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Monday, October 8, 2018

Using Our Voices for Ourselves and Others

Within 24 hours of each other, Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the Supreme Court and Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of murdering Laquan McDonald. Both situations underscore the deep divisions the United States continues to face  across gender and its intersections with disability, immigration, political power, race, sexual orientation, social class, and so much more. What can we draw upon from IMPACT?

In IMPACT, participants often discover themselves, the abilities and power they already have, and the incredible experience of being part of a supportive community. The confidence we gain in using our bodies, feelings, and minds in scenario after scenario most often expresses itself in our everyday worlds through our voices. 

We have many examples on our blog that highlight the importance of our voices and speaking up, for instance:

·       In “Trust Your Own Voice,” Victoria, 2013 graduate, shares how she gained the confidence through IMPACT to contribute her ideas and opinions in her male-dominated workplace.

·       In “Your Voice Has Power,” Sandria, 2018 graduate, describes stopping a man masturbating in public and ways that she alerted the larger community.

We can also use our voices to challenge 
  • disrespect for the bodies of children, immigrants, genderqueer people, people of color, people with disabilities, and women
  • blaming victims for the violence they experience 
  • uses of personal and political power to disregard and override the NO from others. 
Even when we know speaking up is the right thing to do, we may be afraid.  

Audre Lorde reminds us: 
...and when we speak we are afraid 
our words will not be heard 
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

so it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
Audre Lorde From A Litany for Survival

For more encouragement to speak out, check out my personal blog What Martha Thinks for a poem "Look Now" and for ideas about how to join our voices with larger efforts to improve our communities, see  “Challenge the Culture of Silence: Support Survivors and Hold Perpetrators Accountable."

Martha Thompson
IMPACT Chicago
Social Media Editor and Coordinator
Instructor and Administrative Team Co-Leader

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