How we speak shapes what we think, what others think of us, and how we connect with each other. So it makes sense that, given the tumult of the last year, many Black deaf people have been working to preserve Black American Sign Language, or BASL.
“Amid the reckoning, young Black signers went to social media to highlight the history of a language that had been suppressed for decades,” ABC News reports.
Since the 19th century, schools for deaf children were segregated, leading the Black deaf community to create their own schools and way of communication that developed into a distinct language. One BASL speaker, Carolyn McCaskill, says that the language “felt so free to me. It felt good to just communicate. You know, that was who I was. That was my culture. That was my identity.”
Read more about how McCaskill and others are working to celebrate and preserve Black American Sign Language: