Monday, August 27, 2012

Speaking Truth to Power

 African-American poet laureate Natasia Threthewy wrote:

Southern HistoryBefore the war, they were happy, he said.quoting our textbook.  (This was senior-yearhistory class.)  The slaves were clothed, fed,
and better off under a master’s care
and better off under a master’s care.I watched the words blur on the page.  No oneraised a hand, disagreed.  Not even me.It was late; we still had Reconstructionto cover before the test, and — luckily –three hours of watching Gone with the Wind.
History, the teacher said, of the old South –a true account of how things were back then.On screen a slave stood big as life: big mouth,bucked eyes, our textbook’s grinning proof — a liemy teacher guarded.  Silent, so did I. 
Reminds me of the quote by pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Silence is a prison ... our voice is the key that sets us free!  Speak up. Speak loud and proud. Speak even if your voice shakes! Speak not just for yourself, but for all who cannot...the casualties of unnecessary loss and separation; the collateral damage, like my daughter...
"....replace the voice that only whispers about your pain and loss with a strong and unwavering one, and be prepared to tell your story with courage and conviction, to add your voice to all the others, never to be silenced again." Pemina Yellow Bird (2000)  

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