Monday, May 26, 2008

We Speak Your Names

Excerpt: We Speak Your Names*
By Pearl Cleage
From Oprah Winfrey's Legends Weekend

Because we are free women,
born of free women,
who are born of free women,
back as far as time begins,
we celebrate your freedom.
Because we are wise women,
born of wise women,
who are born of wise women,we celebrate your wisdom.

Because we are strong women,
born of strong women,
who are born of strong women,
we celebrate your strength.

Because we are magical women,
born of magical women,
who are born of magical women,
we celebrate your magic.

My sisters, we are gathered here to speak your names.
We are here because we are your daughters as surely as if you had conceived us, nurtured us, carried us in your wombs, and then sent us out into the world to make our mark and see what we see, and be what we be, but better, truer, deeper
because of the shining example of your own incandescent lives.

We are here to speak your names because we have enough sense to know that we did not spring full blown from the forehead of Zeus, or arrive on the scene like Topsy, our sister once removed, who somehow just growed.
We know that we are walking in footprints made deep by the confident strides
of women who parted the air before them like the forces of nature that you are.

We are here to speak your names because you taught us that the search is always for
the truth and that when people show us who they are, we should believe them.

We are here because you taught us that sisterspeak can continue to be our native
tongue, no matter how many languages we learn as we move about as citizens of the world and of the ever-evolving universe.

We are here to speak your names because of the way you made for us. Because of the prayers you prayed for us.
We are the ones you conjured up, hoping we would have strength enough, and discipline enough, and talent enough, and nerve enough to step into the light when it turned in our direction, and just smile awhile.

We are the ones you hoped would make you proud because all of our hard work makes all of yours part of something better, truer,deeper.
Something that lights the way ahead like a lamp unto our feet, as steady as the unforgettable beat of our collective heart.

We speak your names.
We speak your names.

You couldnot have been in each of our little black girl bedrooms watching us hold that make pretend microphone as we lip synched your latest hit when dinner was ready downstairs.
Or curled up under the covers with your new book when we had math homework to do.
Or prayed for your safety when our parents told us you were somewhere fighting for our freedom, and it was dangerous work.
It is always dangerous work, but the trade off is unacceptable.
From you we leanred that freedom is non-negotiable.

You could not have known that your collective example of the limitless possibilities that were open to us is what allowed us to look our mothers in the eye and say:
Mama, I wanna be a singer
Mama, I want to be an actress
Mama, I want to be a dancer, or a sculptor, or a lawyer, or a leader or a world-changing force for good, loose in the world whirling.

And even when she rolled her eyes and shook her head and pronouced us more our father's child that we had ever been hers,
She knew you had planted those ideas in our heads and she thanked your foliating us so that we could be a part of something better, truer, deeper

We speak your names
We speak your names...

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Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]