Your Silence Will Not Protect You (Audre Lorde)


President Obama I recognize that you are  in a very tough position. Like millions, I pray for you and your family regularly.

I don’t begrudge your speaking out on behalf of Prof. Henry Louis Gates or reaching out to Sandra Fluke.  But your failure to speak out on behalf of Trayvon Martin speaks to the basest political calculation. The black vote is assured, so why risk the controversy?

Because black bodies are as valuable as white ones.

You have an historical burden to proclaim that that’s the case, then to back that claim up with action.

If you or your team believes that avoiding this issue will stop the endless voices screaming:

socialist, Muslim, terrorist,

birther, liar, failure, elitist,

n@#$#r, n@#$#r, n@#$#r, n@#$#r

you are profoundly mistaken. Every time you fail to act on issues like this, you sacrifice more of the opposition’s respect. Have you forgotten how vigorously and successfully President Bush defended Clarence Thomas? It’s hard to respect or trust someone who so lightly gives up one of his own (Bill Clinton-Kimba Woods-Lani Guinier).

When you avert your eyes, you give away a bit of your own humanity. It’s not enough to monitor the situation closely behind the closed doors of the West Wing or to agonize in private.

At the inauguration, the voices of the haters were stilled when you were bold and courageous.

Mr. President, if you want your tenure to matter, your legacy has to go beyond diligent, hard work . Laws and directives can be overturned the day that you walk out the door. If you leave behind a spirit of courage, boldness and vision, what you built will endure and inspire.





About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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