A reminder

From time to time there are certain words, sounds, ideas that electrify me. My upper arms go numb, and the sensation spreads down my back and collects in my spine. It is a wonderful paralysis for that instant, replaced with a powerful drive- energy I cannot summon in ordinary circumstances.

This strange feeling is a reminder.

It is a reminder that there exist reasonable alternatives.

It is a reminder that normal people can rise above fear and indifference.

It is a reminder that all big movements started small.

It is a reminder that great men and women spent a lot of time in jail.

It is a reminder that being right is not enough.

It is a reminder that rights did not always exist, but were built through conviction and struggle.

It is a reminder to not take a narrow view of the past.
It is a reminder that Martin Luther King Jr. stood for far more than just racial justice.
It is a reminder that he opposed the war in Vietnam.
It is a reminder that he stood against the exploitation of capitalism.
It is a reminder that he advocated for class solidarity as well as racial solidarity.

It is a reminder that billions of people are afforded no rights.

It is a reminder that in the United States we still murder our own citizens and watch them die in agony.

It is a reminder that a vast swath of people in my country fear the police that are supposed to protect and serve them.

It is a reminder that food, shelter, and medical care are not guaranteed in many countries, including the wealthiest on Earth.
It is a reminder that thousands of children are homeless and sleep on the street.
It is a reminder that in another society or another time my mental illness would have condemned me to a life of isolation and abuse.

It is a reminder that whole peoples like the Rohingya from Burma have no safe place to live.

It is a reminder that some things are worth dying for.

It is a reminder that the action of evil and the inaction of good are one and the same.

It is a reminder.

Written for the “I Have a Dream” prompt on We Drink Because We’re Poets.

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