August 28, 1963

I am there. Standing on my own two tired feet.
I am there listening to this man with a smile full of cheeks
And eyes full of crow’s feet,
His wrists once bound by the manacles of steel in a Birmingham jail
That may as well have been slave shackles tied to a ship rail.
Now, they’re replaced by cuffs of white adorned with links of gold
And an outstretched hand where hope and peace take hold.
He stands in the shadow of a giant to finish what he started
This noble orator to deliver a proclamation to us
Which resonates through time on the field of justice like a battle drum.
I am there.

I am there because I am the black man standing in back.
I am the white cop, and the child holding his dad’s hand.
I am the lady dressed in her Sunday best
And I am the baby sleeping on her mother’s chest.
And I am every man, woman and child with straight, curly or kinky hair
I am there because you are there.

But it took us some time to get there
Hundreds of years of hopeless despair
Because darkness dominated the sense of discern
And limited our visibility to see the path concerned.
The path to freedom that darkness consumed
Where slavery, racism and segregation loomed.
But the sun begins to rise anew and shed its truth
Over this path.

Now, in this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union
The memory of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and every Human being
Who ever fought the flames of withering injustice is enshrined forever.
We are all there.
We are there to collect what’s owed to us as heirs
We are there because there were some who dared
To plan and scheme to rob us of our dignity.
We are there to collect on this dream.
And we are not interested in picking up the crumbs of compassion
Thrown from the table of one who calls himself our master.
‘Cause our freedom is inextricably bound
And our humanity found in each other.
And if you’re neutral then you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
No we cannot walk this path alone, we must walk it together.
As we walk, we must make the pledge
That we shall always march ahead
Because I could not be here if you weren’t there.

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