author, actress and founder of Third Wave Direct Action
Rebecca Walker came to McKenny Union ballroom March 14 to
discuss the issues she faced growing up as an interracial
child in a judgmental society.
parents met during the Civil Rights Movement in Jackson,
Miss. Her father, a Jewish man from Brooklyn, was working
to desegregate public schools, and her mother was an African-American
woman from the Deep South. The two of them made it clear
they were a couple when they shared each other's ice cream;
her mother was eating vanilla while her father was eating
"I really think that it's important that activism
comes from your heart," Walker said. "I
don't think it's enough for a person to intellectualize
their way into taking a stand."
that they fell madly in love," Walker said.
to the laws in Mississippi at that time, interracial marriage
was illegal, so they got married in Jackson, NY, where the
law permitted it.
said they wanted to have a "mixed love child."
She was born in 1969 in Jackson, Miss.
was born and I had this identity from birth of being a movement
child, being the embodiment of new vision for America,"
she said. "My parents talked a lot about how, in
my body, black and white came together in love, hope and
optimism as opposed to hatred, rage and despair."
her parents divorced when she was only 7 years old.
think they separated because of the rise of Black Power
Movement," Walker said.
the divorce, they eventually remarried someone of each of
their own races.
of her childhood was spent moving back and forth physically,
mentally and even in terms of her identity, because she
felt as if she had to beware at all times because someone
would hate something about her.
Walker's sophomore year, as she walked home from school,
she witnessed a woman being physically abused by her husband.
She ran to the woman and made an effort to stop the man
from hitting his wife. However, he acted as if he were going
to hit Walker, too. The following day, Walker wrote about
the incident in the school newspaper, her activism branched
off from that point.
really think that it's important that activism comes from
your heart," Walker said. "I don't think
it's enough for a person to intellectualize their way into
taking a stand."
attended Yale University and graduated cum laude in 1992.
It was there when she became comfortable talking about her
found myself in a group of friends that thought the way
I thought about race. Everybody had different backgrounds,
but everybody spoke the same language," she said.
the years, Walker has spread her wings by publishing three
books, writing in magazines such as Essence, SPIN, Harper's
Bizarre and Vibe. She was also the host of a television
show focused primarily on youth activism. She has received
the Paz y Justicia award from the Vanguard Foundation.