Rebecca Walker



Adam Benson, © The Daily Utah Chronicle, 10/10/2003

  Rebecca Walker has lived much of her life in the public eye. The parents of an interracial family, Walker was born in Jackson, Miss., in 1969.

"It's been important for me not to hierarchize oppressions...It's time to recognize we're so much more alike than we are different," she said.

Walker, the recipient of the 2003 League of Women Voters' "Women Who Could Be President Award," spoke to a crowd of about 50 Thursday afternoon in the Union Ballroom about the role love plays in the quest for sexual equality.

"We in the queer community know how to love big, even if it's not fashionable or safe...We want to change hearts and minds as well as laws," she said.

Walker came to the U as the keynote speaker of Pride Week, but the founder of Third Wave Foundation-the only national activist and philanthropic organization for women aged 15-20-told the crowd that the most important weapon in any social movement is self-love.

"Love has always played a significant role in the course of human engagement, and self-love more than anything else is running this movement," Walker said, referring to recent strides made by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in getting sodomy laws overturned and other significant accomplishments.

"If we want the GLBT movement to continue to be successful, we need to fight for noble ideals of justice and equality...We need to return to our roots again and again," she said.

In fact, said Walker, some of the nation's largest and most visible social movements have failed because those involved lost sight of the human values activists began fighting for.

Walker pointed to the Civil Rights Movement, peace movements and clashes over labor laws as examples.

"A focus on economic justice alone cannot heal the hearts of those who are oppressed and move the souls of, as we are winning, is the time to plan ahead," she said.

Walker outlined three steps members of the LGBT community can take to ensure the movement for equal rights doesn't fizzle out.

"We understand what it means to build family out of friendship, and it's important that we understand the turbulent terrain of queer life," she said.

Second, Walker said the reconceptualizing of diversity to extend to all groups who have been oppressed is important in the gay rights movement.

Finally, "We need to extend our community to include the whole world a few minutes every day," she said. "Imagine the beginning of blood ties being less important, almost irrelevant."

Though Walker was visibly disappointed by the lack of turnout, she thanked those who did attend for participating.

"I wish more people were here, but sometimes you have to consider quality, not quantity," she said.

Walker said that in addition to developing a strong sense of self-love, it's important for people to exhibit compassion as well.

"Learning to have compassion for somebody, even if you don't like them, is akin to eroticizing somebody you love...It is a muscle we need to continue to develop," Walker said.


Rebecca Walker - All Rights Reserved 2007. - Rebecca @ MySpace