Video Courtesy; William J. Clinton Presidential Library
I remember, on that day, watching and listening to every word she spoke as if they were tangible pieces of hope, freedom, and release of burdens I could give to my loved ones of color, my loved ones whose faith system was different than mine (Christian), my loved ones whose heart loved the same as mine, but because they loved a member of the same sex they were shunned, ridiculed, and made to feel less than, dirty, and repulsive. I remember holding her words — words that empowered ME with courage, hope, and a freedom to rise up and say Good Morning to those I love, to those with which I disagree, to those whose journey is different than mine, to those I can help, to those for which I am grateful, to those whose scars feel generations old, to those whose hearts are weary, to those whose hearts are full of hope…
20 January 1993
|A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
Your mouths spilling words
The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
Across the wall of the world,
Each of you a bordered country,
Your armed struggles for profit
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
The River sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
Today, the first and last of every Tree
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
You, who gave me my first name, you
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the Tree planted by the River,
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Lift up your eyes upon
Give birth again
Women, children, men,
Mold it into the shape of your most
Do not be wedded forever
The horizon leans forward,
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day