NAJIT Advocacy Day | May 22nd, 2017

NAJIT goes to the Hill!

In conjunction with our Annual Conference, NAJIT is coordinating an Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. NAJIT will be scheduling a group visit to Capitol Hill.

This is your lobby day, when you meet with your US Representatives, US Senators or their aides at their offices on the Hill. You need to have scheduled your appointments with plenty of time ahead. You can learn about how to contact your legislators through our Advocacy Webinars.

Preparation:

In preparation for our advocacy efforts, Milena Calderari-Waldron and Helen Eby, co-chairs of the NAJIT Advocacy Committee, will lead a series of webinars to teach language professionals how to advocate for the profession. The information provided will be based on their experience interacting with government officials and their success in advocating for change in Oregon and Washington State.

The cost to attend the training session is free for NAJIT Active members. The presenters are giving these presentations pro bono. Registration is required to attend.

Overarching goal:

To train interpreters on advocacy at the national level so that the individual language professional feels empowered to continue to advocate at the state and local government level.

Advocacy priorities:
  • Always use credentialed interpreters and translators.
  • Distribute the T&I Descriptions document.
  • Promote use of consensus-based standards such as ASTM and ISO. The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act requires government agencies to participate and adhere to industry standards.
  • Allow professional associations to negotiate group health insurance so their members, who may be independent contractors, can have access to plans similar to those currently covering employees.
Desired results of our advocacy effort:

Become the go-to resource on translation and interpreting issues for our legislators.

ADVOCACY DAY DETAILS
Advocacy:

When you advocate…

  • People view you as a subject matter expert and start to consult with you.
  • Your colleagues develop a stronger bond of trust with you when you represent them on issues they’re concerned about.
  • You see issues from the point of view of the person you are addressing. This enriches your understanding of the profession.

Advocacy is not necessarily tied to political parties. Legislators consult with experts in every other industry on professional issues. Other professionals (doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, insurance agents) are present when laws and regulations that affect their work are being discussed. This is how practitioners advocate for their profession. Interpreters and translators need to contribute their subject matter expertise with the same authority. If we are not present, others will provide uninformed opinions and we will suffer the consequences.

Advocacy Webinars:

Duration: Each webinar is expected to last two hours.

Part
Time
Topic
Part 1
March 2nd at 10:00 pm EST / 7 pm PSTAdvocacy 101: How to get an appointment at a legislator’s office? How do you make the conversation meaningful? What should you bring?
Part 1
March 9th at 7:00 pm EST / 4:00 pm PSTAdvocacy 101: How to get an appointment at a legislator’s office? How do you make the conversation meaningful? What should you bring?
Part 2
March 16th at 10:00 pm EDT / 7 pm PDTMeeting with legislators: What is an actual visit like? How to dress and how to act. What happens after the appointment? How do you know that your visit made a difference?
Part 2
March 23rd at 7:00 pm EDT / 4 pm PDTMeeting with legislators: What is an actual visit like? How to dress and how to act. What happens after the appointment? How do you know that your visit made a difference?
May 19th - 21stNAJIT Annual Educational Conference
May 22ndVisit the Hill together!
Presenter Bios:

Milena Calderari-Waldron is a WA State Court and DSHS Medical & Social Services Certified Spanish Interpreter. She began advocating for interpreting quality and improved working conditions first as board member of WITS and NOTIS and now as the Secretary of Interpreters United Local 1671 AFSCME Council 28/AFL-CIO. She has been involved in the drafting of legislation and regulations and has spoken to legislators at several public hearings regarding proposed legislation concerning interpreters.

In 2012, Helen Eby advocated for a raise in the rates for court interpreters in Oregon, which resulted in the first raise for court interpreters in over 15 years. As a founding member of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters and first President, she helped draft a document to deliver to her representatives in DC. She has also been involved in negotiating changes to the laws and regulations regarding medical interpreting in Oregon. In 2015, she co-authored a document with descriptions of interpreters and translators that has been endorsed by nine professional associations.