Published on Monday, July 12, 2004 by the Seattle Times
Assaults on Justice Undermine Constitution
by August Wilson
As I look out over the audience, I see that some of you are the rear guard of a people who arrived in America searching for freedom from political tyranny and religious oppression, and some of you are the rear guard of a people who arrived in America seeking opportunity, and some of you, like myself, are the rear guard of a people who arrived in America chained and malnourished in the hold of a 350-ton Portuguese, Dutch, or British vessel. And some of you have been in America long before any of us.
We have all shared a common history as Americans. Most of us can trace our ancestry back to a ship's log or an airline manifest. We are all a testament to the strength of the American character and to the resiliency of the human spirit.
I had wanted to come here today to encourage you to have a belief in yourself that is larger than anyone's disbelief; to talk about how your talent, your truths, your belief in yourself, are all in your hands. But there is a greater urgency that commands our attention.
We have turned the corner on the 21st century. Our prosperity is not guaranteed. Our freedom and our survival are not guaranteed. We live in a global community where the majority of our fellow human beings in Africa, South America, the West Indies, Asia and the Middle East are at the bottom of a social system that leaves them chained to a cycle of poverty and oppression.