“SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER”–We hear the phrase, sometimes even repeat it out loud. But here in the comparative safety of 21st-century, what does it cost us when we are uttering the phrase in the bathroom mirror, or to friends as we devour pastries with coffee or (herbal) tea? Or even when wave a hand-lettered placard during a mass demonstration?
Sojourner spoke when, for a Black woman in America, speaking up/speaking out was tantamount to a capital offense throughout much of America. We, who today can march down mean streets shouting “Black lives matter” owe a major debt to woman-warrior Sojourner Truth. For her it was neither a cliche nor simply a catch phrase. For Sojourner our very existence was a struggle. She waged a major and life-long fight for equal rights for all.
For Ms. Truth the battle was fierce and often knotted with difficult choices. Her life story was not, in total, a pretty picture. There were extremely difficult passages.
Whether fighting for the abolition of slavery or suffrage for women (she debated Frederick Douglas on that issue), “speaking truth to power” was her motto, indeed, was her life-long commitment. We would all do well to follow her steadfast leadership in seeking true self-determination.