Shelby Co. COVID-19 task force interpreter working to spread awareness to deaf community

Delivering the coronavirus message to those who struggle to hear

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are a few faces that have become familiar over the past several months as we have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

They are unsung heroes bridging the gap between the many daily messages and those who struggle to hear them.

Brenda Cash has played a key role in communicating with the deaf community during the coronavirus pandemic. She is the ASL interpreter for Shelby County’s daily task force press briefing.

"They want to feel included, they want to be involved and you know they have every right to be," Cash said.

Cash works for BridgesWEST, a local agency that provides interpreters for individuals public events like the daily press briefings.

Cash contacted Shelby County after people in the deaf community reached out to the agency about the briefings.

“I was like ‘Hey the deaf community is really upset about not having that adequate access to communication, so are you guys going to do anything?’ And they were already immediately in the works,” she explained.

Cash also collaborates with interpreters across the state to learn universal signs that help people understand medical terminology.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Eric Workman who works for BridgesWEST in Nashville," she said. “He informed me of universal signs to use so if a person notices it interpreted by a different individual from a different state they would know automatically, ‘Oh that’s what they’re talking about.'”

The work interpreters are doing to get information out about COVID-19 has received good feedback.

“It’s been really positive from the deaf community,” said Cash. “They let me know like, ‘Hey I’m wearing my mask now.’”

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