., 2900 University Drive Second Floor, Coral Springs FL 33065., U.S.A. See their blog at Translations And More.