the closing keynote of the allied media conference

(these were my prepared notes – can’t wait to hear what actually came out of my mouth!)

my name is adrienne maree brown, i’m with the ruckus society. we train people in nonviolent direct action and civil disobedience. this is important here because this is a room full of media makers. media without action is simply words, and action with media is loneliness. we must be symbiotic.

this is important also because our history, our trauma, our pain, all of it resides in our bodies. if we do not take action to release it, and to heal, then it stays in there, trapped. direct action puts our bodies into healing. not just to protest, though we can do that well – but to act from our visions.

we’ll be guerilla gardeners. at this time, we should not be asking for permission to live in the world we want to see. stop being obedient. i watched the obama campaign, and we all felt the hope – but that hope should not make us more obedient – that is not gonna keep us safe. we must create our own systems, BE the kind of people we want our children to be, begin to show people what care can look like.

we must, in small and huge ways, EVERY DAY, disobey, stop being polite, and start DOING love, and taking action for the world we want. that is radical love, and i invite you to take action with me.

(i then introduced nada and andy, our closing keynote speakers, who were AMAZING!)

what you have just heard is about transformation. two metaphors. one is the caterpillar to butterfly – the caterpillar goes into the cocoon and becomes goop, almost nothing. and then from that comes a butterfly – there is no DNA overlap that remains, there is nothing in the caterpillar that becomes butterfly, except for the yearning to fly. when we submit to our yearning, we can actually reach what we’re supposed to be.

the other metaphor is the light of the sun, moving down through leaves to live in the heart of the tree, and then we cut down the tree and we burn that wood to release the sun. and that sun shifts shape to be the warmth around which we gather to tell our stories. it releases the fire we use to cook our food and feed our children. and when we need to, we can be a fire that burns down the unjust systems with the light of a new world.

act with compassion. act with redemption. act with awareness, towards truth and reconciliation. we are ready. now. act.

2 Responses to “the closing keynote of the allied media conference”


  1. 1 china

    wow – adrienne. It was so beautiful! I am here at home googling and looking at parts I missed + parts I was at. The first part, this, until after Noemi spoke (for the childrens track), then I took a little group of children back to the childcare room where they wanted to make crafts. it was so moving to sit up there, all excited (the children) waiting for Noemi to speak. there was this over all feeling I got from detroit – this over all message – and your voice is part of it. its what I believed in but it makes me feel stronger, to come back home to baltimore, stronger, inspired, and even more coming from a place of love in my interactions. I love what you say about media and action, I find it, as a zinester and someone involved in radical childcare – to be the case.

    thank you
    china

  2. 2 vikki

    Thanks for putting up the text of your talk. I missed the entire keynote, both getting ready to get back on the bus to NYC and then hanging out with your lovely and awesome nephew outside so that your sister could actually *listen* and not have to play chase up and down the auditorium.

    And thank you for helping to organize such an amazing conference. SEe you next year.

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