Sunday, January 15, 2012

We Our Part of Martin Luther King's Dream- A speech given January 14th 2011.

(Context: Sonic Boom Productions Organized a Martin Luther King Jr tribute, Occupy Eugene Fundraiser, a documentary showing and a rave, all in one event. On facebook there was a robust discussion about the legitimacy of the event. Some had argued that the event was a disgrace to Martin Luther King Jr. While others had argued that Martin Luther King was a symbol of peace and love, and peace and love were some of the idealized goal found in rave culture. Meanwhile, I just wanted to do two things: try to speak with the passion and cadence of MLK, and somehow connect all of the diverse elements of the event into a nice little speech. This is what I performed.)

Hello Beautiful people,

So tonight, we have a tribute to Martin Luther King, a Occupy Eugene Fundraiser, A documentary showing, and a rave. All here, all tonight. And the event is called, “We Have A Dream.”

Martin Luther King had a Dream, we all know that. But what I'm here to tell you is we are a part of his dream. Look at the world we live in: top selling hip hop rapper, Eminem is white. While our president, Barack Obama is black. We have integrated so much since the 50's. Just think, when Martin Luther King said he had a dream, black people couldn't even sit in the same part of a restaurant as white people. An African American's couldn't sit at the front of a bus, or even look a white person in the eyes without risk of being hung in his yard. We've came a long way, Since then. Now white people and black people can get married, Latino's and native American's can get married. Yes we've come a long way, indeed.

But we got a long way to go...Look around, there aren't many black faces at this tribute to Martin Luther King. Somewhere in this town, a group of African Americans are probably sitting in a room that probably doesn't have many white faces, and they are probably having their own tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. At the last Eugene city council meeting an african american professor spoke before the council asking to not be profiled, to not be followed home by the police, to not be stereotyped. 

So We got a long way to go, since change comes slow. Martin Luther King had a dream, and we are attempting to fulfill his dream. Have y'all heard of the Poor People's Campaign? In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King and a group of fellow activist, began organizing the poor people's campaign which was designed to address the issues of economic justice and housing for the poor in the united states. So they created a list of demands called the Economic Bill of Rights. Their plan was to get a group of protestors to gather in Washington DC and demand that President Lyndon Johnson and Congress help the poor get jobs, health care, and decent homes. (And when I think about the recent debates over health care and the surge in foreclosed homes, I am reminded that change comes slow.)

Sadly, before this march actually happened, Martin Luther King Jr was tragically assassinated. May he rest in peace and may we have a moment of silence to honor him.

But even though Martin Luther King was assassinated, the people marched on. They camped on the lawn of the national mall. They set up tents and shacks and it was wet and cold, and miserable, yet they occupied for six weeks chanting "I Am Somebody". Yes they occupied Washington D.C. And now we are occupying cities across the united states.

And tonight we are occupying a dance floor. Now some say this rave is a disgrace to Martin Luther King. That he wouldn't condone a rave. And that maybe true, I don't know about that. But I do know, that Martin Luther King was a believer in community. And tonight a community will be born as the people on the dance floor learn to work together.  If this is a movement, we have to be able to move together. As Emma Goldman once said, “If I can't Dance I don't Want to Be A Part of Your Revolution.” Tonight lets share a groove and fill our tank of love so that we may be loving servants to society. For Martin Luther King believed:

"If you want to be important-wonderful. If you want to be recognized-wonderful. If you want to be great-wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.

And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant."

So tonight we dance. Tomorrow we rest. And on Monday. On Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday, we serve. Fore if we want to truly honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, we should partake in the MLK National Day of Service. In this community, every year, we are provided a plethora of opportunities to serve. Go google 'National Day of Service, Eugene Oregon', look in the Eugene Weekly calendar, look at the University of Oregon website. Find an opportunity, and on Monday, Serve.

And beyond that, if we really want to fulfill the dream of Martin Luther King, the dream that we are living, we must serve on more than one day. We must serve everyday. Everyday, we must wake up and ask ourselves, what “Am I doing to make the world a better place?”

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Occupy City Hall-Celebration of Democracy (Morale Speech)

Context: so this was a little speech I wrote on the fly to present before our Occupy Eugene General Assembly in front of the city hall. On this date, we practiced our form of direct democracy and horizontal organization in front of the city hall, and then during the city hall meeting we came in and let our voices be heard on local issues.)

Hello Beautiful People,
Now I know it's cold outside tonight so I thank you.
Your willingness to brave the cold weather is proof that you care
about this world we all share.
Your presence here is proof that you are dedicated
to contributing to the creation of a better society.
When I went to my first General Assembly
and I saw a large group of people practicing
direct democracy and horizontal organization,
I knew this was a movement I would be proud to be a part of.
Because at our purest moments
we are a group of people
who work more for each other than for ourselves.
In an age, when most people can't afford health care,
in which many of the people who can afford health care,
spend hundreds of dollars a month on health care that doesn't cover
the ordinary normal situations in which most people see a doctor;
we seek to offer free medical services.
In an age, of rising tuition and unmanageable student debt,
we seek to offer an occupation education
Where you can get a GSD, a get shit done, degree from the school of hard knocks.
In an age, where neighbors are strangers, we offer free food and free friendship.
In an age of the Patriot Act and the NDAA, we celebrate free speech.
So I say, lets celebrate democracy, lets celebrate dissent,
lets celebrate the power of the majority
listening to the wisdom of the minority
Lets celebrate working together!
We can call it a declaration of interdependence.
And even if you disagree
with everything I just said.
I still thank you for being here
to participate in this process we call history...

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