“I make sure that everyone is happy, and everyone feels welcome and has a nice experience when they come into the West Wing lobby,” Katz-Hernandez, 28, began as an intern for President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign in 2012.West Wing Receptionist Leah Katz-Hernandez narrates a tour of the West Wing in American Sign Language, visiting the West Wing Lobby, the West Colonnade, the Rose Garden, the White House Press Briefing Room, the Cabinet Room, the Oval Office, and more. A version with full audio description will be posted this week!
In celebration of the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the White House released a video of the first deaf White House receptionist giving a tour of the residence.Leah Katz-Hernandez first interned at the White House in 2010 and President Obama talked about her at the 25th anniversary last year of the ADA, a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, service, transportation and more against people who have disabilities.“We call her ROTUS,” the president explained. “I’m POTUS, this is VPOTUS and that’s ROTUS. And ROTUS is the first deaf American to hold that job. She is poised, she is talented — and, as she puts it, a lot of her accomplishments may not have been possible without the ADA.”Leah Katz-Hernandez is usually the first person to greet guests as they enter the White House’s West Wing.The Connecticut native is also the first deaf person to be known as ROTUS, or receptionist of the United States.