Viola Davis Speech: We Are All History

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Viola Davis Speech: We Are All History

Watch this famous Viola Davis Speech. Viola Davis is an American actress and producer. She is the first black actor to have won an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Tony Award in acting named the Triple Crown of Acting. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.

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Viola Davis Quote:

Viola Davis Quote

You can only understand people if you feel them in yourself.” Viola Davis

Viola Davis full TRANSCRIPT:

“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry history with us. We are our history.

In other words: You’re a product of your environment. Now that term is usually relegated to people from low-income, crime-infested areas…but why? We all are a product of our environment.

Your existence is an amalgamation of every triumph, every hard-won battle, every woman who had an idea and massaged it, and had the courage to use it to change the world. Every person who survived slavery, Jim Crow and the black codes, to the Trail of Tears, wars…and passed their dreams on to you—of love, of hate. Yup, you are also the product of the other: Of silence, of apathy, a school built on stolen ground. Of women, a parent, grandparent, ancestor who suppressed dreams and ideas, who died with lost potential and horrific memories of sexual assault, mental illness, who didn’t feel good enough, or pretty enough or ENOUGH. Even your anxiety is part of your history…and yet here you are. Privileged, blessed…to do…what?

There are two roads that I see that people usually take: The choice to think that your path is all about you and your success, how high you can climb in your career and your status. Or, the so-called “save the world” approach, where you have a vision for the world and, by God, you will change it because you’re different. The first road requires you to mistake your presence for the event, to be in complete denial; and, the second requires you only to deny the really bad stuff. It requires you to forget racism, not see color, intersectionality, poverty… “but maybe I’ll take the sexism because it pertains to me.” Forget any evidence in my family of mental illness, of violence. Forget anything in me that will get in the way. Forget my fear, my pain. BOTH dead end. Both result in well-intentioned, very bright, enthusiastic people doing NOTHING.
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