What do these words mean? We are slaves because yesterday our people were in slavery and memory makes yesterday real for us. We are slaves because today there are still people in chains around the world and no one can be truly free while others are in chains. We are slaves because freedom means more than broken chains. Where there is poverty and hunger and homelessness, there is no freedom; where there is prejudice and bigotry and discrimination, there is no freedom; where there is violence and torture and war, there is no freedom. And where each of us is less than he or she might be, we are not free, not yet. And who, this year, can be deaf to the continuing oppression of the downtrodden, who can be blind to the burdens and the rigors that are now to be added to the most vulnerable in our midst? If these things be so, who among us can say that he or she is free?
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