ROLE IN SEXUAL EQUALITY,
By Adam Benson,
© The Daily Utah Chronicle,
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,"
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
"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
"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 oppressors...now,
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
"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
"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.