Back Talk

Q: What’s the best way to speak out?

When you find your voice, you have command over your tools, your facilities. And Sarah Lawrence gives you the tools to extrapolate from one discipline to another. You should have confidence in that. Conrad Vogel ’77, Artist, New York, NY
There’s something to be said for being there, physically supporting a cause with your presence or labor. I’m a fan of social networking sites, but they’ve spread speaking out in two main directions. For one, a vast number of people will find out about your cause and may support you—some may even show up for whatever event. But Facebook and the like have also fueled an exponential growth of armchair activism which, in the end, seems like hot air lost in cyberspace. Alex Leff ’00, Journalist and online editor, San Jose, Costa Rica
You have to get fear out of your life. And we come from a fear-based culture, which is a big issue. I didn’t find my voice until after many trials and tribulations. I never spoke out. Even at SLC, in class, I barely ever spoke. Then I got married and I kept my mouth shut. My life was a disaster until I found out that if you don’t start talking, speaking up, it’s going to be the end of it. Now I never shut up. Judith Beardsall ’69, Wine consultant, New York, NY
Write, sing, join an activist group. Keep the activist spirit going. Matthew Schwartz ’99, Writer and teacher, Brooklyn, NY
It’s very important to be reflective. I think that this culture discourages self-reflection. You have to think before you speak. One of the wonderful things about going to a school like this is you get lots of practice talking, and hopefully you get practice being listened to. Caren Vignos Sturges ’69, Volunteer, president of the board of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Princeton, NJ
I’ve been on a lot of boards and I don’t find it difficult to stand up and talk. I think it’s partly because of having been at SLC: the small classes and the close relationship with the teacher. Lucia McKellar Maloney ’38, Retired, Chappaqua, NY
I think it’s always easier if you believe what you’re saying. Occasionally in the workplace I feel like I have to back up something that I don’t necessarily feel that strongly about. But when people believe what they’re saying it’s very powerful, pretty much instantly. Alice Ro ’89, Industrial designer, Brooklyn, NY
Facebook. I know that sounds shallow, but I actually do think it’s a good way to express yourself. If you’re really into it, you accumulate so many friends that when you want to get something out, you instantly get it out to a lot of people, in a fun way. Andrea Rose ’84, Actor, playwright, career counselor, Astoria, NY
The first thing would be to know what you want to say. You have to feel it. And the second thing is, you have to have some guts. Ruth Capelle ’59, Professor of art emeritus, Oxnard, CA


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