Russell Goings


My Brotherís Keepers

Today, October 16, 1995,
Around the mall in Washington D.C
One million Black Brothers
Rise to stand as one to
Pay homage to the
Twenty-one fighters who died at
Harperís Ferry fighting as one for our

On that day, October 16,1859,
Our BROTHERS died:

To write history,
To change perceptions,
To change attitudes,
To strengthen our relationships,
To acknowledge each other,
To establish new territory Ė our territory;
To memorialize: Authentic power comes from
A fully developed sense of our collective


Brothers died knowing power
United with collective memory,
Wisdom, and intelligence,
Advances our march, our humanity,
Our family, our unity, our spirituality
With our religiosity that sings in one
Clear voice:

We are family

Today, Brothers continue to
Enrich: We, We are
One family, one million
United Black men. We know
Our salvation,
Our power, our future
Is bound, bound forever,

As light is to darkness,
As good is to evil,
As a motherís breast feeds her child,
As a father sings,
As a family is to Love,
As strength is to weakness,
As death is to life,
As God is to Creation.

We are family.

Today, many of us,
Though scattered across the land,
Join together in one spirit
At the same place.

All face the same direction.
All speak the same language.
All dance the same dance.
All examine the same concerns.
All voice the same determination.
All sing the same song:
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Till heaven and earth ring;

We are Godís family!

Today, the bells of our unity and our
Humanity ring across this country,
Celebrating the birth of
Our Collective consciousness,
Our insight, our action,
Our hope, our promise, our faith,
Our declaration:

We are family!

Today I pray:
I know I am, I am
My brotherís keeper;
Nothing will separate me
From him again.
That which creates him,
Creates me.
We come from the same seed.
The love that nurtures him nurtures me.
The hands that rock him, rock me.
The voice that soothes him, soothes me,
The arms that cradle him, cradle me.
His story is my story.
Lord! Lord!

We are family!

This day and every day we remember
Our courageous ancestors
Who took their first steps up the dirt road,
Looking for freedom Ė looking for a better life.

Everyday, we recite
With renewed fervor our
Pledge that we will keep their hope alive.
We will keep progressing
Until all the fruits of
Freedom are ours.

We are family.

Today, we sound the drums
Of our collective growing pride;
We express our aspirations,
We walk with dignity.
We marry and raise a family that
Strives, strives knowing we are a
Family that will never be
Denied itís humanity!

We are family!

Today, we unite in harmony:
Black men, Black women and Black children
To secure what was long set aside:
The Rite of Passage.

For all who dare to travel the road
A price must be paid:
With awareness,
With devotion,
With sacrifice,
With commitment,
With unrestricted love and

We are family.

Today, October 16th, 1995,
We close the distance
Between the meaning
And the spirit
Of the Constitution,
The Declaration of Independence,
The Bill of Rights,
The Civil Rights Act,
The Law,
And the spirit of the Law,
In our relentless quest
For justice, for liberty, for equality,
For freedom.

We are family!

As members of the human family,
Black men everywhere
Stand forever in one spirit.
We hear Our ancestorís
Charge to us:
We are our brotherís keepers.

We are family.

© 2011 Russell Goings
  Russell Goings studied writing at Fairfield University and the 92nd Street Y. He has been writing poetry for sixteen years. He was a pro football player, the first African American brokerage manager for a New York Stock Exchange Member firm; the first owner of an African American firm to manage assets for Fortune 500 companies; the first African American Chairman of the Studio Museum in Harlem; and founder and Chairman for Essence magazine. An inductee into the Wall Street Hall of Fame, Goings has also been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, and Black Enterprise magazine. His book, The Children of Children Keep Coming, was published by Simon and Schuster.