“Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Freedom”

Unfinished Work

Yes, I hear everyone that cries we have much to do…the work is unfinished…I agree. Yesterday, watching the observation of the 1963 March on Washington, I was heartened to hear so many younger voices alongside those of elders such as: Ambassador Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sister, Christine King Farris. It warmed my heart to see Caroline Kennedy and Lynda Johnson Robb share the stage; the other day I did a posting for President LBJ’s birthday and though I was one of the marchers chanting, “Hey, Hey, LBJ…,” I also realize the many great things accomplished during his administration. Some of the younger or slightly younger and/or new voices who impressed me were: Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLISEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network); Mee Moua, an Hmong woman born in Vietnam and President of Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Senator Angus King, an Independent from Maine; a Seventh Day Adventist pastor, can’t remember full name, but last name was Whitney….well….he sang “I Believe” and had a smooth voice reminiscent of the late Johnny Hartman, beautiful!; Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas; Governor O’Malley from Maryland (He was great!); Laura Seydel of Captain Planet who focused on environmental justice; Fred Maahs, Chair of AAPD (American Association of People with Disabilities); Alan Van Capelle, CEO of Bend the Arc, a Jewish Civil Rights group and too many more for me to list.

I knew when Ambassador Andrew Young came out at the beginning, that the program was getting off on the right foot; Young spontaneously burst into “Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Freedom,” a famous Civil Rights song and encouraged the participants before him to join in. He’s from the generation that recognizes the power of song to unite. Thank you Andrew Young! How wonderful to see Dolores Huerta, still strong and purposeful!!! LeANN Rimes gave a lovely rendition of Amazing Grace.Actor, Jamie Foxx urged, “Everybody my age, it’s time to stand up and renew the dream…time for us to pick up…”

There were many highlights at yesterday’s observation, but what most touched me was at the beginning of the program when I saw Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey come out with their acoustic guitars with Mark Barden whose son was killed in the Newtown Massacre; Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin whose son, Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida by a name I really do not want to give more publicity to. All four sang Bob Dylan’s, “Blowin’ In the Wind,” which Peter and Paul along with dearly departed Mary Travers sang 50 years ago at the 1963 March on Washington! Tears welled in my eyes. The lyrics are still devastatingly relevant:

“Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows

That too many people have died ?

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

Yes, we’ve many miles to go before any of us sleep (Thank you Robert Frost)…the work continues…and we each have our role. What is your role? What is my role? Ah…that is the question! I know that I “Woke Up This Morning with MY Mind Stayed on Freedom…” and how I choose to spread that word is for me to decide and put into action. I’m a teacher after all, I teach.















4 thoughts on ““Woke Up This Morning With My Mind On Freedom”

  1. ilene,you have become my hero,you make me remember how many rallies i attended,how many streetcorners I stood on with “ban the bomb” petitions. it’s a good feeling knowing you have tried to change things,even in a small way

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