And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant.

Elie Wiesel, acceptance speech on the occasion of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, December 10, 1986.


Silence is like starvation. Don’t be fooled. It’s nothing short of that, and felt most sharply when one has had a full belly most of her life. When we are not physically starving, we have the luxury to realize psychic and emotional starvation. It is from this starvation that other starvations can be recognized–if one is willing to take the risk of making the connection–if one is willing to be responsible to the result of the connection. For me, the connection is an inevitable one.

Cherrie Moraga, “La Güera,” This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981).