Friday, March 27, 2009

We Shall Overcome- The Fight Ain't Over Friends

....We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

Struggling myself don't mean a whole lot, I've come to realize
That teaching others to stand and fight is the only way my struggle survives

We who believe in freedom cannot rest
We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes

- from "Ella's Song" by Sweet Honey And The Rock

I was taking Benjamin, my six year-old, and Seth, my one year-old, swimming this morning when "We Shall Overcome" floated through the speakers of my mini-van, courtesy of the CD "Peter, Paul, and Mommy, Too." I hesitated for a moment, fully expecting Benjamin to voice his blatant opposition to this rather slow-moving melody, favoring "The Fox Went Out On A Chilly Night" or "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly," instead. But then I heard it- my son's small yet powerful voice- singing that incredible chorus, to his little brother, as if the words were merely the breaths he was taking that moment. And the chills spread from my spine, down my arms, and into my soul, as Ben then pronounced that "Martin Luther King was good for our planet, Mommy, because he made things good for white people and black people. And now white people and black people can be together." And I wanted to shout to the universe that this little boy, who makes me crazy nearly every second of everyday, gets it- and I'm so proud to know that he has garnered this amazing reality of "rightness" from the world we have built for him, in this house, within these walls.

But outside these stones which make-up the home we reside in, the fight is not over, and the battle not won, until all people on this planet have the civil rights that belong to them, based on the fact that they are human beings, not on their orientation or what the Constitution says or what our "fore-fathers" intended when they designed it. We cannot rest until we don't have to justify the laws of our land, to our children- the laws which restrict gay and lesbian human beings from the civil right of betrothing themselves to another human being whom they love- the laws which will reek of shame to the future generations who will wonder how we, as a civilized Nation, could have condoned such injustices, as we did to people of color many decades ago. And every time this question hits the ballot boxes, we must march ourselves, along with our children, to the polling place, where WE CAN overcome, and show young people that THEY CAN overcome, by turning their backs on the hatred, which is still a part of our current generation, and making their voices heard.

And let the history books, which attempt to "teach" our children what was important in our Nation's past, laud people like Harvey Milk, as a soldier of human rights, along with heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

A future of justice and peace relies on the truths we speak and the actions we take, in the presence of the young people we bring forth into this world.

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