Oprah’s Example of How to Speak Your Voice

Ladies, it is time. Now is the time to speak your voice! We owe it to those before us who were silenced. We owe it to those who feel alone and fear speaking the truth. We owe it to those who watch us now, searching for role models and inspiration.

Golden Globes 2018

Back in January, 2018, Oprah sent sound waves through the entertainment industry and into our homes. At the Golden Globes, she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Her speech encouraged, inspired, and touched men and women of all walks of life. While she spoke in celebration of the #MeToo movement, she began a movement of her own by speaking four simple words, “Their time is up!” Oprah used her voice of power, respect, and far reaching influence to ignite in women a desire to speak up. She used her voice to lean into the hearts of victims of sexual harassment. By telling the story of one woman’s life, she encouraged all of us to never give up hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

The Ones Who Inspire Us

Oprah described Recy Taylor, a woman of inspiration who, “lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men.” Taylor, a victim of rape, lived knowing her tormentors would not meet justice for their crimes. Despite living in the Jim Crow era, she refused to be silenced by fear or the threats of those men. She sought help. She told her story. She showed others how to speak their voice by using hers.

In turn, Rosa Parks, a prominent figure in our history who helped Recy Taylor with her case, learned to speak her voice. She used the inspiration of others, the example set by others, and drew courage when she needed it the most.

Now Oprah, and many others, are using their voices to speak up and demand social justice. Like others, Oprah honored those, “women whose names we'll never know. They are domestic workers. And farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they're in academia, and engineering, and medicine, and science. They're part of the world of tech and politics and business. They're our athletes in the Olympics and they're our soldiers in the military.” She honored those who continue living oppressed so they can care for their children, their businesses, and their dreams. Just as we take inspiration from these women who have come before us, we must lend inspiration to those watching us.

The Ones Who Watches Us

It is time to speak your voice! It is time to stand up and tell your story. We can no longer sit and wait for others to do it for us. Our daughters, students, neighbors, friends, young business women, and those yet to come are watching us. They need to see bravery in the face of adversity. They need to hear women proclaim victory over shame and fear. Just as each of us has someone we admire, we must be an admirable person to another watching us.

How to Speak Your Voice

We do not all have a platform such as Oprah. We are not all able to influence millions in one fell swoop. However, we each have a voice. We each have a circle of influence.

When opportunity arises, speak your voice. When men and women are willing to listen, speak your voice. When you are scared, speak your voice. When you are confident, speak your voice. It is time for each of you to speak your voice!