I’d Rather Die On My Feet Than Live On My Knees

Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas

This quote, made famous by Emiliano Zapato the leader of the Mexican Revolution, has always been a favorite quote of mine.  Anyone who knows me knows that I live life on my own terms, no matter what.  No matter how.

I write the way I wanna write. I don’t feel like I have to be a show off and have excellent grammar or diction.

Heck, half the time, I don’t have time to edit, but I want to stick to my word of “a post a day.” So I “press” on.

When it comes to standing up for what I believe is right, I am always there.  Even if it means losing my job, losing friends, losing my home, or losing anything material.  In the end, none of these things can replace my soul.

I have to look at myself in the mirror everyday. I have to live with myself.  No one else.  And I, for one, cannot live with myself if I have allowed injustice to go unchecked.  If I have allowed people to be mistreated and haven’t stood up.  If I haven’t helped my fellow man.

I simply cannot live on my knees.

Yes, most revolutionaries usually do end up dead from an untimely death.  I don’t fancy myself to be that influential to be in that category, but I can stand up in my own little way in my own little life.  And I hope that my life and my strength brings inspiration to others who are fighting injustice as well.

This is for all my warriors out there.  Stand proud and stand tall.

And never, ever live on your knees

“If We Must Die”

Claude McKay (1919)

If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one death blow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Source: Claude McKay, “If We Must Die,” in Harlem Shadows: The Poems of Claude McKay (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1922).

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About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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