Claudia Gordon was born in Jamaica. After having sharp pains in her ears, her aunt who took care of her at the time took her to a small clinic, as there were no hospitals. She was deaf at the age of eight.
She didn’t believe she was deaf because she had been reading peoples lip and thought she was hearing their voice. She faced discrimination in Jamaica because she was deaf.
When she was 11, she moved to the United States and enrolled at the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York. She was happy to move there because she wasn’t receiving any education in Jamaica.
Claudia currently works in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
Watch Claudia in the video clip below as she shows her passion to make a positive change.
Here is what Claudia had to say about her role models while growing up..
My mother was my most influential role model. She was a woman of profound faith and perseverance up until the very day she lost her six year battle with ovarian cancer in 2000.
Growing up, I witnessed her hard work and sacrifices as she struggled to raise my two siblings and me, all on her own, deep in the rural countryside of Jamaica, W.I. A domestic servant with only an eighth grade education, she literally scrubbed her way to America one garment at a time.
When she immigrated to America — the South Bronx — she kept right on working to ensure that within a few years she would be reunited with her three children, whom she had left in the care of her eldest sister, my aunt Mildred Taylor.
My mother taught me that we all control our own destiny and should never become victims of our circumstances. She taught me about the unbelievable power of faith and love.
My aunt Mildred was also a very important role model, along with my grandmother Viola Parsons. In truth, I was raised by a community of women. They were always in the background pitching in whenever my Mom was in need. Despite all the hardships, they created a positive environment in which all of us children could be properly nourished with a sense of responsibility, dignity and pride. My aunt Mildred is a teacher, and as such she instilled in us the importance of a good education. At the age of 74, she is still teaching today.
There are scores of other individuals I could name because behind every successful person are plenty of people: role models, mentors, colleagues, friends and family members. No one gets here by him or herself so I am grateful to a lot of people.
This is an extract of an interview with Claudia Gordon conducted for the Whitehouse Meet the Women of the Administration.