Open Letter: Certified Deaf Interpreters at COVID-19 Press Conferences

DC Association of the Deaf (DCAD)


Honorable Mayor Muriel Bowser

John A. Wilson Building

1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 600

Washington, DC 20004

March 23, 2020

Dear Mayor Bowser,


On behalf of all of us at the DC Association of the Deaf (DCAD), thank you for employing Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs) at all of your COVID-19 press conferences and ensuring the clear visibility of the interpreter during the entire duration of the press conference. During this time of crisis, humankind looks to leaders and helpers like you for hope and guiding light. We are profoundly grateful that your administration invests in Deaf talent and the unique skill of CDIs to make emergency information as accessible as possible to users of American Sign Language.


DC Deaf residents, workers, students, and visitors especially appreciate your continued effort to ensure that the CDI is clearly visible. Too often, we see other CDIs cut out of the frame, blocked by bystanders, or experiencing other problems comparable to audio being cut off. Thank you for ensuring full access to the critical information you are providing to the citizens of DC.


By taking the step of always working with a CDI at your emergency briefings, you help make DC the gold standard for accessibility in press conferences.


DCAD stands ready to offer our support and guidance to the Executive Office of the Mayor in communicating with all DC residents. For example, we are producing multiple informative videos on DC resources at and all of our social media channels in the coming days. A video has been posted yesterday about the emergency COVID-19 bill, with over 2,500 views and 25+ shares. We would value any opportunity to coordinate further.

Thank you from all of us at DCAD.


With gratitude,

Graham Forsey, DCAD President, and the DCAD Board,

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