“Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” ― Maggie Kuhn
It must have started around middle school, what I now refer to as “the urge”. I’d be sitting in a classroom and someone would make a comment about how stupid girls were, and I’d feel it then. I’d be at home and someone in my family would go off about the gays and I’d feel it then also. On the school bus, at the mall, on the phone with a friend, I’d hear something and there it was, “the urge”. It was a physical discomfort that would rise from my midsection and get stuck in my throat. It was the strongest of desires to push back and against the constant stream of declarations thrown at me about those people, and there were a lot of those people it seemed. But when I would go to speak out my voice would shake, or my eyes would tear up, and I wouldn’t say anything -who was going to take me seriously if I was emotional? You see, at some point I had been taught that emotions were a sign of weakness and so I would have rather been thought of as indifferent than weak, but I was not indifferent, I was passionate, and I was choosing to be voiceless.
Through my work as an activist and an advocate for social justice issues I have learned to embrace “the urge”. It is now a reminder that I am armed with the awareness and the voice to speak out even if my voice shakes. I no longer see my emotional reactions as a sign of weakness; they are my body’s way of affirming that I am human, that I feel and sometimes what I feel is the need to make my voice heard even if it is accompanied by tears or anger, joy or fear.
This blog is meant to be the shaky but strong voice of students at Sarah Lawrence. It is a space for art, opinions, music, satire, education, ideas and sharing through our social justice voice. It is that moment in class when you want to raise your hand, when you want to push back, when you want to be seen, this is that moment when you want to be heard. We need to hear from you. Welcome to Even If Your Voice Shakes SLC.
Ana De La Rosa is a Grad Student at Sarah Lawrence in the Health Advocacy Program. She is a Grad Assistant in the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagament