We Are the Dream
The freedom to express minority viewpoints without fear of retribution would be considered a dream by our ancestors. — both black and white -the
people others call slaves—are our country’s founding fathers.
They built this land, toiled our crops, fought our wars and died for our causes. Our American
Dream was built on their backs and became their most lucid nightmare. Financial nest eggs
flourished through the sale of plantation crops. Slave labor
funded some of the most lucrative financial institutions
throughout America. Wall Street, Leherman
Brothers and Goldman Sachs (just to name a few) were
purchased from slave’s blood, sweat and tears. Slave dreams
were sacrificed and overridden to promote slave owner dreams.
Yet today, we are fulfilling part of the slave’s dream. The dream is that
one of his or her ancestors would gain the right, ability,
and respect necessary to candidly express ideas and thoughts
on paper that can be freely read and digested. My enslaved forefathers
were wrongly called slaves. It doesn’t seem right to indelibly
etch this inferior title upon them. Even in death, these beloved
could not have what they sought so dearly in life, a name.
We fulfill our ancestor’s dream that one day their children
would be set free. We are the dream that one day someone
would speak out for those whose voices were silenced.
Reminiscing on a day in the life of a slave began one Sunday morning.
Master allowed us to go to church. He wore his Sunday
best and I wore the tattered clothing that he once owned.
I listened from the back house as the minister preached
about the love of God and our fellow man.
I almost cried … I felt almost an inkling of hope
when I heard the choirs sing my favorite hymn, “Amazing
Grace.” “How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”
Afterwards, my master and his family went back home
for Sunday dinner and fed me with the scraps from the table.
The next day master rose early and came out to the place
where I stayed and master beat me. Master beat me hard.
While weathering the stinging pain from his whipping, I
tried to fathom why he was whipping me? What had I done wrong to deserve such a fate?
was done, I felt so numb. My mind wandered past the
pain of my mortal wounds he inflicted. I wondered how one
man could treat another man so inhumanely? How could he
walk proudly in the Lord's house just one day earlier and then
wake up the next morning and beat me damn nearly to death?
We Are the Dream
I still worked hard that day. The burning sun roasted my
wounds to scabs, while the sting of the sweat dripping into
my flesh reminded me
not to forget the
whipping I got that
morning. I was so tired
that night as I
collapsed on the dirt
floor. I dreamed a
dream that night, an impossible
dream of freedom. I dared not imagine
that one day I might be
free, for that dream
had been long ago been beaten out of
me. Yet, I dared to
dream someday my children would be
free to tell my story. My capable children would learn to read
and write to tell the next generation. My children’s
freedom was my dream. I wanted my children to remember that
my dreams for them and their unlimited possibilities fueled my
existence. Let my children tell humanity the truth. The same God
revered Sunday in church was the same
God who created us both. Tell the world the tint of my skin was
simply one shade of skin in a spectacular spectrum of colors.
I begged you to tell them I was a man, just like them.
The reason I looked different was because God wanted
it that way. Finally, I wanted to tell my children that if
those in power continue to mistreat you or any other man after I have
fallen asleep in death, please promise me to do everything in your power
to right the wrongs and potentate and pass along my dream to your children.
The Web of Violence the Spider Has Woven
How did we succumb from a web of mutual collaboration to a web of uncooperative violence? On Nov 21, 1621 the first settlers from Europe reached the new world and were called Pilgrims. They came here to escape religious persecution and to enjoy a better life. Their biggest concern upon arrival was fending off attack by Native American Indians. But to the Europeans surprise, North America’s original tenants, the Pawtuxet Indians, were a peaceful group. So, the Pilgrims were frightened until the Indians smiled and called out "Welcome." Why did they welcome these strangers from another world? It was fundamental to their beliefs in the oneness of spirit between all members of the human family.
The same peacefulness was found in Africa. This explains why the African villagers did not wage wars against the European slave traders who came to sell them into servitude; such was not their way of life.
The West African Mandingo tribe lived by a sacred creed
and reigning ancient proverb, “We are you and you are us.” Oneness is a universal law of all
indigenous cultures ranging from the Mandingo to the Kogi (one of the oldest
indigenous tribes in Northern Columbia). And a sacred teaching which mirrored the very essence of their existence was that the human family was one unbroken stream of consciousness. We are all connected as a single divine entity and expression of the Great Spirit. Indigenous tribes throughout the world confirm this experience through celestial dance, folk law and daily life. Like the whirling dance of the planets and galaxies, the ancient civilizations saw themselves as part of a whole universe. Somehow the indigenous culture knew well before modern science knew, about the interrelated structure of reality called the great web of life.