I saw this speech at the Give Keystone The Boot Rally 2 weekends ago in Lincoln, NE.
For a while now, I’ve been discouraged. Really, discouraged. But after seeing and hearing this speech, I vowed to begin the dream again.
No doubt about it, we’re going through tough times. The environment is breaking down to the point that our very existence is in question. Our country is being run by those who place capital over people, at all costs. Our freedom is on the line. It’s hard to find hope.
But when I think about what black people people went through and are still facing, when I think about Dr. King, the 60’s, and when I hear words such as these, I can find hope. I can fight. Because there is no other choice. If I give up, then I’m creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. I’m not only hurting myself, I’m hurting my family. I’m hurting the next generations.
I have found a lot of people to blame for where we are. If I stay in the blame game, then nothing will change. But if I step outside the circle, take actions each day I believe in, that’s putting my best foot forward. Dr. King could have blamed the system and everyone else for the injustice – but he didn’t. Instead, he saw “unshakeable hope” from behind bars.
I need to look out in the distance from behind these bars. I’m going to.
Keystone XL Rally Speech
Rev. Kim Morrow
August 6, 2017
It is great to see you all here today!
You know, when this thing started seven years ago, no one thought we could do this. No one thought that a bunch of rowdy people from a “flyover state” could throw wrenches into the gears of an international, corporate and political machine. But you did it. You showed up at hearings and poetry readings and sacred corn plantings and barn raisings (sic) and marches and rallies and you showed the world that we Nebraskans (sic) will protect our sacred earth.
For seven years we have stopped this pipeline, and we are not giving up now!
I’d like to speak to you all today as a minister and person of faith. I know that today we have people here from many backgrounds: Native American, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist and all or none of the above. But what all faiths teach, at their core, is that the world is intended to be a place of love and justice. The earth is meant to flourish, and we are meant to flourish upon it. This is the promise that God made to us from the beginning.
These times are hard. Ignorance and discrimination have taken ahold of the highest levels of our government in a way we have not seen in a long time. Our climate is changing and many leaders seem not to care. Economic inequality is soaring, making it way too hard for way too many people to make ends meet. People are filled with fear and anger. In times like these, God’s promise of a world of love and justice can feel like child’s play: a nice idea, but totally unrealistic.
So the challenge for people of faith– and today I’d like to include all of us in that category, all of us who hunger and thirst for a more just world– the challenge for us is to believe that God’s promise is real.
You know, life has not been easy for a long, long time. Our scriptures are old, and they tell the stories of a people struggling to believe in love and justice through all kinds of trials and tribulations. Through oppression and war, homelessness and exile, apostasy and persecution, our Jewish and Christian scriptures tell us stories of a people who persevered. They persevered because they believed in that ultimate promise that God was leading them into a good and healthy land, where people would live in peace with one another.
It turns out that what we believe makes all the difference to the actions that we take in the world. If we can believe, to the core of our being, that we will win this fight to protect our sacred earth, we will take actions to make that become real. The alternative is a risk too great to take: if you believe that all is lost, that we are screwed, that your actions will not make a difference, then you have just decided to lose the fight. We’ve got to have hope.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. understood the power of hope. Not a simplistic hope, but a gritty, intense and determined hope. Today we remember that he had a dream, but sometimes we forget the context in which that dream was born. If you were to look out the window of the Birmingham jail in which Dr. King was imprisoned, you would have seen a world that was rife with violence, ignorance, fear and anger.
But Dr. King looked out that window and saw a vision. He saw a vision of a world made of love and justice. Against all odds, he believed that progress would be made. Against all odds, he believed in god’s promise. And because he believed so unshakably in that promise, he convinced others to believe it too. And together, their belief changed the world.
God is leading us to a promised land, just like God led the Israelites out of slavery and to a land flowing with milk and honey. God is leading us to a world powered by renewable energy, where dirty fossil fuels are a relic of the past. God is leading us to a world where our economy works within the boundaries of nature, not beyond them. God is leading us to a world where fairness reigns and diversity makes us stronger than we could ever be alone.
Today, I invite you to believe in the promise of this world. I invite you to believe, against all odds, that we the people will restore fairness and decency to our national dialog. I invite you to believe, against all odds, that we the people will succeed at protecting our climate for future generations. And I invite you to believe, against all odds, that we the people will stop this pipeline once and for all! Thank you for making the time to be here today. Don’t ever give up. Let your hands and feet make the promise of a just world real. Amen!