We know American Sign Language is the fourth most popular foreign language on American college campuses, and when you combine ASL to help battle bullying in the classroom, you begin to empower and enliven the downtrodden and the misbegotten. When we remember Tyler Clementi, we must always see our own vulnerabilities exploited by others in his demise. Some Gallaudet University graduate students have created an anti-Bullying video in American Sign Language to help spread the word. I promoted their — “Stop Bullying Now” — video from my Facebook page last night, and I was delighted to see how quickly a positive wave was built in support of the video.

My wife, Janna, fired off an email to her current ASL students at NYU to alert them to the Gallaudet video:

Here is an excellent video made this semester by Gallaudet graduate students. You might think the signing is too short and too brief. It is actually perfect for what it is: Pure, blunt, ASL intended for educating Deaf students. It isn’t a lecture. It’s condensed images and flashes of ideas. Really hard to do well and they do it really well.

Stop Bullying Now: Gallaudet

The student with the pigtails is named Stephanie. She was my ASL 1, 3 and 4 student at NYU. When she was interviewed by Gallaudet over Video Phone for her program of study, the committee thought she was Deaf because her signing was so natural and clean. Stephanie is Hearing and she was offered a full ride at Gallaudet for two years and, in the Spring of 2011, she will finish her Masters with an internship at the Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens.

Here is the “Stop Bullying Now” video embedded from YouTube:

That sort of grassroots effort to confront, and then root out, bigotry and hatred and ignorance in school is a great cornerstone of the American spirit that we too often leave to others for the grappling.

If we truly believe in freedom and liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all, then we must actively and rightly defend it when others — who may not be as strong as us or as stone-willed as us — are unable to rise and fight back.  By standing with those who are picked upon and plucked apart, we make the rest of us stronger in the unification of virtue.

Please send along the YouTube URL for the “Stop Bullying Now” video to your social networks and that will be the first chain linking us to help cure the cruelty too many of us know and too few of us wish to directly confront without help.

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