Maine’s Deaf community deserves full access to the upcoming funerals following the Lewiston shootings, but funds for ASL interpreters are still needed. The Maine and Massachusetts Councils of Churches are partnering to create the Lewiston Deaf Access Fund to meet the need of Maine’s Deaf community at this tender time, so that all may fully gather to grieve, gather, pray, and mourn in their own language. ASL interpreters have been working overtime to meet the needs of the Deaf Maine community and this fund will provide financial support for all access needs. Our wish is for all Deaf Mainers to have opportunities to be fully included in the funerals, memorials, and gatherings in the weeks ahead.

What will your contribution go to?
Your contribution will go to pay for access. This includes American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and captioners hired to attend the funerals of those killed in Lewiston. To ensure full access, each funeral will require teams of interpreters as services often include socialization and sharing of memories lasting many hours. The victim’s assistance funds have not adequately covered the costs of interpreters, hence this unmet need.

We believe in accessible rituals of worship and grieving for all, especially following such a communal tragedy. Your financial contribution ensures that the vision of full inclusion is one that lives on, even now.

Funds will be distributed to the agencies that have hired the ASL interpreters and captioners.

Is my contribution tax deductible?
Yes, your contribution is tax deductible.

Is my contribution going to support a particular religious perspective?
No, your contribution is not going to support a particular religious perspective. Your contribution is allowing deaf Mainers and their families to fully attend a funeral service of someone who has died following the Lewiston shootings. By funding access, you are supporting the Deaf Maine community to be full participants in the life of their community after a time of great tragedy.

Why is this fund housed at the Massachusetts Council of Churches and not in Maine?
This is a partnership between the Maine Council of Churches and the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Colleagues in Maine are at capacity with the work of caring for the grieving at this time, and so neighbors in Massachusetts offered to take on the administrative work of running the fund to free Mainers to be present in this time of mourning. We believe this is a model of collaborative support.