Rise And Rise Again Till Lambs Becomes Lions

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest movement for freedom in the history of our South Asian culture.

Today, as a great South Asian, we declare to get our women to be self-sufficient. This momentous decree comes as a great beacon light of hope to millions of South Asian women who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It comes as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

Majority of South Asian women still are not free. The life of the South Asian woman is sadly crippled by the manacles of patriarchy and the chains of discrimination. The South Asian woman lives on a lonely island of silence in the midst of a vast ocean of opportunity. The South Asian woman is still languishing in the corners of South Asian society and finds herself an exile in her own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to South Asian Women Network TV (sawntv.com) to cash a check. When the architects of the human rights of women wrote the magnificent words, they were signing a promissory note to which every human being was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all women, yes, South Asian women as well as other women, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that human beings have defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of women are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, human beings have given the South Asian women a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind human beings of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of independence. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of oppression to the sunlit path of gender justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of gender injustice to the solid rock of sisterhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the South Asian women’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Two thousand and twelve is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the South Asian women needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in the world until the South Asian woman is granted her human rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the South Asian community must not lead us to a distrust of all men, for many of our men, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of women rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the women is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of violence. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of maltreatment, cannot gain access to support and resources. We cannot be satisfied as long as the woman’s basic mobility is in home. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “Not for you”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a woman cannot drive, work and a woman believes he has nothing for which to live for. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to your life, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the human dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the all levels women and men will be able to sit down together at the table of equality.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my mother died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if South Asia is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of Kashmir. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of K2. Let freedom ring from the heightening Afghanistan!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of !

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of !

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of !

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of !

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, women and men, Hindus and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

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