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In Honor of Obama Inauguration, Spoken Word Artist Conjures Power of ‘Change’

January 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM EST
The coming inaugural inspired spoken word artist and student Leah Green to pen a poem called "Change," about civil rights, equality and American democracy.
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JEFFREY BROWN: And finally tonight: a closing reflection on the inauguration.

The coming ceremony inspired spoken word artist Leah Green of Oakland, Calif., to write and perform her work called “Change.”

Our video is part of the NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs project, which builds high school video journalism programs. It was produced by Media Enterprise Alliance, one of our partner sites in California.

LEAH GREEN, Youth UpRising, Oakland, Calif.: Mmm, mmm, a change is going to come.

Two scores and 10 years ago, our nation fell to segregation, swept like dirt that it even hurt to look the wrong way, simply gating down a one-way street, trying to defeat the chaos by the tip of your teeth.

Yes, economic injustice presents itself and days of peace have been lost to ignorance, racism and guilt.

But America has been built as the dream, attracting different cultures to the scene for that beam of recognition as a theme for wealth reaching out from the pits of the ghetto.

Children attending school to be a lawyer some day, only to find out that they’re being suppressed by the cost of a higher education that rules our nation. I’m screaming for a change, finally.

America needed a healthy heart for this drastic transplant to patch up the bumps and bruises and neglect and cruises of infinite failure, because down on my block, it’s easier to bite into a bullet than a burger, because ammunition runs stray by your heads and pray, my brother and my sister.

Waiting like a wave in the water, the people vote to receive results coat to shield her pain. Like Martin Luther King, I still have a dream that this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed and feed the people a new breed of change.

Mmm, mmm. A change is going to come. Mmm, mmm, a change is going to come.

JEFFREY BROWN: You can view more work from our student contributors. The NewsHour’s college reporting team has been covering inaugural events in Washington all weekend long. Find their stories, photos, and videos on our Web site or InaugBlog.com.