#UspeakableBLM / Website: www.unspeakableBLM.org
Written and directed by Emmy Award-Winner Emmai Alaquiva and a team of collaborators, this video features a diverse cast comprised of members of the Deaf community. They collectively proclaim, through American Sign Language (ASL), that changes need to be made when it comes to Black Lives.
In addition to Alaquiva, the production crew includes:
OpticVoices (production) and Cydney Cooper (production manager). Jack Ohrman (associate producer). Amy Crawford (co-producer/script consultant): Freelance Sign Language Interpreter. Danielle Filip (co-producer/script consultant): MBA, NIC-Advanced, Vice President of Operations, Sign Language Interpreting Professionals.
Greg Pollock (co-producer/script consultant): Accessibility Officer. The PSA also includes subtitles and some additional audio, including vocals by Disney’s Emmy Award-winning songwriter Bianca “Blush” Atterberry and original music by multi-platinum composer, Stephen “Bud’da” Anderson.
“This movement is about saving lives and it is imperative that the lives of all minorities who are disproportionately at risk are included,” said Danielle Filip.“It is my hope that ‘Unspeakable’ brings attention to the basic human right of communication access as a thread which connects us all.”
The idea for “Unspeakable” began after a series of conversations Alaquiva had with his 8 year-old daughter about the current racial climate, He was inspired by watching her make BLM signs and use art to express her feelings. Being a witness, he was moved to find creative ways to augment the voices that often get overlooked. The father-daughter duo take ASL classes together and to this day, it remains very dear to their relationship.
“As fathers, we must expose our children to different environments and explore ways to creatively express provocative emotion through the channels of art that promote change,” Alaquiva said.
It is estimated that 1/3 to 1/2 of those who are killed by police have disabilities. Eric Garner, Freddie Grey, Sandra Bland, Tanesha Anderson all had disabilities, as did many more; (Source).
Sign language has many nuances. For example, the word “black,” used for the color, can be signed with one finger pointed out in the ASL “1” handshape moving horizontally across the forehead. While, the word “Black,” used as a cultural and race identifier, is signed using four fingers pressed together in the ASL “b” handshape moving horizontally across the forehead, and out of respect is exclusively signed by Black people.