TRANSCRIPT: Bernice King's Speech at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
8/28/2013, 4 p.m.
Fifty years later, we come once again to this special landing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to reflect, to renew, and to rejuvenate for the continued struggle of freedom and justice. For today, 50 years later, my friends, we are still crippled by practices and policies steeped in racial pride, hatred and hostility. Some of which have us standing our ground rather than finding common ground. We are still chained by economic disparities, income and class inequalities and conditions of poverty for many of God's children around this nation and the world.
We'll still bound by a cycle of civil unrest and inherent social biases in our nation and world that oftentimes degenerates into violence and destruction especially against women and children. We're at this landing and now we must break the cycle. The Prophet King spoke the vision. He made it plain and we must run with it in this generation, his prophetic vision and magnificent dream described the yearning of people all over the world to have the freedom to prosper in life.
Which is the right to pursue one's aspirations, purpose, dreams, well- being, without oppressive, depressive, repressive practices, behaviors, laws and conditions that diminish one's dignity and that denies one life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The freedom to participate in government, which is the right to have a voice and a say in how you are represented, regulated, and governed without threats of tyranny, disenfranchisement, exclusionary tactics and behaviors.
And to have freedom to peacefully co-exist, which is the right to be respected in one's selfhood, individuality, and uniqueness without fear of attack, assault or abuse. In 1967 my father asked a poignant and critical question. Where do we go from here, chaos or community? And we say with a resounding voice no to chaos and yes to community. If we're going to rid ourselves of the chaos, then we must make a necessary shift. Nothing is more tragic than for us to fail to achieve new attitudes and new mental outlooks.
We have a tremendous and unprecedented opportunity to reset the very means by which we live, work and enjoy our lives. If we're going to continue the struggle of freedom and create true community, then we will have to be relentless in exposing, confronting and ridding ourselves of the mindset of pride and greed and selfishness and hate and lust and fear and idleness and lack of purpose and lack of love as my brother said, for our neighbor.
We must seize this moment, the dawning of a new day, the emergence of a new generation. Who is postured to change the world through collaborative power, facilitate it by unconditional love and, as I close, I call upon my brother by the name of Neamaya who was in the midst of rebuilding a community, in the midst of rebuilding a community he brought the leaders and the rulers and the rest of the people together. And he told them that the work is great and large, and we are widely separated one from another on the wall.
But when you hear the sound of the trumpet, and might I say when you hear the sound of the bell today, come to that spot, and our God will fight with us. And so today, we're going to let freedom ring all across this nation. We're going to let freedom ring everywhere we go. If freedom is going to ring in Libya, in Syria, in Egypt, in Florida, then we must reach across the table, feed each other and let freedom ring.