Nothing Changes If I Don’t Speak Up

Part and parcel1 of being female and Black is being silenced. I have been aggressively silenced by family members, male or female, and at work, school, and so on. Even at home with my partner, I find myself thinking, “Never mind. She’s too thin-skinned2 and I won’t be heard here,” and going silent.

Lately I have been trying to write—write all manner of things. I can tell3 how difficult it is to keep writing because it has gotten to the point where I will silence myself before anyone else can or will do it for me.

Sandra Bland4 was a brave woman. My partner said, “She shouldn’t have talked back to the police. It’s dangerous.” I said, “She died for standing up for her dignity and who she was. Nothing changes if we’re silent.” That’s my takeaway from Sandra Bland’s death. Speaking up may kill me, but nothing changes if I don’t.


Reprinted from the RC e-mail
discussion list for leaders of women

1 "Part and parcel" means a basic part.
2 "Thin-skinned" means easily offended, sensitive to criticism
3 "Tell" means notice.
4 Sandra Bland was a twenty-eight-year-old African American woman who was found dead in her jail cell in Waller County, Texas, USA, on July 13, 2015, after being arrested for a minor traffic violation. Videos recorded on the arresting officer's dashboard camera and a bystander's cell phone revealed the violent, mean-spirited way the officer had treated her, and how she had spoken out against it. 
5 "My takeaway" means what I am taking away.



Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00