We Shall Overcome

Author: John Lucas Kovasckitz

Inspired by the words and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the work still left to be done - part of which is addressed in The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. 


We shall, we shall
we shall overcome -
my white brothers,
my white sisters. 


We shall overcome
the dark shadows of oppression
that we have cast -
at times with calculation,
at times without thought. 


passed down like family heirlooms - 
we shall break the curse
and take up a new name,
a new mantle of righteousness. 


We shall overcome our power
that blinds us to the powerless.
We shall overcome our wealth
that starves and displaces the poor. 


We shall overcome
our apathy
our contempt
our fear
our comfort and self-preservation
through the path of destruction. 


We shall overcome our borders
until there are no outsiders.
We shall overcome our religions
until we see God.
We shall overcome our man-made structures
of law and order
that have ordered the laws
in our image - 
until our law is love,
and our gospel peace. 


Oh Lord, 
give us the courage
to open the prison doors
that have enslaved our brothers. 
Oh brother: 
I am the thief,
the swindler,
the criminal - 
and I have judged you wrongly from afar. 
Forgive me, brother, 
for I have sinned against you
and against God. 


Oh Lord, 
give us the moral fortitude
to wash the feet of the prostitute
with our own hair. 
Oh sister,
oh daughter of the King, 
no longer will you sell your body
to hollow power
for hollow bread. 
You will be honored,
you will be loved. 


Oh Lord,
give freedom to the captives,
bring justice to the oppressed - 
through our hands and our feet,
our blood and our tears.


Let us suffer with joy alongside those
who have suffered enough. 


Oh beautiful
this is my body,
broken for you. 


We shall overcome.
All of us.


For The Path of Suffering
leads to the Kingdom of God.