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All People Have Voices

On 11 March 2016, I spoke about the work of advocacy at the orientation for the Presbyterians attending the 60th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. I was asked to post a portion of my remarks and did so on the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations blog. I reprint the words here with the permission of the blog editor (who happens to be me).


All people have voices. The task of advocacy has nothing to do with giving voice to the voiceless, because all people have voices. Some people have voices we choose not to hear. Some people have voices we ignore. Some people have voices we force to the margins. Some people have voices we oppress, repress, suppress. Some people have voices we have silenced, sometimes for a long time, but all people have voices.


The work of advocacy leads us to uncover the voices of our sisters and brothers whose voices we ignore, drive to the margins, suppress, or silence to hear the voices of our sisters and brothers to listen, truly listen, passionately listen to the voices of our sisters and brothers to heed the voices of our sisters and brothers and then to work with our sisters and brothers whose voices we ignore, drive to the margins, suppress, or silence to amplify the voices of our sisters and brothers to bring the voices of our sisters and brothers to the halls of privilege and the tables of power to invite and call and challenge all people, particularly privileged, powerful people, to hear the voices of our sisters and brothers to demand that all people, particularly privileged, powerful people, listen, truly listen, passionately listen to our sisters and brothers whose voices we ignore, drive to the margins, suppress, or silence because all people have voices.


The Rev. W. Mark Koenig director, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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