Invite students to take a closer look at Gorman’s masterful use of language in the middle section of the poem in order to deepen their understanding of her call to action. Start by rereading the following section or replaying the video (starting at 03:40). You can also invite volunteers to read it out loud, perhaps alternating each line.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
In pairs or small groups, depending on what’s possible given social distancing, have students discuss the questions below. Then have groups share their ideas in a class discussion, focusing on the call to action in the final question.