Inauguration Brings Hundreds of Members to Capitol Hundreds of audiologists and speech-language pathologists and their families found their way to ASHA’s Capitol Hill office when they attended the historic Jan. 20 inauguration of the nation’s 44th president. They joined 1.8 million people at the largest gathering ever held on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall. Other ASHA members around ... Features
Free
Features  |   March 01, 2009
Inauguration Brings Hundreds of Members to Capitol
Author Notes
  • Susan Boswell, assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at sboswell@asha.org.
    Susan Boswell, assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at sboswell@asha.org.×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / Features
Features   |   March 01, 2009
Inauguration Brings Hundreds of Members to Capitol
The ASHA Leader, March 2009, Vol. 14, 7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR7.14032009.7
The ASHA Leader, March 2009, Vol. 14, 7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTR7.14032009.7
Hundreds of audiologists and speech-language pathologists and their families found their way to ASHA’s Capitol Hill office when they attended the historic Jan. 20 inauguration of the nation’s 44th president. They joined 1.8 million people at the largest gathering ever held on Washington, D.C.’s National Mall.
Other ASHA members around the nation gathered to watch the televised event. School-based speech-language pathologists reported on ASHA’s Special Interest Division 16 listserv that school districts took various approaches to watching history unfold. In some districts, viewing the broadcast event was required for students; teachers provided accompanying education lessons, and replayed the event for anyone who missed it. Other districts prohibited viewing the inauguration for students in primary grades.
The inauguration ceremony provided access for people with speech, language, and hearing disabilities. Ticket-holders could request seating near American Sign Language interpreters available at designated locations. In addition, the large “jumbotrons” provided open captioning of the ceremony. In the accompanying story, April Bell, a 14-year-old from Chicago who has hearing loss, shares her inauguration experience, which included a visit to ASHA’s Capitol Hill office and national office in Rockville, Md.
ASHA’s Capitol Hill office offered an oasis from the cold temperatures by hosting an open house with refreshments on inauguration day, when members and their families stopped by during the daylong event to get warm, share their stories, watch the news coverage, and meet other ASHA members and staff. Visitors included students from California; a family from Little Rock, Ark.; several from Illinois; an ASHA past president from Florida; and guests from New Jersey, Delaware, Kentucky, Texas, Rhode Island, New York, Colorado, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.
“Members were grateful to have the ability to warm up, hang out, and use the facilities,” said IngridaLusis, director of federal and political advocacy. “We had one member who was affected by the problems faced by many blue ticket holders who did not get into the inaugural event, and could at least able to come back to the office and view it. Another member learned about our ‘Take Action’ Web site and how easy it is to use. She was excited and eager to share the information with the 150 SLPs in her district.”
Other members told Arlene Pietranton, executive director, that this was their first visit to D.C. and their first interaction with ASHA staff, and they plan to increase their involvement with the association. A student who works for a state senator in California said she would be in touch with ASHA’s state team on ways she can help out through her current position. All members and their families welcomed the opportunity to get to know ASHA better.
Share Your Story of the Inauguration

Were you at the historic inauguration on Jan. 20? The ASHA Leader would like to know about your experiences. Please share with us a 200-word statement about your experiences at the inauguration and its significance for you as an individual and as a speech-language pathologist or audiologist. Include your name, position, professional affiliation/employer, city, state, and e-mail address. The ASHA Leader will publish them online. Digital photos welcome. Please send your experiences and photos to sboswell@asha.org.

Rosemary McGettrick: The Multicultural Event of a Lifetime

Image Not AvailableA lifelong Democrat, I grew up in Newark, NJ, a city devastated and demoralized by racial injustice. I was always interested in politics and was elected to the Essex County Democratic Committee in the late 1960s. I worked as a poll watcher in support of the election of Newark’s first African-American mayor. I was very affected by the deaths of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy and shaken by the selection of George W. Bush.

The excitement of the 2008 campaign rekindled my hope and enthusiasm—from the first of the candidate debates to 11 p.m. annoucement November 4.

The daughter of Irish immigrants, and the first member of my family to attend college, I became a teacher and then an attorney, with an interest in special education law. My first career love was the classroom and I became a speech-language pathologist, a profession that has been a perfect fit for me.

In the fall 2000, I became an assistant professor, teaching undergraduate speech-language pathology courses at St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, where I live with my husband and daughter, Megan. I retired two years ago, but still teach three courses, all incorporating multicultural issues.

How could I miss the multicultural event of a lifetime? I bought three Amtrak tickets for Inauguration Day in October. But as the cold set in and crowd predictions grew, I started to get cold feet (even though I did buy lots of foot and hand warmers). Without the invitation to visit ASHA’s Capitol Hill office, I think we would have cancelled our reservations. Just knowing we had a place to warm up, get a warm drink, and use the facilities was all we needed. We stopped in briefly on our way out of Union Station and received a warm welcome and delicious, energy-giving pastries.

We walked on and reached the mall just in time! Although the weather was cold, the genuine warmth that exuded from the sea of people more than compensated for the chill.

ASHA made it possible to have a day we will never forget. Bravo!

Rosemary McGettrick

New York, NY

Kyomi Gregory: A Testimony to the American Dream

Image Not AvailableThe experience of witnessing the inauguration of Barack Obama was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. It is a true testimony to the American dream: The idea that you can achieve anything through hard work and perseverance. This experience held a special place in my heart as both an African-American and as a speech-language pathologist. There are a small number of minorities in the discipline of communication sciences and disorders, yet America is a melting pot in which we serve millions who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. ASHA will need to begin recruiting minority students at the high school level to spark an interest in the discipline. My own high school experience as a volunteer at Veterans Administration hospital is what brought me to the great profession of speech-language pathology. I think if more young people were aware of this profession prior to college they would choose to pursue the field.

Kyomi Gregory

Queens, NY

0 Comments
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment
Name
Comment Title
Comment


This feature is available to Subscribers Only
Sign In or Create an Account ×
FROM THIS ISSUE
March 2009
Volume 14, Issue 3