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Audre Lorde
1934 - 1992

Audre LordeWe must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.

You have to learn to love yourself before you can love me or accept my loving. Know we are worthy of touch before we can reach out for each other. Not cover that sense of worthlessness with "I don't want you" or "it doesn't matter" or "white folks feel, Black folks DO."

The energies I gain from my work help me neutralize those implanted forces of negativity and self-destructiveness that is White America's way of making sure I keep whatever is powerful and creative within me unavailable, ineffective, and non-threatening.

How often have I demanded from another Black woman what I had not dared to give myself -- acceptance, faith, enough space to consider change.

Am I reaching out for you in the only language I know? Are you reaching for me in your only salvaged tongue? If I try to hear yours across our difference does that mean you can hear mine?

My Black woman's anger is a molten pond at the core of me, my most fiercely guarded secret. Your silence will not protect you!

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.

We cannot settle for the pretenses of connection, or for the parodies of self-love.

We cannot continue to evade each other on the deepest levels because we fear each other's angers, nor continue to believe that respect means never looking directly nor with openness into another black woman's eyes.

We are African women and we know, in our blood's telling, the tenderness with which our foremothers held each other.

Hopefully, we can learn from the 60s that we cannot afford to do our enemies work by destroying each other.

If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough.

We are powerful because we have survived.

There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.

We welcome all women who canmeett us, face to face, beyond objectification and beyond guilt.

Differences between ourselves as Black women are also being misnamed and used to separate us from one another.

Difference is that raw and powerful connection from which our personal power is forged.

The erotic cannot be felt secondhand.

To encourage excellence is to go beyond the encouraged mediocrity of our society.

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.

I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.

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