The bell hooks symposium was held recently on the campus of Austin Peay State University. Chalise Miller | THE ALL STATE

Love is a word that people throw around like it is nothing, but the great bell hooks believed that love is healing, and without love our society will always be polarized and separated.

Wednesday September 6th, I got to experience what love felt like at the bell hooks Educational Symposium. Gwenda Watkins-Motley (sister of bell hooks), Francene Gilmer (long-time friend of bell hooks), Dr.Valerie Watkins (sister of bell hooks), and Idalia Luna (Human Rights Advocate) were guest speakers at this symposium where they discussed the art and advocacy of bell hooks.

Bell hooks’ real name was Gloria Jean Watkins. She called herself bell hooks after her maternal great-grandmother, bell blair hooks. Hooks preferred her pen name be spelled in lowercase letters to ensure that her work is what caught the eye of people, and instead of catching the eye it caught the heart of millions.

Bell hooks grew up in a small segregated town where she would be educated in segregated schools, but it was her surroundings that inspired her to write her experiences and perspectives. bell hooks , who was a social activist and feminist, became famous for her writing about race, class, and feminism.

A major highlight in her work is her focus on the interconnectivity of race, capitalism, and gender which ultimately causes systems of oppression, inequality, and injustice.

Mrs. Gwenda Watkins-Motley quoted her sister, ”Love is an act of will-namely, both an intention and an action.”

So, when you are spreading love, is it with intent?