The EUD took the opportunity to have an interview with Pilar Lima, who was recently appointed as a Senator representing the region of Valencia in the Spanish Senate. This is an historic achievement because she is the first elected official who is deaf, in Spain.
Pilar Lima will be sworn in the Spanish Senate on 22 July 2015.
The interview is in International Sign with English subtitles.
Please find the transcript below:
DH: Hello there,
PL: Hi, hi
DH: Pilar, the EUD staff and EUD Board are absolutely thrilled with your recent appointment as a Senator representing the region of Valencia in the Spanish Senate. This is an historic achievement because you are the first elected official who is deaf, in Spain. Many congratulations to you.
PL: I am indeed very happy
DH: Before we go any further, what is your name sign?
PL: it is this (shows the sign – circular motion of 3 fingers on the cheek on the right side of the face)
DH: (repeating Pilars sign name)
PL: I was attributed that sign by a deaf person due to my going a bright shade of red when embarrassed.
DH: How did you feel when you were formally made aware of the election outcome and you were now a Senator?
PL: Initially it felt like a dream. But once reality set in, I was utterly elated. First thing I did was thank my support team, all those people around me who backed me.
I do realise however that occupying the role of senator is a big responsibility
DH: Can you share with us how you got into politics in the first place? Which political party are you aligned to and how did you navigate process to become a Senator?
PL: The political group I am associated with is Podemos. It was established one year ago and has a sign already established for it. The policy platform for the party addresses rights. In education, health services and the rights of individuals, for instance, assisting those in poverty. In addition to that, the current Spanish government has proven itself unable to keep its election promises nor provided tangible change across many governmental programs. Furthermore, there is not any representation of Deaf or disabled people in the current government. In stark contrast, Podemos has proven itself to be open to all people. This in itself is very positive.
DH: We are also keen to know what outcomes you are wanting to deliver for the Deaf community in Valencia and across Spain, throughout your upcoming term in office?
PL: Of the long list of issues that need addressing, there is one outstanding facet to life that I wish to tackle. I believe education, using a bi-lingual approach is the answer.
PL: This would see the same attention given to both signed and written languages within the classroom. In Spain deaf children are taught primarily through an oral medium. But we find that these children are not happy or satisfied in such settings. It is my dearest hope that we can adopt bilingualism during my tenure.
DH: It just so happens that EUD has a board member from Spain. His name is Alfredo. He was eager to ask you a question too. Here it is from Alfredo himself.
AG: I am very happy to meet you Pilar.
PL: Likewise for me Alfredo
AG: EUD is very pleased to see the development of deaf people become more active in political life. Due to such visibility, it has a very positive and empowering affect to the community. This is critical.
My question to you is: as the first ever deaf politician in Spain, will you be able to table motions and proposals in the chamber about topics such as deaf culture and sign language?
PL: in response, I am aware that groups of deaf people have sought access to the parliament in the past. The Deaf Association of Spain (CNSE) has lobbied for many years and it has been a very complex and challenging struggle to bring down access barriers. But they finally achieved that and now the rights of the deaf individual, social services and language for deaf people are respected.
DH: that brings our interview to its conclusion. Thank you Senator Pilar for your time to meet with EUD and respond to our questions. We wish you all the best for the future.