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Claudia Gordon: A Deaf Lawyer in the White House

Everyone knows well the White House, the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States, and an icon of power in this country. In the last few years, this institution has been carrying out an important change as a result of the plan of current President Barack Obama for the White House government team to show the diversity of the American people. Recently it was news that the White House had hired a transgender worker for the first time, but already in 2013 a Deaf woman lawyer was hired as associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement: Claudia Gordon.

Claudia Gordon at a White House event (photo: Eugene Huskey / whitehouse.org

Before this position, Claudia worked since 2010 in the Department  of Employment of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Claudia is an African American woman, born in Jamaica and deaf since the age of eight. She migrated to the United States at age 11 and attended the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York. She graduated in 1995 from Harvard University with a degree in Political Science and a Ph.D. from the American University Washington College of Law, where she was the first Deaf woman.

Claudia Gordon says she is not the first Deaf person to work at the White House, although those who have preceded her have held low-skilled positions. Claudia is an example of the ability of Deaf people to successfully assume positions of high responsibility and thus contribute to society when there is equality of opportunity. Equal opportunities because she has Sign Language interpreters to assist her job, as can be seen in the following photo of a meeting leaded by Obama:

La abogada sorda Claudia Gordon en una reunión presidida por Barack Obama
Claudia Gordon (red to right) at a meeting chaired by Barack Obama, President of the United States (center to right) and assisted by a Sign Language interpreter (blue to left). Photo: Anjali Forber-Pratt.

In the following video, Claudia gives an interview (in American Sign Language) answering some questions about her personal and professional life, as well as her experience in the White House:


In Jamaica, Claudia Gordon's native country, they couldn't be prouder and interviewed her in 2013 after her designation in the important Jamaica Observer newspaper.



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