I moved to Wyoming several years ago. I was shocked, there was no language access at all. I went through many terrible experiences while seeking access. I searched and searched. No resources and every door slammed in my face. Then DeafIS found me. DeafIS gave my life back with full language access. Full language access gives my life joy.
I Learned in Wyoming, our deaf community can still be evicted, fired and denied services based on who they are and who they love. We do not accept this. Wyoming can do better, and we will keep fighting until all Wyomingites can live free of discrimination.
Now, I work to make every resource and every door open to the Deaf community in Wyoming.
We moved to Wyoming due to the beauty of the outdoors. But I was shocked at the lack of access to qualified communication needs in the rural area of Western Wyoming. I thought this was the way of life since we live in a small town. Until I had to take one of my children to the Emergency Room at the hospital during the COVID period. Everyone in the medical setting was required to wear a mask. No staff were willing to remove their mask so I can lipread or were willing to write on paper to explain what was happening. That was the first time I requested an ASL interpreter since moving to Wyoming. I was shocked they didn’t know how to find one and told me that my child could just interpret for me. I was shocked. She was in pain and couldn’t communicate with me well enough to convey vital medical information. So, I made a goal of finding an ASL Interpreting agency in Wyoming online and just couldn’t find one. Somehow my wife made a comment on social media about our situation and was connected to DEAFIS. Since then, they have contacted the different public access points of the local community and made them aware of the local DEAF/HH communities ability (or lack thereof) to access interpreting needs as required by several Federal laws. I was finally able to meet with a doctor and have a qualified ASL interpreter and was able to feel I was in complete control of what I needed to express my needs and be understood at the same time. I want to thank DEAFIS for being there for me and the DEAF/HH community in our area of western Wyoming.
I was born and raised in Wyoming and I still live in the state. I constantly suffer and have missed out on many things throughout the years due to the lack of communication. I did not know that I had the right to fight for full access to language until DeafIS enlightened me. For many years after graduating from Western Wyoming Community College with an A.A.S in Office Information System, I had struggled to find my dream job. Although I landed a stocking job at Walmart, it was NOT my dream career. I love doing office work, especially with computer- and paper-related tasks. I was told during interviews that most businesses in Wyoming require telephone and audio capabilities for communication; I had tried to explain to them that I can use a telephone, just in a different way. They still turned me away and I gave up searching for my dream job- that is, until DeafIS found me and hired me to be its administrative assistant! I was so thrilled and have been working at DeafIS for several years- living my dream job. DeafIS has opened my eyes even more to help other Deaf Wyomingites gain full access throughout the state. Thank you, DeafIS, for opening a new door for me and seeing my Deafness and potential as an asset when working as a secretary, instead of it being a barrier!