Maybe our republic is finished. But America also produced Aretha Franklin.
Aretha Franklin can’t be erased from the story of America.
Neither can Gwendolyn Brooks.
James Baldwin, John Lewis, and Harvey Milk can’t be retracted from America’s story.
Neither can Betty Friedan, Bella Abzug, and Emma Lazarus.
Cesar Chavez cannot be removed. Neither can Jackie Robinson.
Bob Dylan, Rosa Parks, and Eleanor Roosevelt can’t be excised from the American story.
Lincoln, FDR, and Obama are part of the permanent furniture.
Dr. King is America, and so is Bayard Rustin.
Same goes for Mark Twain.
The Abolitionists can’t be expunged from the historical record.
Harriet Tubman can’t be either.
Jane Addams and Eugene Debs, Margaret Sanger and Saul Alinsky: American to the core.
A. Philip Randolph and Rachel Carson, Thurgood Marshall and Ella Baker,
Dolores Huerta and Abraham Joshua Heschel: red, white and blue forever.
Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, R.E.M., and Bruce Springsteen are part of this nation.
Harper Lee and Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Warren and Sister Helen Prejean, Sojourner Truth and Freddy Mercury, Paul Robeson and Alice Paul – from sea to shining sea.
I just gotta remember this in these frightening days … help me, Higher Power, help me to remember this.