Laney Towers

Audre Lorde praises women
By Joe Kempkes

Reprinted from the Laney College newspaper, “Laney Tower” March 2003

A presentation of the video: “The Edge of Each Others Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde” (2002) produced by Jennifer Abod was followed by a lively discussion at the Laney Forum March 13.

Through her teaching, her writing and her social activism, Audre Lorde (1934-1992) expressed a synchronous worldview that has had a profound impact on countless people’s lives.

Lorde professed a philosophy of becoming aware of our commonalties and transcending limiting categories that separate us from ourselves and from others.

The video focused on a 1990 Women’s Conference held in Boston. Women spoke their heartfelt truths about anger and hurt experiencing racism and sexism, while others shared their joys, their fears, or the satisfaction that involvement and love of other women brings them.

One woman said reading Lorde “Was like reading my own life written by somebody else.” Lorde herself said. “For black women and white women to face each other’s anger without denial, or silence. or guilt is in itself a generative idea.”

She differentiated the role and power of poetry from other literary forms thusly: “The difference between poetry and rhetoric is being ready to kill yourself instead of your children.”

Interspersed were interviews of Lorde as well as biographical information that considers her personal evolution (“I started out like we all did: a coward”), her health challenges (Lorde died of breast cancer at age 58), teaching and prolific writing careers.

Audre Lorde’s legacy continues to grow through the poetry that she has left us and through this educational and emotionally moving narrative documentary that captures the Zeitgeist of a visionary, whose ideas are universally generative for all people at all times.