To my elders, ancestors and all who have gone before me...I want to apologize on behalf of a generation. We apologize for taking your zeal for our rights for granted. We weren't there that faithful day that a tired woman refused to give up her seat, igniting CHANGE. We weren't there when a man was shot who only dreamed of his people living in peace and harmony. Yet, we're here to all-too-often forget what you've done for us; how you have paved the way so that we may have limitless goals. You lived in a time where ambition was a sin, not a virtue. You lived when Poverty was the best friend of many races...and yet you prevailed. You, our mothers, whose strong arms chastised us and hug us from the basis of the same emotion. You, are fathers, whose legs carried you miles and miles to work in misery and ran to our rescue. It is on your shoulders that we stand today.
Secondly, we thank you. We appreciate you instilling the Word of God within us. We are thankful your sacrifices, your struggle and your steadfastness. You taught us that something worth anything is worth fighting for, and that fight and determination has carried us through the ages. That fight has gotten us, as a people, a right to vote, the right to the same education as the next person...and ancestors, let me tell you, that fight has gotten us A PRESIDENT. But, we know our fight is far from over; it has just begun. Hopefully, now, as a FAMILY, our race will be held more accountable. Our family will raise the bar through self-reliance and self-determination. We will follow your example and help our brother or sister in need, not shun them away from sheer selfishness.
Oh...elders and ancestors, don't think we don't owe you. We owe you for every tear you shed, every imprisonment you were subjected to, every lynching of your son or daughter. We owe you for going beyond being just a “nigger”; you were intelligent, courageous and self-confident. You were not only Harvard graduates, but you were mine workers. You were not only doctors and lawyers, but cooks and maids as well. YOU made it possible...and you didn't even know. YOU made it possible...without even asking anything in return. We owe you for setting a standard, and never lowering it, not even when we disappointed you.
We apologize, we thank you, we owe you...your long-suffering has NOT been forgotten.