Leymah Gbowee: Protests Start From Within

By: Shonda Smith, Speakers Bureau Manager

St. Francis College is a private college in Brooklyn, New York that encourages all students to give back to their communities through service. They recently hosted Peace is Loud speaker Leymah Gbowee to address the campus at the school's annual Frank Greene Lecture Series.

 Video and photo by St. Francis College

Peace is Loud speaker, Nobel Laureate, and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee delivered a moving talk on the theme of "Protests" at the 2016 Frank Greene Lecture Series, held on October 25 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.

About 200 people attended the annual event, where Leymah challenged attendees to develop a strong sense of awareness by recognizing what they don’t know, remaining inquisitive, having dialogues, and then stepping into the realm of protest. 

"Why, in the midst of all this awareness, do we have so much trouble in the world?" Leymah asked. Her hour-long address reflected on such topics as this nation's current political climate; the array of movements poised to fight injustices across the nation and the world; and the small-mindedness that comes from thinking we all know so much when, in essence, "we don't know a thing!"

Evil, Leymah shared, is often the result of holding on to harmful layers of stereotypes that center on misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, or any idea, thought, and action based on uninformed notions. In contrast, growth, she shared, happens when we get to the place where, "I see your humanity; do you see mine?"  She called upon activists to look for the parallels between their efforts and those of other movements, and to take an intersectional approach to activism.

In a speech woven with both personal and historical anecdotes, Leymah, who admitted she's still a "work in progress," stated that prejudice and ignorance prevail, even leading to wars, when we treat others as the objects and subjects of our stereotypes as opposed to recognizing their humanity.

Protests, Leymah told the crowd, are only stronger when we first hold a mirror to ourselves.

To book Leymah Gbowee for an upcoming speaking event, please click here.