As Simple as This: “Your Silence Will Not Protect You”–Audre Lorde

Watercolor, ink, gouache on paper

This piece was inspired by a guiding light, one who’s helped me through creativity, through the world, and through being a woman, a human being. This guiding light is Audre Lorde.

Today, while observing the current that brought my life to this moment, I was reminded of something important. Something that’s made my life possible and painful and beautiful: our truths. Not to be confused with capital T Truth (which I think is a fallacy–perhaps more on that some other time), these are the undoubtable truths that are our perspectives.

All we can do is tell our truths, let our truths out. Because our truths must be expressed if they are to be shared. And if we are going to progress as a culture, as people we need these perspectives and we need to speak and we must listen. That is where Audre Lorde comes in.

In Sister Outsider, a collection of Lorde’s speeches and essays, is a perspective that is intelligent as it is soulful, painful as it is comforting. In a quote from her paper “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action”, Lorde is able to express everything I’ve been pondering in just six words:

“Your silence will not protect you.”