The Voices of We - The Inspiration
The inspiration for the Voices of We came from the first monologue in the production entitled, The Other Cheek, about a Pentecostal young woman in the deep south who desperately seeks the true nature of God. While writing this monologue, I became increasingly aware that beyond the global affects of oppression, the deepest wounds experienced by the oppressed often result from the marginalization experienced from those within their own communities.
It became clear. It is one thing when members of society take exception with one’s race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. It is quite another when those disconnects are brought about by those closest to them; the former being familiar and anticipated, while the latter, unexpected and wrought with betrayal.
Shortly after writing The Other Cheek, the voices of other women came into my life. Every article, play, book, movie, and conversation became a study of women’s voices and perspectives, and the often misguided and ill-informed perceptions of them. All too often, it wasn’t the portrayal of their voices, but rather, the lack of them that disturbed me the most. It became more and more clear. Women of all shapes and sizes, all races and ethnicities, wherever they fall on the spectrum of gender identity and sexual orientation - all of them, have truly powerful stories to tell. This is especially so with those who can not, and do not, have access to forums where their voices can be heard.
It is in this stifled silence where shame is born.
Brene Brown, a well-known author and research professor who specializes in shame, posits that shame can not exist in isolation. For that reason, shame can only be healed in the presence of others, and requires a safe place where shame’s ironic cure, vulnerability, can be cultivated and nurtured. It is my hope that in this, and in all future productions of The Voices of We, experiencing the voices of women like us will proffer healing in the empathic presence of others.
Brown also asserts that, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation.” If this is true, as I believe it is, the healing of the immense shame women experience on a day to day basis will stir a greater sense of purpose and drive, and the well-earned and long overdue prominence that far exceeds that of our bravest predecessors.
We are innovators and creators. We are leaders with strong and empathic spirits. We are women with voices, and the world must hear.
~ Robbi D’Allessandro