CEO Statement By Terese Rognmo

The summer is here now - I am sure you are all ready to go out for a nice walk and enjoy the warm weather. As you may be aware that the COVID 19 is still around—it has not yet resolved. The governor Inslee has ordered that all people must wear the mask in the public setting; otherwise, the case of the COVID 19 will spike up higher than expected. Vancouver and Spokane are in Phase 2 while TriCities is in Phase 1. TriCities office will not accept any walk in clients, except for emails/text or any kind of virtual operation. Spokane staff can work with clients through the window inside the building as long as they are wearing the masks. Vancouver Office will not accept any walk in unless an appointment has been made in advance and wearing the mask is a must. Other than that, all sessions for the client services can be provided through VideoPhone, emails, text, Marco Polo, or others. The COVID 19 was not the only thing that changed people lives, but also Black Lives Matter (BLM). It is very unfortunately that George Floyd was killed by a white police who mishandled him physically. It has impacted many of us—more worms came out of the can unexpected. Is it a bad thing? No, it is a good thing for us because it is time for us to step out of the comfort zone.

WADHH staff and I do support Black Lives Matter because many Black people are in a high risk of being mishandled by the police in the public settings. It has been going on for 400 years, and it is time to break the vicious cycle. You may ask how do we plan to break the cycle? Two things we can do: First of all, unpacking our white privileges, and use our privileges to open the doors for POC’s who need to access to resources and services. Right now, they do not have equal access based on their color of skin. Secondly, we need to dismantle the systemic racism that is hurting POC communities. Our agency is in process of dismantling system racism as it is our goal to ensure that our services and resources are inclusive to all diverse community members. Another thing that happened to our WADHH recently is that we lost our funding for Senior Citizen Services due to the COVID 19. We were not able to do more work for seniors due to the technical difficulties. It has been a challenge to reach out seniors who do not have access to the internet, email, text or VP. However, we STILL provide case management upon the request of senior clients. We want to emphasize that Deaf, DeafBlind and HOH seniors are not forgotten, and our Community Advocate, Robin Traveller, will keep in contact with seniors to ensure that they have access to their needs. Until then, enjoy reading the newsletter. Stay safe, healthy. Remember, wash your hands, wear your mask and keep 6 feet distance in the public settings.

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Washington Advocates of Deaf & Hard of Hearing

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