We Are the DreamThe freedom to express minority viewpoints without fear of retribution would be considered a dream by our ancestors. — both black and white -thepeople 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 AmericanDream was built on their backs and became their most lucid nightmare. Financial nest eggsflourished through the sale of plantation crops. Slave laborfunded some of the most lucrative financial institutionsthroughout America. Wall Street, LehermanBrothers and Goldman Sachs (just to name a few) werepurchased from slave’s blood, sweat and tears. Slave dreamswere sacrificed and overridden to promote slave owner dreams.Yet today, we are fulfilling part of the slave’s dream. The dream is thatone of his or her ancestors would gain the right, ability,and respect necessary to candidly express ideas and thoughtson paper that can be freely read and digested. My enslaved forefatherswere wrongly called slaves. It doesn’t seem right to indeliblyetch this inferior title upon them. Even in death, these belovedcould not have what they sought so dearly in life, a name.We fulfill our ancestor’s dream that one day their childrenwould be set free. We are the dream that one day someonewould 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 Sundaybest and I wore the tattered clothing that he once owned.I listened from the back house as the minister preachedabout the love of God and our fellow man.I almost cried … I felt almost an inkling of hopewhen I heard the choirs sing my favorite hymn, “AmazingGrace.” “How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”Afterwards, my master and his family went back homefor Sunday dinner and fed me with the scraps from the table.The next day master rose early and came out to the placewhere I stayed and master beat me. Master beat me hard.While weathering the stinging pain from his whipping, Itried to fathom why he was whipping me? What had I done wrong to deserve such a fate?After hewas done, I felt so numb. My mind wandered past thepain of my mortal wounds he inflicted. I wondered how oneman could treat another man so inhumanely? How could hewalk proudly in the Lord's house just one day earlier and thenwake up the next morning and beat me damn nearly to death?We Are the Dream7I still worked hard that day. The burning sun roasted mywounds to scabs, while the sting of the sweat dripping intomy flesh reminded menot to forget thewhipping I got thatmorning. I was so tiredthat night as Icollapsed on the dirtfloor. I dreamed adream that night, an impossibledream of freedom. I dared not imaginethat one day I might befree, for that dreamhad been long ago been beaten out ofme. Yet, I dared todream someday my children would befree to tell my story. My capable children would learn to readand write to tell the next generation. My children’sfreedom was my dream. I wanted my children to remember thatmy dreams for them and their unlimited possibilities fueled myexistence. Let my children tell humanity the truth. The same Godrevered Sunday in church was the sameGod who created us both. Tell the world the tint of my skin wassimply 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 wantedit that way. Finally, I wanted to tell my children that ifthose in power continue to mistreat you or any other man after I havefallen asleep in death, please promise me to do everything in your powerto right the wrongs and potentate and pass along my dream to your children.The Web of Violence the Spider Has WovenHow 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 creedand reigning ancient proverb, “We are you and you are us.” Oneness is a universal law of allindigenous cultures ranging from the Mandingo to the Kogi (one of the oldestindigenous 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.