A victory won and not yet won

A Victory Won and Not Yet Won
a poem by Joel Howard; in honor of MLK day

Hebrews 2 speaks of the devil
Inspiring fear of death in us
To keep us as slaves

Today I cried
Reading Martin Luther King Jr's 
Quotes as I stood 
With a group of 8th graders

I thought of Sophia and I
As answers to MLK's prayer
That black boys and girls

Would join hands with 
white boys and girls - 
It was his goal, his dream

I listened to his 
"The Other America"
speech given in 1967

At Stanford University
He talked of
lingering racism,

whose ultimate logic
Is genocide. He cited
6 million Jews' death
as Hitler's example..

When students
talked about me in
8th grade class today

I explained to them
That "I'm a listener
And seek to understand."

I asked them if they agreed
that "the lack of listening
Is a root to many 

of our problems?"
We discussed and 
They agreed..

May we slow down
this January 21st
On MLK day

And celebrate what
victories his fight
As well as those
not yet won

May I listen
before shouting a conclusion
May I love
to avoid bearing hate's load
May I believe
and opt not to interpret others' silence
May I stay still
rather than go with the popular side
May I sit with discomfort
and honor Christ
May I sit with discomfort
And remember the past

How our Statue of Liberty 
reads, "America is the
home of exiles"

May I welcome the outcast and 
Chose a moment of silence
to curb my anger and rage; 
Question my conclusions,
Check my biases
Seek to understand
Rather than to be known 
To be second
Rather than to be first

May I celebrate equality
and fight for equality
In my big moments
And in my small ones
In public and in private

And may our Lord
Deliver us from bondage
and slavery in each
And every area of life
As a country, as churches
As families, as couples
And as people

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