There are two monologues that give me goosebumps. Every time. One is a speech: Dr. King's I Have a Dream; an oration that has rightfully achieved a place in history for both delivery and content. The other is a song. Saul Williams' Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare); a work of poetry and mishmash of stripped-down hip hop and dense, swaggering punk against the historical backdrop of the Bard's Brutus & company. Where MLK's Dream was a resolute call to action with all the power of fiery Moses prevailing upon the world to hold hands in solidarity against tyranny, Act III is a resolute call to action with the finger-pointing, fist-raising righteous fury of those who see a dream beyond world-veneering hypocrisy and apathy. It is a shout-out.

I am 36 years old and I still get goosebumps about a lot of things (to start: Amelie, Arcade Fire's Funeral, breakdancing in general, Barry Sanders highlight clips). My eyes are open, my intellect is busy, my experiences are many, but I still have the innocent enthusiasm and curiosity of childhood. Innocence in the sense that I don't need to know all the answers, but I need to know and believe better things are possible. Sometimes I may inspire, sometimes I still need to be inspired.

Today, we had a number of recurring conversations about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, race, and justice as we watched archival speeches on YouTube, including his 17-minute Dream classic. Magdelana had a number of insightful questions and commentary. Johannes's questions were of the following variety:

Was Martin Luther King not very nice?

- He was nice…

Oh. Darth Vader is not very nice. Sometimes he was nice, sometimes he was not nice.

- I suppose that is correct.

Did Martin Luther King fight?

- Yes, he did fight, but he -

Johannes interrupts.

Did he fight with a sword?

- Umm, no.

Did he fight with a spear?

- Uhh, no. He did not fight with a sword, or a spear. And to preempt your next question, no, he also did not fight with a gun.

Did he fight with a gun?

- No.

Magdelana lifts her head up from drawing:

Johannes, he fought with LOVE.

Yeah, I guess that's what I want our kids to go out into the world with. Love. Enthusiasm. A cynicism-battling naiveté about the world and its worst, coupled with an energetic desire to highlight what is good and to make it better. To get rid of the bad stuff by first focusing on what is good, then on what needs to change. A willingness to become producers and changers, not just consumers and accepters.

So thanks, Dr. King and Saul Williams, for being agitators. Agitators and inspirers. Our dreams will become more than a fable.

excerpt from Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)

Your freedom ain't so free, it's just loose
But the power of your voice could redirect any truth
Shift and shape the world you want
And keep your fears in a noose
Let them dangle from a banner star spangled
I'm willing and able
To lift my dreams up out of their cradle
Nurse and nurture my ideals
'Til they're much more than a fable
I can be all I can be and do much more than I'm paid to
And I won't be a slave toWhat authorities say do
My desire to live within a nation on fire
Where creative passions burn and raise the stakes ever higher

2013.01.21 / Johannes "Martin Luther King" 

2013.01.21 / Magdelana "Martin Luther King" - she was particularly intrigued by the references to mountains in his speech

Saul Williams
Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)
Saul Williams

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