Remember who you are.
Not the litany of name, place of work, place of residence, education, blood type, political affiliation or last dental checkup.
Remember where you come from.
Not the list of states and countries you’ve lived in.
Singing in your bones, in your blood, is a different story. An ancient drum taps a steady rhythm with every beat of your heart. It echoes through the generations, every dance step taken to this one shared rhythm.
Your feet remember the feel of the earth in a thousand lands. Your skin remembers the touch of the plow, of the bow, of the needle, of the sword, of the loom, of the shroud. Your ears carry the memory of the lullabies of ten thousand mothers. Can you hear them? They sing softly to you of sweet dreams, of deep rest, of a better tomorrow in all the languages of the world.
We are the descendants of the ones who lived. Our presence here, now, is their proof of triumph. We are the candle flames they placed so delicately in little reed boats, drifting lights on the River of Blood. We are the paintings and the mosaics they etched on walls that still stand today. We are proof of life.
Remember what they survived. Our world is so interconnected now – we carry the blood of many lands. Our ancestors survived hunger, war, disease, slavery, cataclysm and disasters too many to count. They hunted and gathered, labored in the fields, set bones and drew venom from the wound. They birthed children, planted seeds, raised animals and survived the coldest winters. They buried so many beloved dead. They learned hard lessons and passed on their wisdom. Grief and love and hope and pain are woven into the tapestry that wraps our shoulders. These precious threads of shining life are all around us.
This, too, is your heritage. More than the color of your eyes or the shape of your hands, the strength in your blood is your ancestry. It is their greatest gift to you. They survived.
Sing with me.
We carry the flame of the ones who survived
Ten thousand voices shape the songs of our lives
We carry the strength of our ancestors
Listen to your heartbeat and feel the power rise
We rise like the sea like the flame like the wind
We dance like the stars like the Earth as she spins
We rise like the sun like the moon like the mist
We rise, we rise, we rise, we resist
Once again, the winds howl, and shadow walks our lands. Once again, we find our strength tested.
Listen to the song of your ancestors. Feel the beat of the drum in your blood. We are the descendants of the ones who lived, and our blood is strong.
Remember who you are.