Most glorious day, it’s Audre Lorde’s birthday!
Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was an amazing intersectional Black feminist, poet, lesbian, and activist superhero. Her legacy continues to inspire young feminists driving us to be more thoughtful, more intersectional, and to act out our convictions in meaningful ways. Disrupting Dinner Parties derives its name from a passage from Sister Outsider, specifically her essay entitled “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.” Wondering how best to live out Audrey Lorde’s legacy? Here are some ways to do that:
- Work to amplify the the voices of transwomen, ciswomen, queer, and non-binary individuals in anti-racism, anti-oppression work, such as the #blacklivesmatter movement.
- Support, donate, volunteer, and apply to work with the Audre Lorde Project a community organizing, education, and capacity-building group inspired by Audre Lorde’s legacy.
- More meme-oriented? Check out Colorlines’ roundup of amazing quotes by our favorite person:
- Learn about creative activist projects such as #SolidariTrees/#ihaveadream from DC artist and activist, Omolara Williams McCallister, as well as “Because of Them We Can” by Eunique Jones.
- Learn about Audre Lorde’s life, read the sure-to-be-amazing bio/anthology about her by her surviving partner, Dr. Gloria I. Joseph, read her works.
I’ll close with the passage from which we derive our name:
‘I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.” I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever. Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.’ -Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider, “‘The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action.’