Words to Cherish from Martin Luther King
By words we are led to action,
be they slogans, hype, or hallelujahs
we are led forward or led astray.
Let us heed the words of Martin Luther King,
for our destiny is tied to the justice
he sought for all people of our nation.
Hear his words:
…in the process of gaining our rightful place
we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds…
Listen Palestine. Listen Israel.
Listen Iraq. Listen Afghanistan.
Listen my America.
We must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.
He invites us to “soul force”
to planting seeds of peace, calls to those
who he calls “veterans of creative suffering:
continue working with the faith that
unearned suffering is redemptive.”
And still he has his dream:
“that one day this nation will rise up
and live out the true meaning of its creed:
we hold these truths to be self evident:
that all men are created equal…”
the street sweeper equal to the supervisor,
the store clerk equal to the attorney
the sailor equal to the senator,
the house-maid equal to the educator––
each with a part to play,
some with more power for evil or good,
some with less power, less scope, less pay––
but each with a purpose leading the way.
He dreams of “a nation where one day
people will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.”
Come, let us dream the dream with him,
standing together on the solid rock of brotherhood.
Come, let us live the hope with him
that “out of mountains of despair we might carve a stone of hope.”
We need to carve out injustice in all its forms:
social injustice with welfare for the rich, the endowed
but not for the working poor,
religious injustice: only if you believe exactly as I do,
are you an eligible citizen
my creed the chosen creed,
injustice within the law that rewards wealth,
injustice in education––not equal for all children.
“Let freedom ring,” he says, “speed up that day
when all God’s children––black men and white men,
Jews and Gentiles, protestants and Catholics––
will be able to sing in the words of the old negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!”
Our forefathers, with their words,
in writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
sought to preserve our hard-won freedom.
They gave us the blueprint.
Let us build together, repair and expand our home, our America,
mindful this day of Martin Luther King,
mindful of the power of words.
by Allegra Jostad Silberstein
(presented 1-17-2011 at the 17th Annual City of Davis
Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration)