As we approach Independence Day this weekend, I’ve thought much about my blog’s upcoming post and historical report on our holiday. My notes include the date of our birth as a free nation, July 4, 1776. I planned to link my readers to a copy of the Declaration of Independence as a source of reflection and study. And, as usual, I searched for some great photos.

Then I began to think deeper. I couldn't help but be reminded of all that is happening in Iran. The suppression of voices echoes through my mind and I’m thankful mostly right now for my freedom to speak.

Words are power. They equip the speaker to encourage, defend, calm, motivate, and move their audience. One speaker with an encouraging word is more powerful than a thousand people in silence.

Martin Luther King, Jr. changed the coarse of history through his words spoken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the freedom march on August 28, 1963. That moment in history when he delivered that famous speech titled, “I Have a Dream” was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. A Congressman, John Lewis, said “Dr. King had the power, the ability and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a modern day pulpit. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations.

King spoke words that gave vision. They inspired change. They evoked passion and faith. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

This speech, spoken by one man, made an impression on our country and United States history. Together with the participants of the march that day, pressure was put on the presidential administration to advance civil rights. Lyndon B. Johnson was able to get the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 passed, followed by the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Words are power. Words can change the course of history for millions. Words can change the course of history for one. The number of people listening is not what makes the words powerful. What makes the words powerful is the outcome from which is spoken. What is one life worth? What is one word worth?

As an American I celebrate my freedom to speak through the democratic process we call voting. As an individual I celebrate the liberty I hold every day as I live my life to its fullest, without hesitation and without restraint. As a writer I celebrate my freedom to write the words I so choose while simultaneously celebrating your freedom to read them.

I wish you all a happy fourth! Enjoy your day. Enjoy your freedom.


Jenni B.

(photos by, Malik ml Williams, Drew Myers, and B Tal on