Let's reflect as we move forward

Let's reflect as we move forward

By Malachi D Smith

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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January 20, 2021 was a good day. It was a great day. It was a wonderful day. It was a beautiful day. After the ugly days of the past four years, it was a refreshing day.

It was a clean day, where the spirit and sensibilities of a world, and in particular of a country, got the opportunity to wash, rinse, and dry itself of its ugly and downright disgraceful recent past. The swearing in of the 46th President of the United States Joseph Robinette Biden Jr and the US's 49th vice-president Kamala Devi Harris did all of that and so much more.

To celebrate the occasion, attorney-at-law Dahlia Walker-Huntington hosted an online reception. Much bigger than being an elegant and beautiful affair, it brought together the peoples of the Caribbean, here in the US. The toasts were proud and joyful for the flowering of our African- , Asian- , Caribbean-American roots. As the celebrations went on, Commissioner Winston Barnes raised a toast. Before he did, he recited James Weldon Johnson's (1871–1938) magnificent poem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, which has been put to music by his brother, J Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954), for the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday in 1905. How appropriate.

This great literary work is truly a map of from whence we came, where we are, and how we should get to where we should be heading. I urge everyone reading this to stop, find time; yes, you need time, to read and digest the offerings of this poem. Let it sink into your cognitive vortexes. Walk in the poem. Walk with the poem. Touch the places it has been. Touch, feel, hear, and acquaint yourselves with your ancestral root(s). You should start loving yourselves more after. You should start respecting yourselves more after. We should start loving each other more after. We should start respecting each other more after. We should start holding each other's hands and lifting each other up after.

Let this victory, this small, this mighty token be a reminder and a bugle call for us to rise, shake off our inglorious past, and become inspirational stars.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

By James Weldon Johnson

Lift every voice and sing

Till earth and heaven ring

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise,

High as the list'ning skies, let it resound loud as the rolling sea

Sing a song full of faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chast'ning rod,

Felt in the day that hope unborn had died;

Yet with a steady beat,

Have not our weary feet,

Come to the place on which our fathers sighed?

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our star is cast.

God of our weary years,

God of our silent tears,

Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;

Thou who has by thy might,

Led us into the light,

Keep us forever in the path, we pray

Least our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee,

Least our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee,

Shadowed beneath the hand,

May we forever stand,

True to our God,

True to our native land.


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