Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider is packed with strong words and tough challenges for any of us committing to become better people. Through the process of self-examination and exploration, we uncover the biases we’ve acquired, the systems that exist to ingrain them in us, and effectively learn precisely the biases we need to unlearn. For the certified social worker or those simply intending on doing social good, let her words move you. Read through the quotes with an open heart and ears to not only listen for the intended meaning, but also listen for your interpretation of today’s application. Perhaps the two aren’t too distant.
These are my favorite Audre Lorde quotes on self-reflection from Sister Outsider.
Words dance effortlessly in her poetry, where experiences are distilled, wounds inform knowledge, and healing seemingly winds through space and time. Audre Lorde was so many things all at once, and the revelations of her multichotomy laid important roots for our movements today. At every turn, Audre made no time for the bliss of ignorance, instead probing always for a deeper exploration of who we are as a human, community, society, and system. In honor of her people passion, and #BlkAugust, here are my favorite quotes of hers on gender and race, all of which stand no less relevant today than the day they were written. It is our challenge to imprint her words in our minds, and impact our actions for change.
“This is the 21st century and we need to redefine revolution. This planet needs a people’s revolution. A humanist revolution. Revolution is not about bloodshed or about going to the mountains and fighting. We will fight if we are forced to but the fundamental goal of revolution is peace. We need a revolution of the mind.
We need a revolution of the heart. We need a revolution of the spirit. The power of the people is stronger than any weapon. A people’s revolution can’t be stopped. We need to be weapons of mass construction. Weapons of mass love. It’s not enough just to change the system. We need to change ourselves. We have got to make this world user friendly. User friendly.
Are you ready to sacrifice to end world hunger. To sacrifice to end colonialism. To end neo-colonialism. To end racism. To end sexism. Revolution means the end of exploitation. Revolution means respecting people from other cultures. Revolution is creative.
Revolution means treating your mate as a friend and an equal. Revolution is sexy. Revolution means respecting and learning from your children. Revolution is beautiful. Revolution means protecting the people. The plants. The animals. The air. The water. Revolution means saving this planet.
Revolution is love.” – Assata Shakur
Photo Credit: Start Now Studiosfeatured muralist Kristy Sandoval andher storybehind the Assata Shakur mural in Pacoima, Los Angeles.
Washington, D.C. came alive in response to the verdict to Mike Brown’s case – the police who shot the unarmed Mike Brown dead will not be indicted. An estimated 11,000 demonstrators piled into Mt. Vernon Square on November 25 at 7pm and began the march through downtown DC in solidarity with Ferguson.
Some motorists were caught in the middle of the march on New York Ave. While stuck waiting, some drivers raised their hands up and chanted with us, “hands up, don’t shoot.” A few marchers greeted the immobile motorists and apologized for their delay.
The march even paused outside of and occupied the newly opened Walmart on H Street in a display of continued protest against Walmart’s low wages. No laws were broken, nor was anything stolen while Walmart was briefly occupied. Walmart workers and shoppers expressed solidarity by throwing their hands up.
Throughout the walk, many marchers encountered familiar faces and shared hugs and stories, lamenting on what the Ferguson decision meant to them. Amidst a passionate call-and-response of “no peace, no justice!” or the popular hashtag “black lives matter!”, marchers remained courteous, peaceful, and showed nothing but love. The Asian American community represented with signs that read “Yellow Peril Loves, Supports, and Protects Black Power,” and “Asian Americans in Solidarity with Ferguson.” Some chants were repeated in Spanish – “Que queremos? Justicia. Cuando? Ahora!”
The march concluded with a gathering on the steps of the Portrait Gallery while some marchers sang. Crowds dispersed around 9:30pm, about 1.5 hours after the march began.
turning 30 means i get to bid farewell to my 20s. was it awesome? absolutely. i mean, it was a fruitful decade. i played in college, took up my first job, played more in grad school, still drowning in student loans, collected unemployment, romance came and went, increasingly called my mother more, and meditated through a lot of sh*t. amazingly I’ve gather so much good advice from wading through all the muck, I feel it’s my human duty to pay it forward.
the best part about leaving my 20s behind is that I get to check all these lessons off my list and take them with me into my dirty 30s! Woot woot. I’m tempted to believe that it’s smooth sailing from here but it’s probably best to take it one decade at a time. *finger snaps and share widely if you can relate*
all poetic credits go to the talented warsan shire, a 25-year old somali kenyan poet who resides in london. learn more about her background here. this poem speaks truths that resonate in the center of a powerful woman, while in its short prose navigates the sensual, destructive, and strange journey of love. dedicated to consciously awake women, and those who love them.
(header photo features three generations of women: me, my mother, and my grandmother taking her very first selfie at age 89. like i said, fierce.)
(header image: me sharing my debt story at a U.S Senate press conference on a bill advocating for refinancing student loans)
april is financial literacy month and here’s why this is important to me: I owe $85,000 in student loans and i’m not really sure how i got here.
the news of the US student loan debt industry topping $1 trillion came coincidentally at a time when i was puzzling over mine (which, admittedly, feels as though it might as well be $1 trillion.) the slow unraveling of my student loan debt history reveals to me multiple layers of poorly-informed decisions, combined with inadequate information and resources, paving the way for what feels like a lifetime of loan payments.