A great man once said:
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”—Martin Luther King Jr.
Settle down my brothers and sisters.
Don’t let them wrack your nerves,
Don’t let them put you down,
Do not give up, for it is what they want,
What they expect.
Go above and beyond,
Fight, but use no fists.
Use words, use your stance, use your presence,
To refute everything that they have expected from us,
For their expectations are not our own.
We can dream. They only see what is in front of them.
A great man, God bless his mighty soul,
Once stood on the steps of Washington
And addressed an audience larger, larger than gathered here today,
Because people listened, because people took action.
Inspiration was bred.
That is the might of our power,
The might of our words.
Too long we have struggled,
But we shall keep struggling,
Until one day this nation can open its eyes
To the beautiful collection of people,
The young and the old,
The faithful, the races, the minorities, the families.
Though there have been derogatory words that afflicted us,
We shall fix them; break them apart, until we can be satisfied by their recreation.
But we shall not be satisfied with what we have,
We cannot let ourselves falter;
If we fall, we shall rise up again
But never take a step back.
We shall fight with the might of our words,
With our peaceful protests,
With our being and hearts.
We can no longer tolerate this oppression
Because we have risen,
Because we are men and women who are dreamers.
We cannot let the big man keep us down,
It will only make us push the lid of oppression and ignorance open,
We shall continue until we can see the light
And reap the fountain of faith, glory, hope, unity.
My brethren, I do not ask you to follow me,
I do not ask you to fight for me;
What I do ask of you is to make a small sacrifice,
For every sacrifice is something the oppressed are readily willing to give up.
Even if that sacrifice means standing up tall and straight,
Head held high, defiant but dignified.
That is what I ask.
Do not walk with you head down,
For you are just as beautiful and just as equal
As the man on your right, and the woman on your left.
There is nothing, nor has there ever been anything wrong with you,
There has only been wrong perpetrated against you.
To the young ones,
Comfort your parents,
Tell them all will be alright; tell them that we cannot continue to live as we have.
To get what we want, we have to walk forward.
We must not let things remain as they have for years,
But, we must not allow violence to replace our meaning,
We must not let violence undermine our strengths and intentions.
Violence is not the answer;
pain and suffering are but a virtue of the strong willed.
There are many a great heroes that have suffered, cried, fallen down,
But they sacrificed their joy, their time, their families, even their jobs,
They gave it all up because they had faith that it was worth their pains.
Now don’t tell me, that everyone here does not believe me so.
My own papa, worked his hands to the bone because he wanted something better fro us.
Funny thing about parents,
They think only of their children’s future,
Their sacrifice means more to them than the lil ones can imagine.
To the adults, don’t tell me you do not know that sacrifice as a parent you have made for your children’s future.
Do not think that we will not fight,
Do not thing that we will not win,
For that thinking, though understandable, is a poison.
We must not doubt that our sacrifice is but a squander.
We must not let our sacrifice, and the sacrifice of others be in vain.
We cannot stand on the ashes they have left at our feet
And not feel guilt if we do not honor their sacrifice.
Pain, I have most certainly felt that pain,
And I have sacrificed,
But what I want entails even more sacrifice.
And by God’s all mighty will and love,
I shall sacrifice again and again,
Until the new bondages have been broken.
I will fight with my words; I will fight with my presence,
I will fight, and struggle, and fall with my sacrifices,
But I will rise, and I will see the light of freedom
Amidst the chains of modern oppression.