Client spotlight: Kirstin Kurlander Garcia
Deaf lacrosse fan and CREEC client, Kirstin Kurlander Garcia has been instrumental in bringing open captioning to both the Pepsi Center and Broncos Stadium. Using CREEC’s Fast Advocacy for Communication program, she was also recently able to secure an interpreter for the Violent Femmes concert at Planet Bluegrass.
“Our family enjoys professional lacrosse games at both the Pepsi Center and Broncos Stadium, but I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the events without access to the announcements – players, penalties, and all the other things that entertain us between plays,” Kirsten explained. She approached CREEC about the Pepsi Center; we approached the Pepsi Center to discuss the issue, but ultimately resolved the case in Kirsten’s favor through class action litigation. Soon thereafter, Kirsten and CREEC reached out to Broncos Stadium and were able to work with the folks there – without need for litigation – to ensure open captioning.
As a result of the collaboration between Kirsten and CREEC’s Accessibility Project, deaf and hard of hearing lacrosse fans – and hockey, basketball, and football fans – can all enjoy access to the same public address content as hearing fans.
Also an avid music fan, Kirsten was interested in attending a summer 2019 Violent Femmes concert at Planet Bluegrass. Long before the concert date, Kirsten reached out to Planet Bluegrass to request a sign language interpreter. The venue owners responded with a common misconception: that it’s up to the individual bands to provide interpreters. In fact, both owners and operators – venues and performers, in this case – are responsible for ensuring effective communication for deaf patrons. Through CREEC’s Fast Advocacy for Communication program, we wrote a letter to Planet Bluegrass and followed up with a conversation with the venue president, explaining the ADA’s requirements for interpretation and communication. Result: interpreters provided!
“I was very glad that Planet Bluegrass provided interpreters, though there were still some ‘growing pains,’” said Kirsten. It took 20 minutes and the intervention of a bandmember’s wife to get a taped-off area so the interpreter would not be lost in the crowd, and the venue did not provide lighting for that area. “The interpreters themselves were excellent, as they were provided by the experienced folks at FLOW Interpreting,” she added. That company and concert interpreting were highlighted in a recent Colorado Public Radio story.
“The Violent Femmes are very important to me, as they were the last sound I ever heard. I was listening to their music as I went into the surgery that would take my hearing,” Kirsten explained. “I’ve seen them perform many times since then.” She was very excited to be asked backstage after the concert as “friends of the band.”
“We’ve really enjoyed working with Kirstin and hope other deaf and hard of hearing people will reach out and use CREEC’s Fast Advocacy for Communication program when they are denied interpreters or captioning,” CREEC’s Co-Executive Director, Amy Robertson, said.
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