“My name is Khyiana Tate,” she said in sign language.

Khyiana Tate is an 18-year-old high school student about to get her driver’s license. She’s pretty excited about it.

She is also excited about this – her new book – “Signing with Khy”.

“Black and brown individuals aren’t always represented in the books,” she said. “As if I had seen other books and wanted to see myself in a book – books that I like – that I like to read.”

But she didn’t see herself — a person of color — in American Sign Language books — so she created her own, with family and friends signing the alphabet. Even little brother MJ has letters.

“Hearing, deaf, hard of hearing, the community at large – anyone with friends and family, anyone can learn to sign and we should,” she said.

And – she says – don’t be afraid to try.

“No, it’s easy – it’s easy,” she said. “It will be easy because they can look at my book and see pictures with the alphabet – the words and the signs and everything is there – ready for them to learn how to sign.”

For Khyiana, this book – communicates more than that.

“It’s really important that black and brown people see themselves in our books and our language because it inspires us and makes us happy to be who we are,” she said.

Khyiana’s efforts are especially exciting for her performer that day – Jackie Thompson – whose mother, sister and niece are deaf.

“I’m so proud of Khyiana,” Jackie said. “For her and for all the other young deaf girls and boys who really have so much to say and not enough opportunities or outlets to express themselves.”

You might recognize Jackie from her many appearances as an interpreter for the mayor of Detroit during the Covid pandemic.

“You don’t know isolation, now people understand isolation because of the pandemic,” she said. “But people don’t experience isolation unless you’ve experienced it for real. Deaf people are in this world isolated with no communication unless someone decides I want to talk to you.”

That’s exactly what Khyiana does – talk to you – to us – and reach out to the hearing world with a request that we’re trying to learn to sign – and see deaf people like her, for whom and all that. they are.

“More than anything, I want people to know – deaf can – deaf can do exactly what any hearing person does, and that’s what I want to see.”

You can order “Signing with Khy” on Amazon — she’ll also be at the African-American Family Book Fair Feb. 19 in Southfield — and expect to see more in the future.

“I plan to write more books and next year you can pick one up,” she said.

To learn more or to order his book, CLICK on the link here.