Thursday, January 5, 2012

Audre Lorde Remembered

Audre Lorde in 1983.
Photograph: Robert Alexander/Getty Images.
Click *here* for where I found this photo

It startles me to write it: Audre Lorde left us twenty years ago this November. I had the great pleasure of meeting Audre Lorde at a conference a few years before her passing. I shall never forget it. I was nervous, the way people talk about being nervous about meeting a great leader or famous actor whose work they've admired. I held back, wanting to be sure the women in line had the opportunity to greet her and share their own moments. Finally when there was no one else in line, I moved towards the table where she sat and greeted her. We exchanged a few words. She was kind and strong. Beyond that meeting, both before it and since, my overall politics and understandings of "what's wrong with the world" have been profoundly shaped by her work and words; the deep insight and wisdom in each enriches me to this day.

I've come across the following article and am reposting just an excerpt linking you to the full story. This is an account by Jackie Kay of how Audre Lorde affected her life. The article may be linked to *here at The Guardian*.
Lorde was openly lesbian before the gay movement existed. Her wise words often seem eerily prescient. "Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time and the arena, and the manner of our revolutions, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing." Back in the 70s and 80s Lorde's was an important and singular voice: "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 permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered for ever."
For more with Jackie Kay, please see this (you may click on the title just below to link to the web page that has the podcast):
Jackie Kay Audio (7min 28sec), 29 Sep 2011: Jackie Kay talks to children's books site member Luke Shore about her half-Nigerian, half-Scottish upbringing and her creative process.

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