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Meet MNCDHH's Voters Outreach Team: First Group

Jaemi, Kim, Rania & Emory Kevin

8/26/2020 3:07:45 PM

We'll be introducing more members of MNCDHH's voters outreach team in future videos.

To learn more about and register for upcoming voting workshops, visit 2020 Voting Workshops.

For any questions or to schedule personalized voting workshops, contact Jessalyn Akerman-Frank at

Descriptive transcript

[Jaemi is onscreen. He smiles and begins to sign.]

>>Jaemi: Hi. I'm Jaemi Hagen. My pronouns are he, him, his and they, them, theirs. I live in Duluth, Minnesota. I'm interested in working with a variety of special groups. The queer, transgender, and LGBTQ + community. The deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind communities, the cued speech community. I grew up using cued speech and I'd really like to connect with other cuers out there. Also, people who live in rural areas. And adoptees. I was adopted from Vietnam. And I'd really like to connect with other adoptees as well. It's important to vote because we have the power to choose our leaders at the city, state, and national levels. By voting, we have the power to choose our top leaders, again, at the city and the state and nationwide. Get out and vote! You have the power to choose your leaders.

[Jaemi finishes signing and pauses. The screen switches over to Kim, who adjusts her glasses and begins to sign.]

>>Kim: Hello. My name is Kim Wassenaar. I'm a Black Deaf woman. My pronouns are she and her. I'm involved with the St. Paul/Minneapolis Black Deaf Advocates as a community activist. My focus and passion is within the Black Deaf community. There is so much lack of education about voting rights and privileges. Back in my day, people used to say that Deaf people couldn't vote or were not allowed to vote. Imagine that. Times have changed. We can vote. It's important to include education, to make sure the community knows where to go, knows what the voting stances are, has the information. This is something very near and dear to my heart. I need people to see and make sure that their needs about accessibility is met. If we don't know what our voting rights are and if we don't vote, we'll be lost. So go out and vote. Thank you.

[Kim finishes signing and pauses. The screen switches over to Rania who adjusts something off-screen briefly, smiles, and begins to sign.]

>>Rania: Hello. My name is Rania Johnson. My pronouns are she and her. My motivation is working as a language advocate with the Asian Deaf community because we understand each other through shared heritage and culture. I can also work with other ethnic groups, like immigrants or refugees, and I can understand their culture and language barriers because I am a Korean adoptee. I recognize these language and culture barriers and the need for communication and the feeling of safe space. Voting is important. Our rights, our needs need to be recognized within the law and the legislature. Such as interpreting services, medical services, support, education, community, making sure our life is advanced as much as possible. Recognize that voting is important. If you do not exercise your right to vote and there's a person, a candidate, that does not believe in the same things we do, there's a potential that they may win and our rights could be gone. There's a candidate that does believe in our rights and our needs, we need to go out and vote because then there's a possibility that they will win and our rights will stay. Voting is so important. Go out and do it!

[Rania finishes signing. The screen switches over to Emory who smiles and begins to sign.]

>>Emory Kevin: Hello. I'm Emory Kevin Dively. I'm deaf. My pronouns are he, him, his. I'm extremely passionate about my involvement in my deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing and CODA community. I love helping empower them about voting, lobbying, even the census. Because they are worth the attention. I vote because my vote makes a difference. Even my one single vote has power. Because my vote reflects my feelings and my beliefs, not just for me but for my community of St. Paul, my state of Minnesota, and my country, the United States. I am proud to be a registered voter. I hope you other deaf, deafblind deaf, deafblind and hard-of-hearing people can be one too. Let's get out and vote!

[Emory finishes signing and the video ends.]

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