A Butch Voice for Freedom

malkiacyrilThe final keynote speaker at the Butch Voices conference held recently in Oakland, was Malkia “Mac” Amala Cyril, the founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice. The CMJ is a national media strategy and action center building a powerful grassroots movement for racial and economic justice through media change. It’s based in Oakland.

Cyril’s powerful speech, “From Identity Politics to Political Power: The Butch Voice in the Movement for Justice,” addressed a personal history as a queer, working class African-American/Caribbean born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and dovetailed it with with a call to the needs and rights of all groups pushing back against oppression:

Family, can we talk about freedom?

Can we talk about what it is to live in a nation that has so manipulated that word many believe that simply by joining, by integrating, by sitting at the table of those whose media distorts our image and whose governance denies us our future- that this alone is a guarantee of freedom?

Can we talk about what it is to believe that freedom can come for the part of us that is female masculine, butch, tranny, faggot, stud, ag, genderqueer- and not come for the parts of us that are black, brown, south/southeast/east/and west asian, native, poor and working class, disabled, old and very young… can we talk about freedom? I think this is the right time and the right place to redefine its meaning.

Please take the time to read the rest of Cyril’s address here, on Democracy Guest List.

Read other posts from the Butch Voices conference here.


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