Watch This: Obama Signs to Deaf Student

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A community college student in the Washington, D.C., area was standing in line after a campus event on energy policy with President Obama, waiting for a chance to shake hands with the president, when he got a moment of face time with the guest of honor. He greeted him the only way he knew how:

"I am proud of you," Stephon signed to the president.

President Obama signed back: "Thank you."

The elated student later recounted his experience on YouTube via American Sign Language.

If your sign language isn't as good as the president's, here's a partial transcript of what he said, from the Huffington Post, first reported by D.C. blog Distriction.

[I] was close enough to touch Martin O’Malley on his shoulder but I didn’t want to bother him. I regret I could have done better holding my camera while talking to Obama. The moment I will never forget was when he looked at me. He gave me a chance to talk to him. It was like he was waiting for me to say something. I took the moment and signed “I am proud of you,” and his response was “Thank u” in sign language back! Oh my gosh! I was like wow! He understood me after I said I was proud of him. It was so amazing … I was just speechless. Right after he thanked me, he smiled at another deaf lady who signed “I love you.” When I shook his hand it did not feel like he was superior to me. He was just a humble man. I am just impressed by him and know that he will have my vote and he will win second term without a doubt. Yeah, I feel safe to have him for another term.


The Huffington Post reports that in 2008, several deaf bloggers noted that then-Sen. Obama understood basic sign language after he signed to them.

Read more at the Huffington Post.

 Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter