Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Without Struggle, There is No Progress

They say to go ahead and ASK for help for it is NOT a sign of weakness but a sign of STRENGTH! Struggle is real and happens everyday.

Here goes my recent struggling story and I am sharing to educate and to ask for your HELP especially when I am confused with intentions of the company I have high expectations of.

Some of you consider me successful but I am really struggling with the fact that I am Deaf and people out there do not believe in Deaf people's abilities and how beautiful our culture and language is. Some people are awesome with embracing our language and work hard with granting access. 

It is not some ignorant people's fault to try and keep us out of their way. Having deaf people might mean they have to stretch their neck a bit.... paying for interpreters? YIKES!

But what do we, deaf people, do other than begging for them to check ADA law out? We hate being BOSSY!

Usually, if the organization is really on a low budget, I would pardon them for not providing interpreters BUT if they are MULTIMILLIONAIRES and say that they are "small organization" and cannot pay for interpreters. CRAP... I am being blunt here because this world deserves better treatment among humans.

Yep- I bought an exclusive and EXPENSIVE training recently with a company that I have been admiring for many years. Here is what happened...

As a coach, I work closely with people and their fitness goals but then other coaches joined my team. I wanted to become a better leader so that the coaches on my team can become successful in their businesses with my support. (Before you think its beachbody, It is NOT! Beachbody captions EVERYTHING and gives me call in number so that I can call in using Convo video relay service. Beachbody makes my Deaf team and myself feel like we are really valuable. I mean... every single person deserves access to fitness and nutrition.

This story is about a stand alone entrepreneur outside of Beachbody. It is NOT beachbody (to make sure you understand this.)

So, I decided to invest myself into a lot of trainings with this unnamed company however they had many videos that I had to miss out on, over the past 4 years. I was okay with it because the videos were free. I can't choose but I hired my friends to interpret for me. I didn't have much money but I wanted to invest in my business and this was "expenses" that I was proud of. I loved their stuff and I send them messages on a regular basis telling them that I am Deaf and that there are many other Deaf people interested in her trainings.

Just this summer... I made a huge investment in a big online training that leads up to a LIVE training.

Since I paid thousands, I thought this multimillionaire would take me seriously and provide American with Disabilities Act service that is required anywhere. (FYI: Employers laws are different... there would be a certain number of employees before they would be required to provide interpreters but for things like a training or service that is open to public to BUY in... they are supposed to hire professional interpreters.)

They didn't caption the videos. Money and Time talk. I even gave them different referrals on resources for captioning but they can easily hire somebody to edit the voice captioning technology on youtube because you know how that can mess up what a person is really saying. LOL

I let that go and asked for transcripts instead.

They did it slowly but with a lot of hassle and evidently didn't put it on priority because I can just feel it. I don't feel like they consider me a valuable citizen.

My feelings were hurt but I was used to it as my family is carrying 8th Deaf generation.. we are used to this kind of thing.

Next, I asked for interpreters so that I can attend the LIVE event.

They scrambled around and asked me to bring my friends to interpret a FULL weekend training... 3-4 days with 8 hours each.

And in exchange, those friends will be "attending this training" for free.

I couldn't ask friends to come with me miles away from home to interpret for me.. It meant they have to take time off work and then where would they sleep? It would become a HUGE burden on me while I am supposed to be FOCUSED on my content.. on developing myself to become a better leader for my Deaf community.

I told myself to be stronger... even if it felt so UNCOMFORTABLE begging for interpreters to be provided even from a company can clearly afford it.

I asked for professional interpreters so that I don't beg friends to interpret something that I PAID for. As a Deaf person, I deserve full access.

I mean... my local library provides interpreters for little one hour events and they are really low on money.
It is just a RIGHT thing to do.

Right thing to do. Just the RIGHT thing to do for all millionaires to do.

I explained and pleaded... they said they are small company and cannot provide interpreters. Scratching head.

I didn't want to beg anymore because I didn't feel valued by them.

I felt embarrassed and confused at how they would not be PROUD to do the right thing and provide accommodations. Right thing to do?

With crying an UGLY cry, I called them and asked for a refund and they gave it to me really QUICKLY.

Thats it? They just want to get me out of their HANDS. They didn't want to deal with hiring interpreters despite the fact this "person" has so much MONEY... Interpreters would probably cost them 2-3 k dollars and this training would have added so much value to Deaf people through my leadership.

I really wanted this training. I really liked the style. I was ready for this to happen at that time.

I cried for almost 2 weeks. *Whenever my kids aren't looking, just ask my husband!*

Why would a multimillionaire leader do this?

When I have money, I really will remember this experience and not make ANYBODY feel the way I felt when asking for my refund after all the pleading to get my accommodation.

What am I to do next? Focus on what works and thrive! Will I go back to this company and give them a chance?

YES_ I believe in changes of hearts BUT sometimes people takes longer than others to finally realize spending money on ASL interpreters or accommodations isn't that bad and its tax write off as usual! Gee!

One day at a time. One barrier at a time.

I am okay right now but thought I would share this story because I know many of you are blooming Deaf leaders seeking awesome resources out there to learn from and to bring back to our Deaf community.

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