Asian Signers is a Deaf-led and nonprofit organization promoting the recognition of diverse Asian representation with a commitment to culture, literature and education in American Sign Language.
“The Race for the Chinese Zodiac” was the first Asian Literature in ASL produced by Lee Ann Tang as the signer and Nozomi Tomita as the video editor. It was originally posted for the Lunar New Year, but also became a groundbreaking movement for us.
Nozomi Tomita and Lee Ann Tang recognized the lack of involvement regarding Asian Deaf in various settings: education, community and professional. We were aware of common stereotypical characters, for example, passive, disinterested, or shy. We reframed the misassumptions due to an invisible representation of diverse Asians and Asian Americans in the media.
The diverse Asian and Asian-American population was tiny (and it still continues today), especially signed language: American Sign Language (ASL). We believed in providing cultural literature in ASL by Asians for our next generations to connect to oneself’s ethnic identity, for instance. Yeh Kim joined the boat and we three founded this organization, Asian Signers, in early February of 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Unexpectedly, the COVID-19 pandemic appeared that adapted the way we originally envisioned Asian Signers. In addition, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement went on its rise and also challenged us to include racism in our literature. Now with the “Stop Asian Hate” hashtag, we were proud to foster and acknowledge important racial issues within the communities.
Asian Signers became officially registered as a nonprofit under section 501(c)(3) in May 2020. We proudly produced our very first Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) in ASL. Note that APAHM is an annual event in the month of May. We spotlighted diverse Asians and Asian Americans sharing their stories, journeys, skills, cuisines, passions, and ethnic identities. The rest is history.
Meet the Asian Signers Team
Lee Ann Tang
Director of Operations/General Counsel
She/Her/HersHapa: Half Japanese and half white
Social Media Manager
Business Development Manager
Gavino Cabanilla II
Creative Content Coordinator