Khyiana Tate, a high school senior who is deaf, has created sign language books to increase representation for Black people such as herself. Speaking with CBS News, the 18-year-old said she rarely saw people who look like her when she read sign language books as a child.
“It’s just crucial! It’s essential that Black and Brown individuals feel represented in life,” Tate told CBS News while using sign language. “It makes you feel bad when you don’t see yourself.”
The author of “Signing with Khy” said writing such a book isn’t as difficult as it seems.
“Some people think it’s difficult to do something like that, but it can be easy,” she said.
Tate’s mother, Khadija Hicks, said her daughter is underestimated, but she loves to dance and she’s learning to drive, proving anything is possible. The young author, who plans to publish more books, is fueled to “go even harder” when people underestimate her skills.
As she proceeds with her writing career, Tate aims to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities.
“I’m here as living proof to show people I can teach others, I can learn and I can be an educator,” she said. “I am not beneath a hearing person or another person. I am just like everybody else.”
The 18-year-old also encourages all people to learn sign language.
“Hearing people, deaf people, hard of hearing people, the community as a whole – anyone with friends and family, everyone can learn to sign, and we should,” she told Fox 2 Detroit.
Tate is confident that her books will make it easy to learn sign language.
“It’ll be easy because they can look at my book and see pictures along with the alphabet – the words and the signs and it’s all there – ready for them to learn to sign,” she said. “More than anything I want people to know – the deaf can -deaf people can do just what any hearing person does, and that’s what I want to see.”
“Signing With Khy” is available on Amazon.