Carla Christopher of Put People First! PA ( reads a poem inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Full text below.

The Silence of the Night

Let me make it clear in the beginning
I preach to you because my conscience
leaves me with no other choice
The time has come for America to hear the truth
if only from a single voice
He who lives with untruth lives a spiritual slave
“You shall know the truth,” says Jesus,
and the truth shall make you brave.
Yes, the truth shall set you free
and I’ve chosen to preach because I agree
that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who
in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.

There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt,
but the human spirit cannot move without
great difficulty
against all the apathy
in the surrounding world,
yet we must move on
and some of us have already begun
to break the silence of the night

As I have walked among the desperate,
rejected and angry young children
I have told them that problems cannot be solved
with a weapon
I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion
while maintaining my conviction
in change through non-violent action;
I think of them, too, because it is clear to me
no solution can come peacefully
until some attempt is made to know these people meaningfully
and hear their broken cries.

Love is somehow the key
that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.
“Let us love one another”,
for God is love embodied perfectly
and all people are created equally
an heir to a legacy of dignity and worth.
Out of one blood, God made all people
to dwell upon the face of the earth.

Now it isn’t easy to stand up for truth and for justice.
Sometimes it means
that you will walk the streets
with a burdened and broken heart
Before the crown we wear,
there is the cross that we must bear.
Let us bear it-
bear it for truth,
bear it for justice
and bear it for peace.

Let us go out this evening with that determination.
and I have not lost faith.
With this faith we will be able
to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.
With this faith we will be able
to speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters,
and righteousness like a mighty stream.
With this faith every man
will sit under his own vine and fig tree,
and none shall be afraid
because the words of the Lord have spoken it will be.
With this faith we will be able
to bring forth the moment when all over the world
citizens of freedom will be able to join hands and sing
“Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!”
Child of God shall not rise up against child of God
Neighborhoods shall not rise up against neighborhoods,
neither shall they study war no more
and rather than silence in the night
there will be countless voices joined together
in one, peace-filed fight.