A stranger teaching Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton to sign made Secret Service agents a bit uneasy toward a Western Nevada College professor on Aug. 25 in Reno.
Clinton, however, embraced the impromptu educational efforts of Cindy Frank, an American Sign Language instructor at WNC. Frank helped Clinton sign the word “vote” during her campaign visit to Truckee Meadows Community College.
“After struggling a minute to copy me, I asked if I could put my hands on hers,” said Frank, noting that this request briefly alerted the people protecting Clinton’s safety. “While I was helping her sign, I told her that there are 70 million deaf people all over the world that will be inspired by this. She thanked me.”
WNC Interpreters Mary Smith and Lyssa Goldsworthy provided sign language to Frank and other members of the deaf community during the rally attended by hundreds. Frank applauded her colleagues’ efforts to keep pace with Clinton’s rapid-fire speech.
“It was extremely difficult for my interpreters, Mary Smith and Lyssa Goldsworthy, to keep up,” Frank said. “They are often reading from a prompter, using high-level concepts and vocabulary, which makes interpreting very difficult, but my colleagues rocked it!”
Goldsworthy and Smith were delighted to interpret for such a momentous event.
“Between Mary and I, we were both very honored to be chosen to provide our services at this event,” Goldsworthy said. “An opportunity such as this is truly irreplaceable and a highlight of both of our careers. While neither of us were able to meet Hillary, the experience of providing an essential service to the deaf community in such a forum is something neither of us will forget.”
This isn’t the first time that Frank has signed for a Clinton. Years ago, she signed for former President Bill Clinton during a rally in Pleasanton, Calif.
“I remember standing behind the stage with him,” Frank said. “We introduced ourselves, and he told me I was doing a great job, and thanked me.”