“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.”

– Audre Lorde, The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action

Silence. Fear. Self. What are the things that keep us from discovering and speaking the words with which we need to articulate the power of our existence? As Black feminist poet Audre Lorde so eloquently and urgently writes, we are at a pivotal moment in our lives to speak the truths of our experiences and to connect with each other to create change in our communities. “Speak Truth to Power” as the theme for the 4th Annual Cross-Cultural Center Leadership Conference (C3LC), was inspired by experiences in witnessing the power of storytelling as acts of resistance. The goal of the conference is to initiate critical conversations regarding how our personal stories interplay with the trajectories of our communities’ past, present, and future. The space also provides opportunities to engage with stories that often go unheard. Through keynote speakers and student workshops, “Speak Truth to Power” aims to empower student leaders to develop their voices and share their stories in coming together as community. “Speak Truth to Power” is also a space for staff and faculty to engage critically with the needs and experiences of students. Ultimately, we hope to build communities and spark conversations that go beyond the time of the conference. Whether it is having real talk on what it means to be a student of color in graduate school or learning to find your words through poetic expression, I hope that you can begin your journey to speak truth to power at the Cross-Cultural Center.

Peace. Joy. Love. Always.

Irving Ling,

CCC Affiliates and Outreach Coordinator, 2013-2014


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