Pete Buttigieg signs ASL response to Deaf supporter
A Deaf RIT student, Anderson “Andy” Pleasants tweeted a video of him giving a name sign to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who responded with video in ASL.
[Video Tweets by Pleasants and Buttgigeg]
Nice, Buttigieg’s signing is impressive.
I reached out to Pleasants to ask why he supports him.
Pleasants: WHY DO I SUPPORT PETE? WHEN I FIRST SAW HIM ON TV I WAS INTRIGUED BY HIS HONESTY, EMPATHY, AND INCLUSIVE VISION TO CONNECT WITH ALL AMERICANS, REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES. AS A MAYOR HE HAD TO WORK WITH WHOEVER WAS AT THE TABLE TO GET EVERYDAY THINGS DONE FOR HIS CONSTITUENTS. I ALSO GREATLY BELIEVE IN HIS VISION FOR A NEW GENERATION OF LEADERSHIP, “GENERATIONAL JUSTICE” TO BRIDGE ACROSS THE GENERATIONS, AS WELL AS HIS VIEW OF THE PRESIDENCY ITSELF. PETE UNDERSTANDS THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF A PRESIDENCY IS MORE THAN JUST THE 4-8 YEARS IN OFFICE, AND HAS THE CAPACITY TO BE THE DEFINITION FOR THE BEGINNING OF A NEW POLITICAL ERA FOR CHANGE. ALSO, IT WAS AN APPRECIATED ADDITION TO HIS INCLUSIVITY TO SEE ALL HIS VIDEOS CAPTIONED (INCLUDING HIS LIVESTREAM ANNOUNCEMENT ON YOUTUBE) AS WELL AS ASL INTERPRETERS AT HIS EVENTS!
I asked what does it mean to him and to the Deaf community that he responded in ASL?
Pleasants: IT MEANS SO MUCH FOR ME AND THE DEAF COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE TO SEE A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE PUT IN THE EFFORT TO MEET US HALFWAY IN THE COMMUNICATION DIVIDE SO MANY OF US ARE BURDENED TO CARRY ALONE. IT SETS AN EXAMPLE FOR THE KIND OF INCLUSIVITY OUR SOCIETY SHOULD STRIVE FOR. ALSO, HIS VIDEO RESPONSE WASN’T A BIG TWEET, IT WAS IN A REPLY SO IT FELT ALMOST LIKE OUR OWN PERSONAL LITTLE CONVERSATION IN ASL AND NOT A BIG “FOR SHOW” GESTURE. I FINALLY FELT A BIT MORE VALUED, NOT JUST AS A DEAF INDIVIDUAL IN OUR POLITICS AND SOCIETY, BUT AS AN EQUAL INDIVIDUAL OVERALL. HIS LEADERSHIP IN BRIDGING ACROSS THAT COMMUNICATION BARRIER WILL ONLY BRING MORE RECOGNITION AND APPRECIATION FOR ASL AS A VALUED LANGUAGE, AND BY EXTENSION, DEAF CULTURE AS A VALUED CULTURE IN THE AMERICAN MELTING POT. I HOPE HE CONTINUES TO OPEN HIMSELF TO LEARNING ABOUT OUR CULTURE AND OUR POLITICAL ISSUES. IT’S TIME TO ELEVATE OUR VOICES TO THE MAINSTREAM, AND I BELIEVE PETE HAS THE OPEN MIND TO LEARN AND HELP ELEVATE THAT CHANGE.
Thank you for your time, Andy.
You can follow him on his YouTube at AndySigns or on both Twitter and Instagram at @Pleasantandy.