#WhereIsTheIntepreter campaign – 2020
A sponsored walk to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters for UK Government COVID-19 briefings and news broadcasts.
When the UK Government announced that it will begin holding daily briefings again in October and with no confirmation of providing a live platform BSL interpreter, Lynn Stewart-Taylor, founder of the #WhereIsTheInterpreter campaign, decided it was time to take action!
Galvanising the deaf community, including deaf and interpreting organisations, the campaign has brought the community together to fight for equal access for deaf people.
Lynn explains, “We are preparing to apply to the courts for the release of the UK Government’s equality impact assessments of its coronavirus briefings. Number 10 is yet to respond to claims sent at the start of May.
Over 260 pre-action letters were sent to Downing Street by law firm Fry Law, requesting compensation for the lack of a BSL interpreter at the Government’s press conferences on COVID-19.
I’m disappointed that Downing Street has not acknowledged the letters of claim.
I will not give up!
Who’s with me to prepare the next action?
The #WhereIsTheInterpreter walk aims to promote the campaign further to and bring the deaf community together in support!
We want to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of British Sign Language (BSL) interpretation for the deaf community. BSL interpreters should be available for all live briefings at any time, for any announcement, but especially throughout the pandemic.
Unlike other home nations (as well as countries across the world), the only access deaf BSL users had to the daily COVID-19 briefings that Prime Minister, Boris Johnson held earlier this year was via the BBC News Channel. Deaf BSL viewers without digital technology had no access to this critical information in their first or preferred language.
Furthermore, it would have shown that equality and parity to information is paramount, it’s a simple measure that would have enabled myself and other members of the deaf community to feel equal.”
Taking inspiration and invaluable support from ‘2 Deaf Foot’, Lynn and other campaign supporters were originally planning start their walk from Cardiff in Wales and make their way to No 10 Downing Street.
Cardiff being a significant and poignant location as the Welsh Government has been consistent in ensuring excellent access for the deaf community of Wales to their COVID-19 briefings.
Due to Cardiff being affected by lockdown restrictions, the starting point for the walk has changed to Gloucester Deaf Association; commencing on 3rd October 2020.
A route to London has been planned with designated stops along the way where it is hoped that members of local deaf communities will be able to take part in the walk (in compliance with current government guidelines at the time).
Once in London, the plan is for a representative from an historic campaign established in the 1980’s to co-deliver the letter along with a young deaf activist, at Number 10.
All monies raised will go directly towards supporting the campaign.
Please donate, every penny helps. This is not only for our generation but for future deaf generations, to protect and promote equality and parity to information.