and the beat goes on. . .

i am about to tell you a story
of lives forgotten and an absence of glory
for i have seen the faces
of people who will never live again

and this is a mark of indelible pain
coursing forever through my viens
so i continue to tell their story and ask for help
because there is a great lacking
for solutions to write a new ending
to the story pending

because there they lie,
broken and dying
on the doorstep of humanity they are lying
waiting for someone to hear their cries
before another so needlessly dies
starving and forgotten
they know not what will become of their fate
in this terrible world of power, corruption, money and hate

on that bright sunny day
somewhere in the month of may,
i came across a drum
and that has made this vision come
as the story i am about to tell
is percussed from that drum’s resounding yell

i learned the rhythms
i learned the beats
and as i learned my sorrows increased
how can people be left to die
without a care
without emotion lost
without a helping hand
and without a hope?

this conflict is one from which we cannot fly
the beat goes on
and so many can no longer try,
to gain that basic right
in this world, that is society’s eternal fight.

and there they lie,
broken and dying
on the doorstep of humanity they are lying
waiting for someone to hear their cries
before another so needlessly dies
starving and forgotten
they know not what will become of their fate
in this terrible world of power, corruption, money and hate

power to the people
this movement flows like treacle
rise up against the institution
increased are the privileges of the western popullution
empower the oppressed and marginalized
why can we not make this effort prioritized?

progress is gained by change
and this idea alone.
this encompasses issues of a vast range
and our actions need to hone.
the beat goes on
and so many can no longer feel the pulse
the beat goes on
and so many are consumed by apathy
the beat goes on
and so many are no longer here,
this is what i fear.

stop. and hope.
when we work together we will be able to cope
joining our efforts we can change the world.
combining our passions we can shape that world.
believeing our dreams we can grow this world.
and the beat goes on
do you really care?
the beat goes on
share your story,
the beat goes on
bring your drum
and the beat goes on. . .

Alex B. Hill
written down on 28 February 2007, composed over the past year

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out of africa

This morning I was listening to some hip hop music and the artist, Saul Williams‘ “African Student Movement” song came on. Part of the chorus is a repitition of ‘African people’, which for some reason kept sticking in my head. Earlier that morning I had read an article on National Geographic about the discovery of a 36,000 year-old skull proving the 2nd migration of the human race out of Africa.

This discovery proves that at around 50,000-70,000 years ago modern humans left Africa to populate Eurasia. This is still in a theory stage, but the evidence is growing in support of the ‘Out of Africa’ Theory. Essentially this means that Africans populated the world. I also learned this theory in one of my required university science courses. I found it very interesting and extremely thought provoking given the history of the US and ‘race’. Just 60,000 years ago people from East Africa spread to the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and Southern Africa. We are all Africans!

When Saul Williams is calling for African people to work together and join to build equality – he is really calling to us all. Our home is Africa! Now don’t get me wrong I am a privileged ‘white’ male with what some would say is no connection to Africa. Wrong, I feel more at ease and comfortable with my ‘black’ and African friends, I love Africa, the people, culture, and especially music. I feel for the plights of the people and work to change that. I have a strong connection to Africa and now that connection is proven even stronger. I am an African (not in the literal sense, I don’t mean to offend anyone) before and above anything else.

its MLK day . . . what will you do tomorrow?

Safely home finally from the National Summit for my fellowship with Young People For and the closing statements are still ringing in my ears. The only female and ‘african-american’ representative from Minnesota reminded the fellows that progress goes only as far as you are willing to take it. Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day – we engage in community service, leadership conferences, and remember the amazing contributions of a person who most would agree was more than an ordinary man. What that is, isn’t so easy to define.

Today at the last day of the National Summit I experienced an incredible energy. Our last session with our state groups we joined in a circle, holding hands, and spoke of our inspirations. The human contact and the energy of those few fellows was nearly overwhelming, no joke. The closing ceremonies and wrap-ups were just as powerful. The energy and fire in the hand of lady liberty was replicated and immensly intensified by the fire of passion in that auditorium of the NEA.

The power and passion and energy in that final session was overwhelming. And through all the speakers and fellows speaking I was so impassioned that and my own energy was so built up that I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream and release this fire. I looked around the auditorium and I saw the future of America, I saw the future of our world. I saw the future because I know that I will see everyone of the fellows later in life – holding an office or running a progressive movement organization. I know that I will see everyone with great leadership roles in the future changing the future of America with passion!

I remember the CEO of YP4 bringing up Kennedy’s speech in South Africa, talking about the ripple effect of each person and as more people join on the ripples grow. Each person has the potential to make a difference in the world, we just need to decide what kind of a difference we will make and further joined with one another we can make a huge difference. We are the tsunami of change that this country and world is waiting for. We will wash out the halls of government where stagnation is unbearable. We will clear the minds of those who have forgotten the ideals that our great country is founded upon and we will instill a belief in equal rights for all people. There will not be enough buckets for the extreme right to bail out of the hole they have dug. Progress will soar to the fore-front and our actions will defeat the opposition’s rhetoric.

To paraphrase something a fellow said during a fishbowl, “we walk not because we are heading to a promised land, but we walk because it is progress. . .” Last night I stood on the Lincoln Memorial steps where Martin Luther King Jr. stood to deliver his speech on civil rights. It was an amazing site, looking out on the reflecting pool and the surrounding area, imagining a mass of people filling the the steps and surrounding area to a breaking point, and dreaming of the day when the next great progressive leader will deliver a speech to re-invigorate and enlighten America. After this MLK day join the walk, step by step we will bring back the progressive ideals that appeal to all people. What will you do tomorrow?