White House Replies to ASL Petition

ASL for America is deeply pleased at the response from the White House on the ASL petition. However, they would like to take the opportunity to address several points raised in their response.

St. Paul, MN, August 15, 2013 --(PR.com)-- ASL for America is pleased to see the White House respond to the ASL petition, and would like to take the opportunity to address several points in the response:

The White House states "there should not be any stigma about American Sign Language" (ASL). However, citizens still experience this stigma in their daily lives. The official response neglects to consider that the current laws are not adequate in protecting the language, and in the absence of laws specifically protecting ASL there is active, systemic discrimination by individuals and corporations against the acquisition and use of ASL.

ASL is not a language designed merely as an aid to a disability, as parts of the White House response seems to suggest. ASL for America would like to see the misperception of ASL as just an "accommodation" corrected to what it truly is: a language in its own right, all to be acquired and expressed by anyone who wishes to do so.

Free and appropriate education still does not happen for every ASL-speaking child. Ironically, the "least restrictive environment" clause in IDEA is routinely used to prevent deaf children from receiving their education in a fully accessible ASL environment where they can develop cognitively, socially, and emotionally at the same level as their English-speaking peers. These issues merit an investigation and redress.

Finally, ASL for America would like to encourage the White House to take the lead in destigmatizing ASL by doing at least the following:

* Provide their response to this petition in ASL,
* Have ASL interpreters visible on television when the government is presenting to the public,
* By not limiting ASL speakers from learning, working, and living together because federal laws consider
deafness a disability without taking Deaf culture into account, (Source: Apache Trails and HUD)
* Achieve fiscal parity for services to ASL speakers in all jurisdictions, especially in education (Source:
* And to have ASL listed in the language section of the United States Census.

ASL for America would like to thank the White House for their care and consideration in responding to a petition that has garnered tremendous community participation. The community brought forth over 37,000 signatures, proving the White House’s own statement that it is an important aspect of American culture.

ASL for America looks forward to continuing discourse and progress. To help continue the dialogue, those who signed the petition are invited to leave their thoughts on the survey at the end of the petition: http://1.usa.gov/13Wayn8

The ASL version of this statement can be found at: http://youtu.be/9NA68G_hAxk

For more information on ASL for America and to follow the organization on social media, visit ASL for America’s website at www.aslfor.us, facebook.com/aslforus and @aslforus (Twitter).

About ASL for America
A Deaf community grassroots movement founded in 2012, ASL for America advocates for full recognition and protection of American Sign Language.
ASL for America
Adrean Clark