by Aaminah Shakur
“I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” (Audre Lorde, “The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action”)
Speak You have a voice So why don’t you use it? All those times you Fold in on yourself Take refuge in safety But your silence Will not protect you The world moves on Around you Oblivious To your unspoken And unmet Needs and dreams Speak For it is in the naming The power lies To create To change To bring about new worlds Did you never ask yourself Why prayer, chant, song, spell Ask for a verbalization To make manifest The desires of the heart Speak And in your speaking May you find strength And may you Unbind the tongue Of another
Image “I Am Speaking” by Aaminah Shakur
Image description: Four panel photo collage with a yellow and black background of interlocking lines. Each panel features a close up of a self-portrait of a light-skinned person with purple lipstick and a silver lip ring, focusing tightly on the lips at different points of saying the word “speak”.