I love the Matrix, part one that is, and while parts two and three didn’t quite measure up there are still some great moments in them. One scene that I love is Morpheus’ speech to Zion in the second movie. I always thought that speech could be used in today’s world for so many things and with race relations still playing such a prominent role in America today, especially between blacks and whites I thought how could that speech be altered to describe the African American experience today. I think I reimagined it pretty well.
Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 400 years we have endured slavery, racism and the denial of basic human rights. I remember that our names and heritage were ripped from us. I remember that our men were beaten our woman were raped and our children were taken from us and sold as property. I remember when we were finally freed from the bonds of slavery we were still denied education and the right to vote. I remember how we were held down by Jim Crow and terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan. I remember that even after a man of color rose to serve as our President, a man of extraordinary strength and intelligence, there are still those that look to demean our character, to challenge our intelligence, to hold us down. To if given the opportunity destroy us. But what I remember most is that after almost 400 years … We are still here! Creating breath taking masterpieces and inspiring others in literature, art and music. Producing life saving breakthroughs in science and medicine. Achieving great things each and every day and with each step we take forward we leave an indelible fingerprint on the very fabric of a country that once tore itself to pieces in a Civil War because half of it believed as it was said at the time that: the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.
Yes I remember that through it all we are still here and we are not only surviving we are thriving. Yet despite our accomplishments our journey is far from complete and as I said we have a difficult time ahead of us. For each of our achievements only produce fear among those among us who still preach hate, who look to divide, those who do not believe in the brotherhood of all but rather hold onto the old ways of subjugation and bondage.
So today let us send a message to those who still cling to the past, those who still preach hatred, those who still wish to divide this great nation not on the content of our character but on the the color of our skin. Today let us shake this country, let us tremble these amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties from sea to shining sea. Today let us make them remember, this is America where we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and all women regardless of color are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.
WE ARE STILL HERE.