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Speak Truth to Power

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Over the last few years I have created a project called “Voices” that asks the questions: how do people find their voice in the face of repression? Why do many turn a blind eye to the oppression that they witness? How do some have the courage to speak out?

A few years ago, I heard Kerry Kennedy as the keynote speaker at the Center for Justice and Accountability use the words: “Speak Truth to Power.”

Those words, combined with the moving stories of CJA 's clients who suffered torture and loss, continued to reverberate in my mind. I began to imagine these words spoken in different languages and in communities around the globe. Since then I have had an ongoing quest to find translations in different languages. The origin of the phrase “speak truth to power” came from the Quakers in response to the 1950’s blacklists. I grew up during the civil rights movement. The ideas of fairness and equality are deeply ingrained within me.

I imagined all these phrases emanating from a world of people unknown to one another, but with a communal power to share the truth of their personal experiences. I began to envision all these words gathered together as an art installation that would honor those who have had the courage to speak out. This work is the newest realization of these ideas. Here are 24 colloquial translations from friends and acquaintances installed on wood.

The voices of Speak Truth to Power need to continue to be heard today from all over the world...

7.5' x 7.5' x 4'

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