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The Speak Life Movement was born out of a unique crossroad of racial tensions and unity in America. America had just experienced 3 verdicts that epitomized the under toned racial inequalities that were always present here in America, but was brought to the forefront through the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown case, the Eric Garner case, and the not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin trail. In the era of social media such as, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, people are using words and imagery to express their anger, their grief, their feelings of injustice- in 140 characters or less. The stark white words on the backdrop of solid black t-shirts, “I can’t breathe,” or the words spray painted on cardboard, “hands up.” All depict so vividly the pain, the outrage, the suffering, the disappointment that America is experiencing. Now, more than ever before, people are using singular words and single snap pictures, to say and express their turmoil and vast well of feelings and emotions, just like when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Church door.
The Speak Life Movement ignites the conscious awareness of the POWER of the spoken and written word. Its premise is that words are alive, an entity that lives, breathes, reproduces, creates, destroys, divides, and unites. It has the power to build up nations, and it has the same power to destroy generations of people. Words have the power to influence the greatest and most powerful leaders of our time. Think about some of the most transformative speeches in history. Dr. Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech, resonated throughout every man, woman, and child who has ever heard those words. For 17 minutes, King strategically and craftily arranged and aligned his words, as a conductor to an orchestra. He knew his words could evoke the change that America needed so desperately. We were looking for a voice who could express exactly what America was feeling inside, what the world was feeling inside. A dream, expressed through words, became action. Words effect change. We believe in breadth and depth of words, and the power of what they can become.
The Speak Life Movement offers a platform for people to share their stories of tragedy and pain, and how they transformed that energy into triumph and victory. Everyone has a story; we can learn and grow from the tragedies that shatter our world. We can gather strength, fortitude, and resilience from the tragedies that are all around us. Suffering comes to us all, but for a reason. All this pain and all this loss is for a reason. Maybe these things happen to open our eyes of our souls, to see beyond the physical attributes that make us different, but allow us to see what makes us the same. See beyond the skin of brown, white, honey, or caramel, but see the beauty that lies within me- see my spirit of love, generosity, compassion, concern, and the desire to want to make a change in this world, but I’m not sure how.
Let us speak words of LIFE. Words that builds and uplifts. Words that inspire and activates positive change in this world. Words that become action. Words that pursue justice and truth. Words that are honest and transparent. Words that love and heal. Words that gives us strength. Words that comfort us during our darkest hour. Words that brings peace and eases anxiety. Words that dismantles anger and diffuses hate. Words that harmonizes with the melody of the soul. Words that create joy. Words whose seeds of greatness, will bring forth a harvest of impactful change.
Even the words- Speak LIFE evokes the divine energy to create a momentum of consciousness of what you speak from your mouth, or what you decide to write from the tips of your fingers.
Will your words create a life of positivity and beauty, or will your words be those that tear down and create hate and discourse. Be intentional in your words, for words become action.
Betsy A. Calloway