Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube Mayor Pete Buttigieg Real Time with 1556562627.jpg...
Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, is making media waves again. This time, it’s for a particularly heartwarming reason. On Twitter, Buttigieg sent a video thanking a loyal and creative supporter. This is nice to begin with, but Buttigieg went the extra mile: He thanked the supporter in sign language.

Here’s how it started. Anderson “Andy” Pleasants tweeted out a “sign name” for the presidential hopeful, taking into account Buttigieg’s “build bridges, not walls” imagery. Whether you know American Sign Language (ASL) or not, it’s super cool.

Check it out below.

On Wednesday, Buttigieg tweeted his reply to Pleasants. The 2020 hopeful signaled, “Hi Andy, I appreciate your support, thank you!” Which you can see below:

“Right from the very opening second when Pete waved his hand, I knew instantly it was a reply in American Sign Language,” Pleasants, who was born with Goldenhar syndrome, explained to Newsweek in an interview.

“I remember my chest just freezing up and the tears filling up my eyes within milliseconds. I was so overcome with emotion,” Pleasants continued to Newsweek. “I’d never seen a presidential candidate take that initiative to meet me, a deaf individual, as an equal, instead of having that communication divide be the sole burden of the deaf person. It set an example of how our society can be more inclusive and put forth the effort to break down the communication barriers that follow so many deaf lives.”

Pleasants also replied to Buttigieg’s reply, and countless Twitter users replied to both of their replies.

Social media can be a firepit, so it’s incredibly uplifting to see people connecting.

According to reports, Buttigieg speaks an impressive number of languages, including Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Norwegian, and, apparently some ASL. Similarly, fellow Democratic longshot senator Kirsten Gillibrand is reportedly fluent in Mandarin. There’s a fair argument to be made that women aren’t getting the same amount of attention or credit for their abilities (in this case, foreign language abilities) in comparison to male candidates. Regardless, Buttigieg’s definitely made a move in the right direction for candidates on either side of the aisle to follow by using ASL to connect with a supporter. 

In terms of inclusion and diversity, Buttigieg hasn’t yet released proposals specific to people with disabilities. In an interview on The Breakfast Club, he did say, “There’s two things that can happen when you are conscious of your identity. One is it turns into all these ways we separate ourselves from each other, and it just turns into one big ‘you don’t know me.’ But the other way we can do it is we can say, ‘Okay, I’ve got this experience, you’ve got this experience, what can we talk about that brings us together?’”

You can watch that interview here:

If you want to read more about the openly gay mayor, check out 5 facts about Buttigieg here. Or read up on another presidential hopeful, Julián Castro, here.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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