The Daily Moth 7-12-2018

July 13, 2018

Homeless Man Stabs Tourist; Dust Storm in Arizona; Iranian Women Dance to Support Teenager; ​Briefing on RID / NAD

Hi there! My name is Renca Dunn. I will be taking Alex’s place for today. Today is Thursday, July 12. Ready for some top news?




Homeless Man Stabs Tourist


One homeless man in Miami, Florida recently has been charged with stabbing a tourist walking by. This homeless man did not have any arms. How did he stab this tourist? He stabbed the tourist with his feet holding a pair of scissors. This man’s name is Jonathan Crenshaw. He is well known street artist that does painting with his feet. Crenshaw mentioned that the tourist, Cesar Coronado, punched Crenshaw in the head so he stabbed him out of self defense. Coronado explained that he only asked Crenshaw for directions before he was attacked. He was stabbed in the arm. Based on Crenshaw, the artist, his profile, it seems that he has been charged with violent attacks in the past. Some people have commented that Crenshaw’s artwork usually is very colorful and the selling price would begin at $60. Crenshaw has been charged with battery and $7,500 is set for bail.




Dust Storm in Arizona


A very large dust storm recently hit Phoenix, Arizona. This dust storm was approximately a mile high and moves fast. This kind of storm is called a haboob. That word is derived from an Arabic word “habb” which means wind which we call it “haboob”. Haboobs, the kind of dust storm, are common in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and Arizona. There is a monsoon happening right now in Arizona so haboobs are formed from thunderstorms. It is a mixture of thunder, rain, and wind altogether. When a thunder hits, the wind pushes from that thunderstorm then picks up the dirt or sand from the ground then continues to push out. In other words, the more thunders there are, the more stronger the haboob will be. So, it seems that this storm hit Phoenix recently and it was really strong. It turned from daylight to darkness for one hour. Phoenix Sky Harbor airport had to cancel some flights and delay many others. 30,000 people were without power. Some homes were damaged and a lot of powerlines fell down. People have mentioned that they have not seen this bad of a dust storm for a while now.  Scientists mentioned that it is almost like a moment in the planet Mars. Arizona and Mars have some similar features so when that storm hit recently, scientists said that Phoenix got a glimpse of Mars for a bit. Weather reporters are warning people that when a haboob comes, wherever you are, look for shelter or stay in your car. If you are driving, pull over and turn off the engine. Do not signal any light while parked because that will cause the other drivers to misunderstand thinking that they can follow you, but end up crashing into you. Pull over to the side and wait for the storm to pass. The wind is 50 to 70 miles per hour so the haboob usually passes away in about an hour or less.




Iranian Women Dance to Support Teenager


Maede Hojabri, an 18 years old gymnast, who lives in Iran posted an Instagram video of herself dancing. Iran has a strict law about modesty. Iranian women are not allowed to dance except in front of their families. So, when Maede posted a video of her dancing to Iranian and Western music without her hijab and then it went viral, she was arrested. She has 51,000 followers on Instagram. Last week, Maede had to make a public apology on TV, but people have commented that they think she was forced to do that. Maede mentioned that she was only trying to gain more followers. When that happened, a big outpour of Iranian women posted themselves dancing in various places like in front of a mosque, the park, restaurant, and some other areas. Their hashtag is #dancingisnotacrime. One Iranian activist and blogger posted that “if you tell anyone in this world that girls of 17 to 18 years old age are getting arrested for simply their beauty, the joy of dancing, and taking that as a crime of prostitution, and then the predators of children are free, they will laugh because it is not possible to believe it!” This is not the first time that it has happened. In 2014, Iran sentenced six young men and women for one year in prison and taking 91 lashes for dancing to the song “Happy” by Pharrell. Also, just now the news announced that another person was flogged 80 times yesterday in Iran for drinking alcohol 10 years ago.




Briefing on RID / NAD


One of the hot topics that happened at the NAD conference was a motion made by the DC Association of the Deaf (DCAD) to start a new organization to replace the RID (Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf).


This was a result of frustration by some in the Deaf community over RID’s recent selection of a new CEO, who is a hearing man, over a deaf woman.


The RID also was thrown into controversy in recent weeks after a large Deaf nonprofit organization, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), revealed that RID’s former interim executive director for three years, Anna Witter-Merithew, had a side job of being an expert witness to testify in court cases involving Deaf people.


In one of the cases, she testified against a Deaf couple who was eventually not successful in their lawsuit. She said in a 2016 deposition (official “court” interview) she earned $150 to $200 an hour to be an expert witness.


This prompted the NAD President Melissa Draganac-Hawk to write an open letter to RID demanding them to apologize and to take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.


The RID President Melvin Walker responded saying they would prohibit their staff and board members from doing this and disavowed (rejected) any previous expert witness reports.


They defended themselves by saying Witter-Merithew’s work in the court cases was separate from her contract-based work with RID.


Now, let’s go back to the proposal to replace RID.


After the three days of delegate meeting with feedback, the original proposal was modified to the final proposal, which no longer mentions RID and keeps the focus broad: set up a new body of certifying interpreters (includes code of ethics, testing and screening interpreters, and certifying).


The Delegates voted to refer the motion to the ADHOC interpreting committee under NAD. Bobbie Beth Scoggins is the chair of that committee. They will make recommendations for the next NAD Board meeting this fall.


The NAD also made it one of their priorities for the next two years to restore the community’s confidence in the interpreting profession.


We reached out to Robert Rice, the DCAD President, via email on his thoughts on the proposal and its changes.


RR: “We are confident that the NAD interpreting ad hoc committee, with its 450 years of combined experience, will be able to strategically determine the best way forward.”


We reached out to Melvin Walker, RID President, for comment via email. I will show you a few excerpts of his responses.


The first question was his thoughts on the DCAD proposal.


MW: “While we obviously do not support a proposal that seeks to abolish RID, we are grateful for the passion that was displayed by all the people involved in its deliberation - and we hope that those who are passionate about change in the interpreting field will join us as we commit to systemic change and progress forward.”


The second question was on if the RID had any regrets about Witter-Merithew’s actions in court cases.


MW: “In regards to Ms. Witter-Merithew's case, there are two aspects.  The first is her specific actions with respect to the cases. We have already said that she was not an employee, and we had no control over her actions outside of her duties to RID. We are grateful for her service to RID; she did an exemplary job for RID in a great time of need.


The second point is that we are not legal experts; RID is reluctant to insert itself improperly into a legal case, and say, "This person's statement is incorrect," or "This person's statement is correct."  That would open RID to legal action separate from the case at hand - and that would be a distraction from the very real issues that are at the heart of the case - communication access for Deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind people.”


The third question was on how RID can continue to have the confidence of the Deaf community and interpreting professionals after recent controversies.


MW: “It is clear that the RID needs to build confidence both of the NAD, the broader Deaf community, and the interpreting community. We seek to do this by actively listening to concerns and making sure all stakeholders are welcome to help us chart our course forward.”


We also reached out to NAD’s CEO Howard Rosenblum and asked him for his thoughts about this as well.


The first question we asked was if  NAD was aware about the Anna Witter-Merrithew situation before CSD announced it or if NAD found out through CSD’s announcement.


HR: NAD became aware about the situation with Anna as an expert witness before the CSD story because of the legal issues that were raised in those cases. Before the CSD posted its story, one website posted the transcript and reports from the Anna case, and anyone can look at these. That website posted the transcript and reports first then CSD posted their video, but CSD was more of an interview approach. Given that this important information became public, the NAD decided to send a public letter to RID.


The second question we asked on what Howard’s thoughts were on the COR meeting related with DCAD’s proposal.


HR: The NAD Board and staff prefer to allow the delegates to share their thoughts on what happened during the COR meeting. There are vlogs from delegates that viewers can watch to understand different perspectives. One such vlog was done by Justin Vollmar. Vollmar himself was one of the delegates that was there during the meeting.


HR: Related with the motion, NAD has a system with a deadline of how and when people can submit their motions. This recent deadline for people to submit motions was May 22. DCAD submitted a priority motion after the deadline, and created a website and advertised about that motion. This is outside the normal decorum for delegates.

The COR meeting was very intense because delegates were trying to understand the implications of DCAD’s motion. The motion had some valid goals, but there were a lot of disagreements about how to achieve those goals.


Rather than vote for it as a priority, the delegates chose to refer the DCAD proposal to the Ad Hoc Committee, which will look at what our options are. There are many possibilities as to what the NAD will do to address the interpreter certification problem.


The third question we asked about what Howard’s thoughts were on RID’s response to NAD’s open letter.


HR: I cannot give an answer now. The board is still discussing about this so I will have to hold the answer until we are ready to give a response.


The fourth question we asked was what is the next step for NAD after this situation.


HR: During the COR meeting, the delegates voted to ask that the NAD give a report within 6 months based on the  recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee. What does that look like? We are not sure yet. It depends on the recommendations. We will have a board meeting this fall. From there, we will announce what the NAD will do regarding interpreter certification.


NAD Open letter


RID open letter


CSD interview


Justin Vollmar vlog:


Court transcripts (links via NAD):


2014.10.22 Saunders – Witter-Merithew Expert Rebuttal Report


2016.09.02 Durand – ECF No. 62-19 WM


2016.09.30 Durand – ECF No. 73-1 Witter-Merithew Dep. Transcript


2017.01.18 Durand – ECF No. 104 Mem. Granting D’s SJ




That’s all for today! See you tomorrow! Stay with the light.


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