The deaf community is seeking an apology after officials in Manatee County, Florida hired an 'incompetent' sign language translator who didn't know what he was doing. The interpreter in the video, which has since gone viral, uses words like "pizza, monster, and bear" while translating the evacuation order to the deaf community during Hurricane Irma.
As the deadly Hurricane Approached Florida's coastal region of Tampa Bay last week, officials ordered a press conference on September 8th. The press conference was to relay critical information about the storm and to give mandatory evacuation orders but officials realized they didn't have an interpreter for the deaf. Without a sign language expert to translate the vital information, officials panicked and looked for one at the last second. A lifeguard with the county's marine rescue unit has a deaf brother and was suggested as a potential translator. They asked the lifeguard, Marshall Greene, to fill in for the role and convey the vital information to deaf residents.
The deaf community took issue when Greene appeared to mostly sign gibberish and using words like "pizza", "monsters" and even the phrase "help you at that time to use bear hug." It is understandable that the deaf residents feel undervalued and upset when they are not deemed important enough to have the proper channels in place to relay them vital information from officials. The county admitted they had made a mistake and even the former president of the National Association of the Deaf said that Greene should have been wearing the appropriate black shirt to make his hands more clearly visible.
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