We’ve come a long way,
from emancipation, segregation and the right to vote.
We’ve come a long way
from riding on the backs of buses to eating at separate counters.
We’ve come a long way,
from drinking from divided waters fountains and jobs for some and not for all.
We have excelled in all areas of life here in the United States of America.
We’ve come a long way
and a long journey from slave ships to building ships, and finally to sailing ships and flying air plans, serving in the armed forces protecting the boarders to a country we all love.

They said we could never play tennis but along came Arthur Ash and then the Serena sisters.
They said we couldn’t play baseball but along came Jackie Robinson and the famous Reggie Jackson. They said we couldn’t fight but along came Joe Louis and then Muhammad Ali. . So yes i say to you today.
We’ve come a long way.
They said we could never be congressman, judges, mayors, or lawyers, but along came the likes of Shirley Chisholm, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, William henry Hastie, Thurgood Marshall, and one of our very own, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther king Jr right here in Hartford Ct , our former Mayor Thurman Miller. There are so many more, that I could mention but it would take possibly a lifetime to speak of all the achievements that a people who were stripped of their language and culture and torn from their families, who by reason should not have made it thus far, but yet we are still here.

My god! My god!
We have come a long way.
A people that have stayed the course and have not swayed from the path to freedom, justice and equality. Some of our people went on home that you and I could stand here today. Some of the names were never mentioned and they were not made famous nor were there any ceremonies such as this for their voice to be heard or awards to be given but that’s not what they were looking for. You see they had a dream. I said they had a dream. Spoken of by The Dreamer Doctor martin Luther king jar…That all men were created equal, black men and white men. That one day we would sit down at the table of brother hood and live out the true purpose of our species.

We’ve come a long way
from the dogs and the water drenched streets and the riot of watts and the burning of our neighborhoods.
We’ve come long way
From Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Garvey’s, Gordon Parks, Sidney Poitier, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Gwendolyn Brooks, and again I say, so many more. From the tobacco farms of Bloomfield, CT to the then sit in the office of the mayor, City Council, Judges and lawyers right here in this very city, our rising star Hartford ct. My god my god the tears that were shed, could have, I believe, been an ocean from the path we’ve come from.

Yes!
We’ve come a long way.
I would like to say, to those that came before us, that if they could see us and be here with us now. The many that have gone on would be proud of our accomplishments and how far we have come from the first ships that set shore, right here in Hartford CT carrying our ancestors as slaves from Africa.
I would want to believe that they are rejoicing and having a party in our honor for the work we’ve have done thus far. Those who paved the way for you and I, whose blood was shed for our freedom. Who were shackled in the gallows and the auctioning block that sits in the public square of the old state house in Hartford Ct., and marched in Selma Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Carolinas, Virginia, and all across the country that you and I could be free one day. Yes I believe they are smiling and rejoicing. Hugging one another. Looking at the fruit of their labor and knowing that is was not all in vain.

We’ve come a long way
from segregated schools, libraries and theaters. From rail car housing and communities where it was said we could not afford or were not wanted

We’ve come a long way
from a law which said that if you had an 8th of a drop a black blood your vote was not counted as a whole human being. Hallelujah we’ve come a long way.

I would like to say that Dr. Martin Luther not only prophesied his inevitable passing but he told us of this day. The day when our children and their children’s children would see justice roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. When we could stand here in this great assembly and not have to fear that the hoses would be turned on and the dogs set upon us, without justice prevailing.

Yes we have come a long way.
We’ve come so far as to live in a time that many of us thought would never come and if it did we would not be alive to see it. I dare to say that Dr. Martin Luther king’s children thought they would never see it in their life time. I remember seeing the tears rolling down like water from Jessie Jackson face, who ran for the very same office. That an educated black man married to an educated and powerful black woman, with beautiful black children, are chilling in the white house.

But!
We have still yet a long way to go.
It’s not time to fold our hands and act as if we have arrived. There are still many Battles to be fought right here in this city. A city where our teachers who teach in our neighborhoods don’t look like us and cannot address the lingering effects and generational oppression, and depression that still exist in our hearts and our minds from slavery. Some of us are still bound and act as if we are still shackled.

We have a long way to go.
Our streets in the north end are plagued with violence from within. No there are no nooses they are not needed. We have guns and our young men are killing one another at an alarming rate, and we should be alarmed.
We have a long way to go.
It’s not time to put away your marching shoes when we make up more than fifty percent of Hartford city residents but make up less than 25 percent of its work force Yet we pay the same if not more taxes as those who teach our children but live on the out skirts of town in safer communities.

We have a long way to go.
When our children are given a high school diploma but cannot read past a fifth grade reading level and can compete in the work force or have to go back to school to qualify for college and higher learning.
We have a long way to go as long as our history books at the foundation level, and the base of our self-esteem are only teaching our children about ancestors who but for a brief but cruel moment in time were slaves.

We have a long way to go,
when there are no black super heroes in our comic books and even though America is a melting pot the rest of the world still deems this country, a white supremacist and racist state.
So no, now is not the time to rest but to make of a surety that Dr Martin Luther King’s dream does not fade off into the abyss of never was. Now is the time to tell our young from whence we came and how far it is we have to go.

Yes I say!
We have a long way to go.
We have a long way to go, when our city’s none profits are for us, but not run by us and produce a product that is for the most, in part, are sub-standard to that which we could do for ourselves.
We have a long way to go as long as our jails are filled with a ratio of one in every three black men are either incarcerated or will be in their life time.

We’ve come a long way, we have a long way to go and we shall get there together as a people and as a nation. Last but not least, in those infamous words we shall overcome. The victory is already one, and I am ever grateful to have lived in a time to watch the beginning of its manifestation.
Love always Marcus Mosiah Jarvis

Written by Marcus Mosiah Jarvis.

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About ceo1fsp

I grew up in a family surrounded by the arts and was raised in a renaissance manner. What that means is that I was taught to explore and use all that which is art in a wide variety of genres, dance (classical), voice (classical, gospel, R&B, Jazz), visual arts, writing, and labor (carpentry and plumbing). I also play keyboards, various wind and percussion instruments. I was also instilled with a strong sense of social justice and service, to give back the gifts that I have. I have been involved in theater and the arts all of my life and come from a long line of family singers, dancers and artists in a wide genre. Having a treasure of mentors and teachers in life has been pivotal in my training and shaping my talent. As a young student, I attended The Albano Ballet and Performing Arts Center for a number of years, working under Joseph Albano, a renown teacher who was trained by Rudolf Nureyev and Vaslav Nijinsky. Through Albano's mentoring and training, I was cast as a secondary lead dancer (and sang in the chorus) in the former Connecticut Opera Company's massive opera production of Verdi's "Aida" in 1991. The production celebrated Connecticut Opera's 50th anniversary season and the performance was billed as "the world's largest production" of Verdi's "Aida." George Osborne was general director, David Morelock was director, Michael Uthoff choreographer and Willie Waters the conductor of the production. The production consisted of a 350-member chorus, a 65-piece orchestra, a large number of dancers, a set with 80-foot pyramids, 20 horses, 4 camels, 2 elephants and 1 zebra. I performed in the same manner in an equally impressive production by Connecticut Opera of Puccinni's "Turrandot." My three years with Connecticut Opera were primarily singing roles. Performing in productions on the scale of "Aida" and "Turrandot" did a great deal to help shape my appreciation for stage production, direction and the fact that anything is possible with hard work, discipline and commitment. I sought to work in film on stage and was cast as extra in "Daddy I Don't Like it This Way," a movie that tracks the lives of a middle-class couple, struggling with life's obstacles. The husband (Burt Young), is frustrated by his inability to fulfill his own dreams. The wife (Talia Shire) struggles with emotional and intellectual immaturity. Both take out their hostilities on their son (Doug McKeon), whose answer is to retreat into his own world. Young and Shire were best known at the time (1978) for their supporting roles in Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky." While the role was as an extra, my time spent on the set provided me the opportunity to watch, listen and learn. Comparable to my debut as a stage director with the "The Door," this was the first directorial assignment for Adell Aldrich, daughter of "cult" director Robert Aldrich. I have sung in various church choirs and performed in high school plays. My summers were spent at various music camps, including The Hartford Stage Youth Program under Clay Stevenson, The Hartt Summer Youth Program with world renown conductor Moshe Paronov, and the Wesleyan University Center For Creative Youth where I studied acting, drama, mime, modern dance, music theory and poetry. I also studied voice with Thomas and Susan Brooks at Hart School Of Music and sang with the Connecticut All City Choir under Dr. Gerald Mack

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