International Women’s Day – Shining the Light on Rachel Shenton
Happy International Women’s Day
In aid of International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the amazing Rachel Shenton. She does amazing work within the hearing loss community and continues to raise well needed awareness.
You may have seen that “The Silent Child”, a British production written by Rachel herself, won best live-action short film at the Oscars ceremony.
The film is about six-year-old Libby played by Maisie Sly. Libby struggles to communicate until a social worker, played by Shenton, teaches her sign language.
Before delivering her acceptance speech, Rachel states:
I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that if we won, I’d sign this speech, but my hands are shaking.
Without hesitation, Rachel went on to share her message using both British Sign Language and speech. She spoke about the impact problems with communicating can have, going on to say:
This is happening. Millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers, and particularly access to education.
You can watch the speech, here:
Here’s what Twitter had to say about the Oscar win:
— DigitasLBi UK (@DigitasLBi_UK) March 5, 2018
The Silent Child acceptance speech in sign language has me in tears.
REPRESENTATION MATTERS!!!!!!!!!!! #Oscars90
— Tom D'Angora (@TomDangora) March 5, 2018
— Lucy Jayne (@LucyJayneB) March 5, 2018
Rachel first decided to learn sign language in honor of the death of her father. He became deaf after undergoing chemotherapy for a cancer treatment when she was only 12. She later engaged actively in helping the hearing loss community by qualifying as a sign language interpreter, becoming an ambassador for National Deaf Children’s Society, launching her own social networking website for deaf people called “Viewtalk” and most recently by making this beautiful film that has really raised awareness of the challenges of the hearing impaired.
This isn’t the first time sign language has been used at the Oscars. Marlee Matlin, a hard of hearing actress, also signed at the start of her acceptance speech. Rachel and Marlee both starred in the TV series “Switched at Birth”, a show which features sign language heavily. If you haven’t seen it yet, we’d recommend you give it a watch! It’s one of my personal favourites.