Black Renter Thurmeka Muller Upset Over Racial Slur on Apartment’s Facebook Page

Black Tenant Thurmeka Muller Upset Over Racial Slur on Apartment Complex Facebook Page

Black Tenant Thurmeka Muller Upset Over Racial Slur on Apartment Complex Facebook Page (Photo Credit: WFAA Video Screengrab)

A Dallas apartment apologized to resident Thurmeka Muller who was called “n*gger” by an employee after posting a maintenance complaint on the company’s Facebook page.

Muller, an Iraq War veteran, was upset over the filthy condition of her bathtub when she moved into the Timberlodge Apartments. She said the building’s managers had assured her that the issue would be fixed before she moved in. She said several repairs were needed in addition to the uncleanliness of the bathtub, which she claimed had not been cleaned in “years and years.”

Thurmeka Muller posted her dissatisfaction on the apartment complex’ Facebook page, and found herself in a war of words with a Timberlodge employee, who wrote “N*GGER” in all-caps.

Once Muller’s story went public, the comments left on the apartment complex’s page were negative, prompting the community manager, Franchesca Harris to post an apology to her. Harris wrote:  “We would like to apologize for you having to be a witness for our Facebook account being hacked and one of our employees saying the N-word. Please reconsider rating us a higher star!”

The employee was suspended for three days.

Watch the full report below, courtesy of WFAA-TV:

Starbucks Nixes Handwritten “Race Together” Notes on Cups

Starbucks Nixes Handwritten "Race Together" Notes on Cups

Starbucks Nixes Handwritten “Race Together” Notes on Cups (Photo Credit: Starbucks)

Starbucks Race Together

RETREAT? Starbucks has nixed writing “Race Together” on cups, saying that was only meant for  a week. The “Race Together” campaign has been maligned on social media.

The handwritten notes were part of Starbucks’ initiative for employees and customers to start a conversation about race in America.

Starbucks chairman Jim Olson said phasing out the handwritten notes was part of the plan from the start. He said the changes were not in response to public mockery of the concept.

“Runnin N*gger” Targets Sold at South Dakota Gun Show

runnin n*gger "Runnin N*gger" Targets Sold at South Dakota Gun Show

“Runnin N*gger” Targets Sold at South Dakota Gun Show (Photo Credit: KSFY Video Screengrab)

runnin n*gger

A South Dakota vendor was banned from a South Dakota gun show after selling racist “runnin n*gger” targets.

The targets, which was being sold for 10 cents each, featured a caricature of a black man with the caption, “Official RUNNIN NIGGER Target” across the top.

KSFY reports Bob Campbell, the gun show’s manager said he was “disgusted” by the flyers and assured reporters that they were snuck into the event without their knowledge. He said organizers examine all merchandise before they are allowed to be sold at the gun show.

The vendor was asked by a reporter from KSFY why he decided to use those targets. He said, “Why aren’t they there?” “You know, there are some black people, and then there are some Negroes.”

Starbucks Launches “Race Together” Initiative to get Customers, Employee Talking

Starbucks Race Together Iniative Press Photos Are 100 Percent White

Starbucks Race Together Iniative Press Photos Are 100 Percent White

Starbucks has launched a new initiative, Race Together, to get customers and employees to talk about race. This initiative was launched as a result of rising racial tensions following the deaths of unarmed black males by white police officers. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is white, says Race Together is “not a solution,” “but it is an opportunity to begin to re-examine how we can create a more empathetic and inclusive society – one conversation at a time.”

Here’s Starbucks’ announcement about Race Together:

Despite raw emotion around racial unrest from Ferguson, Missouri to New York City to Oakland, “we at Starbucks should be willing to talk about these issues in America,” Schultz said. “Not to point fingers or to place blame, and not because we have answers, but because staying silent is not who we are.”

Partners were not silent. For more than an hour, at an all-hands meeting at the Starbucks Support Center, partners representing various ages, races and ethnicities passed a microphone and shared personal stories.

“The current state of racism in our country is almost like humidity at times. You can’t see it, but you feel it,” said one partner.

Fortune magazine reports that 40 percent of Starbucks employees identify as a racial minority but all the people in the “Race Together” press photos are white.  Interesting…

Raven Symone Defends Rodner Figueroa Michelle Obama Ape Comments

Raven Symone Defends Rodner Figueroa Michelle Obama Ape Comments

Raven Symone Defends Rodner Figueroa Michelle Obama Ape Comments (Photo Credit: ABC Video Screengrab)

Raven Symone is defending former Univision host Rodner Figueroa, who was fired over his comments that Michelle Obama looked like a cast member of the “Planet of the Apes,” saying “some people look like animals.” Wow, she did it again…put her foot in her mouth.

Raven Symone was a guest host on “The View” when she made the comments. Co-host Rosie Perez said Figueroa’s comments were undeniably racist. She added, “He did say Michelle Obama looks like a cast member of the “Planet of the Apes.”

Symone begged to differ saying, “But was he saying it ‘racist-like?'” She added, “Because [Figueroa] did say he voted for Michelle later. I don’t think he was saying it racist.”

Rosie Perez smacked back, saying, “Oh please!” “That’s like saying, I’m not a racist because I have black friends.”

It gets more interesting….

Comedian Michelle Collins took the position that Figueroa should be fired for stupidity and not for making a racist comment. Perez said, “I am the Latin person here at this table and I would like to tell you that it was racist.”

Then Raven Symone hit a low point…

Symone: “Michelle don’t fire me for this, but some people look like animals. Is that rude? I look like a bird….”

Um, I have no words.

Watch Raven Symone put both feet in her mouth on The View:

UMD Investigating Racist Email Sent by Kappa Sigma Fraternity Member

UMD Investigating Racist Email Sent by Kappa Sigma Fraternity Member

UMD Investigating Racist Email Sent by Kappa Sigma Fraternity Member

Here we go again…. The University of Maryland, College Park is investigating an email allegedly from someone with Kappa Sigma fraternity. The message included racial slurs, mentioned rape.

College Park President Wallace Loh issued a statement on the school’s website that said officials were alerted Tuesday to an email he said dated back to January 2014.

“The vulgar language in the email expresses views that are reprehensible to our campus community,” said Loh in the statement. “We have immediately met with the student involved and a University investigation is underway, led by the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct.

“We are in contact with the University chapter of Kappa Sigma and they have taken swift and decisive action in this matter,” Loh continued. “At their request, the University has committed to provide educational training on diversity and respect for the entire family. Source: Baltimore Sun

Levi Pettit ID’d as 2nd OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Member Expelled Over Racist Video

Levi Pettit ID'd as 2nd OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Member Expelled Over Racist Video

Levi Pettit ID’d as 2nd OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Member Expelled Over Racist Video (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Levi Pettit has been identified as the second student expelled at the University of Oklahoma after a racist video surfaced. His parents issued a statement asking for forgiveness for their 20-year-old son.

Brody and Susan Pettit asked for forgiveness of the black community and the University of Oklahoma, saying their son was not raised that way:

“As parents of Levi, we love him and care for him deeply. He made a horrible mistake, and will live with the consequences forever. However, we also know the depth of our son’s character. He is a good boy, but what we saw in those videos is disgusting. While it may be difficult for those who only know Levi from the video to understand, we know his heart, and he is not a racist. We raised him to be loving and inclusive and we all remain surrounded by a diverse, close-knit group of friends.

We were as shocked and saddened by this news as anyone. Of course, we are sad for our son – but more importantly, we apologize to the community he has hurt. We would also like to apologize to the – entire African American community, University of Oklahoma student body and administration. Our family has the responsibility to apologize, and also to seek forgiveness and reconciliation. Our words will only go so far – as a family, we commit to following our words with deeds.

To our friends and family, thank you for your kind comments and prayers. They are very comforting in this difficult time.

We ask that the media and public please respect our family’s privacy as we come together to heal and determine next steps.”

Parker Rice was identified as the other SAE frat member expelled from OU. House mother Beauton Gilbow is also under fire over chanting the n-word to Trinidad James’ song at a party. OU professor Dr. George Henderson said “I don’t know if she’s a racist, but she is complicit.” He added, “Certainly in 2015 with the dialogue we’ve had with that hurtful word certainly she’s aware that it’s hurtful.”

OU’s SAE House Mom Beauton Gilbow Caught on Video Chanting N-Word

OU's SAE House Mom Beauton Gilbow Caught on Video Chanting N-Word

OU’s SAE House Mom Beauton Gilbow Caught on Video Chanting N-Word (Photo Credit: Vine Video Screengrab)

A video clip has surfaced of Beauton Gilbow, 79, house mom for the disgraced Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma chanting the word n*gger.

Buzzfeed reports she appeared to be singing along with Trinidad James’ song All Gold Everything.  The video was was taken at a party and posted on Vine in February 2013.

What’s interesting is that Beauton Gilbow claims she never heard any racial slurs in the frat house and that she had never heard the racist song chanted on the bus that led to SAE being kicked of the OU campus. She said she’s in shock over the racist behavior. Um, but that shock can’t be real since she was caught chanting the ugly word herself.

Watch Beauton Gilbow’s chant n-word:

She was interviewed by News 9:

Billboard Honoring KKK Founder Nathan Bedford Forrest on Display Near Selma Bridge

Billboard Honoring KKK Founder Nathan Bedford Forrest on Display Near Selma Bridge

Billboard Honoring KKK Founder Nathan Bedford Forrest on Display Near Selma Bridge (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

A billboard honoring Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest is on display near the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where President Obama, former president George W. Bush, and others commemorated the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

The sign, set up in recent days, invites visitors to see “Selma’s War Between The States Historic Sites.” But it also features a picture of the Confederate flag and an image of Forrest, who was also a Confederate general.

Beside Forrest’s picture is a quote adopted by his men: “Keep the skeer on ’em.”

In a bizarre twist, the other side of the billboard — a straight shot and about a half-mile east of the Edmund Pettus Bridge — contains a welcome message to President Obama. Source: NY Daily News

The woman behind the billboard is defending the group’s decision to put it on display:

“That billboard was put there with positive intent to ask people who come to Selma to explore and enjoy our 19th century history,” said Patricia Goodwin, head of the group Friends of Forrest Inc.

“Does it say anything in the Constitution where a certain faction of people cannot be offended?” she added. “I’m offended by all these people walking around with their pants hanging around their knees.” Source: NY Daily News

No words….

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Transcript: President Obama’s Selma Speech Commemorating Bloody Sunday

Transcript: President Obama's Selma Speech Commemorating Bloody Sunday

Transcript: President Obama’s Selma Speech Commemorating Bloody Sunday (Photo Credit: White House/Pete Souza)

OBAMA’S SELMA SPEECH:  President Obama gave an arousing and powerful speech on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when about 600 marchers were gassed and beaten by police as they marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

Here’s the full text of President Obama’s Selma speech:

It is a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. And John Lewis is one of my heroes.

Now, I have to imagine that when a younger John Lewis woke up that morning fifty years ago and made his way to Brown Chapel, heroics were not on his mind. A day like this was not on his mind. Young folks with bedrolls and backpacks were milling about. Veterans of the movement trained newcomers in the tactics of non-violence; the right way to protect yourself when attacked. A doctor described what tear gas does to the body, while marchers scribbled down instructions for contacting their loved ones. The air was thick with doubt, anticipation, and fear. They comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung:

No matter what may be the test, God will take care of you;

Lean, weary one, upon His breast, God will take care of you.

Then, his knapsack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush, a book on government – all you need for a night behind bars – John Lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change America.

President Bush and Mrs. Bush, Governor Bentley, Members of Congress, Mayor Evans, Reverend Strong, friends and fellow Americans:

There are places, and moments in America where this nation’s destiny has been decided. Many are sites of war – Concord and Lexington, Appomattox and Gettysburg. Others are sites that symbolize the daring of America’s character – Independence Hall and Seneca Falls, Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral.

Selma is such a place.

In one afternoon fifty years ago, so much of our turbulent history – the stain of slavery and anguish of civil war; the yoke of segregation and tyranny of Jim Crow; the death of four little girls in Birmingham, and the dream of a Baptist preacher – met on this bridge.

It was not a clash of armies, but a clash of wills; a contest to determine the meaning of America.

And because of men and women like John Lewis, Joseph Lowery, Hosea Williams, Amelia Boynton, Diane Nash, Ralph Abernathy, C.T. Vivian, Andrew Young, Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. King, and so many more, the idea of a just America, a fair America, an inclusive America, a generous America – that idea ultimately triumphed.

As is true across the landscape of American history, we cannot examine this moment in isolation. The march on Selma was part of a broader campaign that spanned generations; the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes.

We gather here to celebrate them. We gather here to honor the courage of ordinary Americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chastening rod; tear gas and the trampling hoof; men and women who despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay true to their North Star and keep marching toward justice.

They did as Scripture instructed: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” And in the days to come, they went back again and again. When the trumpet call sounded for more to join, the people came – black and white, young and old, Christian and Jew, waving the American flag and singing the same anthems full of faith and hope. A white newsman, Bill Plante, who covered the marches then and who is with us here today, quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of the singing. To those who marched, though, those old gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet.

In time, their chorus would reach President Johnson. And he would send them protection, echoing their call for the nation and the world to hear:

“We shall overcome.”

What enormous faith these men and women had. Faith in God – but also faith in America.

The Americans who crossed this bridge were not physically imposing. But they gave courage to millions. They held no elected office. But they led a nation. They marched as Americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, and countless daily indignities – but they didn’t seek special treatment, just the equal treatment promised to them almost a century before.

What they did here will reverberate through the ages. Not because the change they won was preordained; not because their victory was complete; but because they proved that nonviolent change is possible; that love and hope can conquer hate.

As we commemorate their achievement, we are well-served to remember that at the time of the marches, many in power condemned rather than praised them. Back then, they were called Communists, half-breeds, outside agitators, sexual and moral degenerates, and worse – everything but the name their parents gave them. Their faith was questioned. Their lives were threatened. Their patriotism was challenged.

And yet, what could be more American than what happened in this place?

What could more profoundly vindicate the idea of America than plain and humble people – the unsung, the downtrodden, the dreamers not of high station, not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many – coming together to shape their country’s course?

What greater expression of faith in the American experiment than this; what greater form of patriotism is there; than the belief that America is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be self-critical, that each successive generation can look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake this nation to more closely align with our highest ideals?

That’s why Selma is not some outlier in the American experience. That’s why it’s not a museum or static monument to behold from a distance. It is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents:

“We the People…in order to form a more perfect union.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

These are not just words. They are a living thing, a call to action, a roadmap for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny. For founders like Franklin and Jefferson, for leaders like Lincoln and FDR, the success of our experiment in self-government rested on engaging all our citizens in this work. That’s what we celebrate here in Selma. That’s what this movement was all about, one leg in our long journey toward freedom.

The American instinct that led these young men and women to pick up the torch and cross this bridge is the same instinct that moved patriots to choose revolution over tyranny. It’s the same instinct that drew immigrants from across oceans and the Rio Grande; the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot and workers to organize against an unjust status quo; the same instinct that led us to plant a flag at Iwo Jima and on the surface of the Moon.

It’s the idea held by generations of citizens who believed that America is a constant work in progress; who believed that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths. It requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what’s right and shake up the status quo.

That’s what makes us unique, and cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity. Young people behind the Iron Curtain would see Selma and eventually tear down a wall. Young people in Soweto would hear Bobby Kennedy talk about ripples of hope and eventually banish the scourge of apartheid. Young people in Burma went to prison rather than submit to military rule. From the streets of Tunis to the Maidan in Ukraine, this generation of young people can draw strength from this place, where the powerless could change the world’s greatest superpower, and push their leaders to expand the boundaries of freedom.

They saw that idea made real in Selma, Alabama. They saw it made real in America.

Because of campaigns like this, a Voting Rights Act was passed. Political, economic, and social barriers came down, and the change these men and women wrought is visible here today in the presence of African-Americans who run boardrooms, who sit on the bench, who serve in elected office from small towns to big cities; from the Congressional Black Caucus to the Oval Office.

Because of what they did, the doors of opportunity swung open not just for African-Americans, but for every American. Women marched through those doors. Latinos marched through those doors. Asian-Americans, gay Americans, and Americans with disabilities came through those doors. Their endeavors gave the entire South the chance to rise again, not by reasserting the past, but by transcending the past.

What a glorious thing, Dr. King might say.

What a solemn debt we owe.

Which leads us to ask, just how might we repay that debt?

First and foremost, we have to recognize that one day’s commemoration, no matter how special, is not enough. If Selma taught us anything, it’s that our work is never done – the American experiment in self-government gives work and purpose to each generation.

Selma teaches us, too, that action requires that we shed our cynicism. For when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair.

Just this week, I was asked whether I thought the Department of Justice’s Ferguson report shows that, with respect to race, little has changed in this country. I understand the question, for the report’s narrative was woefully familiar. It evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that spawned the Civil Rights Movement. But I rejected the notion that nothing’s changed. What happened in Ferguson may not be unique, but it’s no longer endemic, or sanctioned by law and custom; and before the Civil Rights Movement, it most surely was.

We do a disservice to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable, or that racial division is inherent to America. If you think nothing’s changed in the past fifty years, ask somebody who lived through the Selma or Chicago or L.A. of the Fifties. Ask the female CEO who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing’s changed. Ask your gay friend if it’s easier to be out and proud in America now than it was thirty years ago. To deny this progress – our progress – would be to rob us of our own agency; our responsibility to do what we can to make America better.

Of course, a more common mistake is to suggest that racism is banished, that the work that drew men and women to Selma is complete, and that whatever racial tensions remain are a consequence of those seeking to play the “race card” for their own purposes. We don’t need the Ferguson report to know that’s not true. We just need to open our eyes, and ears, and hearts, to know that this nation’s racial history still casts its long shadow upon us. We know the march is not yet over, the race is not yet won, and that reaching that blessed destination where we are judged by the content of our character – requires admitting as much.

“We are capable of bearing a great burden,” James Baldwin wrote, “once we discover that the burden is reality and arrive where reality is.”

This is work for all Americans, and not just some. Not just whites. Not just blacks. If we want to honor the courage of those who marched that day, then all of us are called to possess their moral imagination. All of us will need to feel, as they did, the fierce urgency of now. All of us need to recognize, as they did, that change depends on our actions, our attitudes, the things we teach our children. And if we make such effort, no matter how hard it may seem, laws can be passed, and consciences can be stirred, and consensus can be built.

With such effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some. Together, we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on – the idea that police officers are members of the communities they risk their lives to protect, and citizens in Ferguson and New York and Cleveland just want the same thing young people here marched for – the protection of the law. Together, we can address unfair sentencing, and overcrowded prisons, and the stunted circumstances that rob too many boys of the chance to become men, and rob the nation of too many men who could be good dads, and workers, and neighbors.

With effort, we can roll back poverty and the roadblocks to opportunity. Americans don’t accept a free ride for anyone, nor do we believe in equality of outcomes. But we do expect equal opportunity, and if we really mean it, if we’re willing to sacrifice for it, then we can make sure every child gets an education suitable to this new century, one that expands imaginations and lifts their sights and gives them skills. We can make sure every person willing to work has the dignity of a job, and a fair wage, and a real voice, and sturdier rungs on that ladder into the middle class.

And with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge – and that is the right to vote. Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.

How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.

Of course, our democracy is not the task of Congress alone, or the courts alone, or the President alone. If every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we’d still have one of the lowest voting rates among free peoples. Fifty years ago, registering to vote here in Selma and much of the South meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap. It meant risking your dignity, and sometimes, your life. What is our excuse today for not voting? How do we so casually discard the right for which so many fought? How do we so fully give away our power, our voice, in shaping America’s future?

Fellow marchers, so much has changed in fifty years. We’ve endured war, and fashioned peace. We’ve seen technological wonders that touch every aspect of our lives, and take for granted convenience our parents might scarcely imagine. But what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship, that willingness of a 26 year-old deacon, or a Unitarian minister, or a young mother of five, to decide they loved this country so much that they’d risk everything to realize its promise.

That’s what it means to love America. That’s what it means to believe in America. That’s what it means when we say America is exceptional.

For we were born of change. We broke the old aristocracies, declaring ourselves entitled not by bloodline, but endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. We secure our rights and responsibilities through a system of self-government, of and by and for the people. That’s why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction, because we know our efforts matter. We know America is what we make of it.

We are Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea – pioneers who braved the unfamiliar, followed by a stampede of farmers and miners, entrepreneurs and hucksters. That’s our spirit.

We are Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer, women who could do as much as any man and then some; and we’re Susan B. Anthony, who shook the system until the law reflected that truth. That’s our character.

We’re the immigrants who stowed away on ships to reach these shores, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free – Holocaust survivors, Soviet defectors, the Lost Boys of Sudan. We are the hopeful strivers who cross the Rio Grande because they want their kids to know a better life. That’s how we came to be.

We’re the slaves who built the White House and the economy of the South. We’re the ranch hands and cowboys who opened the West, and countless laborers who laid rail, and raised skyscrapers, and organized for workers’ rights.

We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent, and we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, Navajo code-talkers, and Japanese-Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied. We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, and the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We are the gay Americans whose blood ran on the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, and artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.

We are the inventors of gospel and jazz and the blues, bluegrass and country, hip-hop and rock and roll, our very own sounds with all the sweet sorrow and reckless joy of freedom.

We are Jackie Robinson, enduring scorn and spiked cleats and pitches coming straight to his head, and stealing home in the World Series anyway.

We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of, who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.”

We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American as others. We respect the past, but we don’t pine for it. We don’t fear the future; we grab for it. America is not some fragile thing; we are large, in the words of Whitman, containing multitudes. We are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. That’s why someone like John Lewis at the ripe age of 25 could lead a mighty march.

And that’s what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. You are America. Unconstrained by habits and convention. Unencumbered by what is, and ready to seize what ought to be. For everywhere in this country, there are first steps to be taken, and new ground to cover, and bridges to be crossed. And it is you, the young and fearless at heart, the most diverse and educated generation in our history, who the nation is waiting to follow.

Because Selma shows us that America is not the project of any one person.

Because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word “We.” We The People. We Shall Overcome. Yes We Can. It is owned by no one. It belongs to everyone. Oh, what a glorious task we are given, to continually try to improve this great nation of ours.

Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished. But we are getting closer. Two hundred and thirty-nine years after this nation’s founding, our union is not yet perfect. But we are getting closer. Our job’s easier because somebody already got us through that first mile. Somebody already got us over that bridge. When it feels the road’s too hard, when the torch we’ve been passed feels too heavy, we will remember these early travelers, and draw strength from their example, and hold firmly the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.”

We honor those who walked so we could run. We must run so our children soar. And we will not grow weary. For we believe in the power of an awesome God, and we believe in this country’s sacred promise.

May He bless those warriors of justice no longer with us, and bless the United States of America.