I Have No Rights


United States
37° 36' 22.9032" N, 122° 7' 4.1736" W

“I have a dream,” he says.
Dreams of justice, of children—both black and white—hand in hand, playing,
dreams of freedom
ringing through valleys and from mountaintops.
Where will he start?
Walking on the streets without being spat on and jeered at?
No more walking to the back of the restaurant,
head turned down, careful not to look any white person in the eye?
The walk of shame. Shame for what?
We are animals that need to be kept out.
These signs dictate my life, limit my freedom--
the freedom that is supposed to ring from mountaintops.
He says he has a dream.
I look around me, the Lincoln Memorial is packed—
over two-hundred thousand of us gathered today and I think:
Gathered for what?
For life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
We are fighting for our rights, we
are at a place that symbolizes democracy and justice.
The white man fears that this is a revolution.
He is right.
The white man fears that the Negroes will rise to power.
He is right.
But we are not after his house, his money, his occupation.
We only want what belongs to us.
To sleep in peace without fear of the white faceless robes,
to have a say in this “democratic” government.
All we've ever wanted was to be treated like equals,
to be treated with respect, to be treated like human beings.
He says he has a dream. So do I.

Guide that inspired this poem: 


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