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Deaf Community Considers Signs for New Leaders

The deaf community is considering how to say “Joe Biden” and “Kamala Harris” in sign language. Each of the country’s newly elected leaders has distinct characteristics, such as wavy hair or trademark sunglasses, that might translate into a sign. With the help of technology, the process of choosing new signs has become more inclusive, increasing the likelihood that they will be culturally sensitive. Listen to hear more about how new signs are chosen, and learn which ones are being considered for Biden and Harris.

Update: Since this story aired, the deaf community has agreed to use a name sign for Vice President Kamala Harris signifying a lotus, which is the meaning of her first name. A name sign has not yet been adopted for President Joe Biden, so fingerspelling is being used to represent him.


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Story Length: 2:17

Listen to the Story:

Listening Comprehension Questions

  • What was one of Malala Yousafzai’s first experiences with the dangers of religious extremism?
  • After miraculously surviving her attack, what has Malala focused her work on?
  • What is the message that Malala is trying to send to those in power?
  • What does Malala want to do in the future?
  • What are the goals of Malala’s mission to support girls?

Discussion Themes

  • What is your opinion on Malala’s message about the power of education?
  • Why do you think that ISIS might want to silence people like Malala?

Socrative users can import these questions using the following code: SOC-1234