Walking into Manual’s auditorium for the Black History Month program, I got a feeling that I had never felt during a production or event at school. I followed a group of friends towards the seats in the front of the room and sat directly in front of the stage, ready to enjoy the show.
There had been a lot of talk going around about the performances and guest speakers at the program. It was exciting to see my fellow seniors singing, dancing, and showing off their talents to the whole school and the others that attended. I knew a few of my classmates would be performing and knew they had been waiting since their freshman year to showcase their talents in the annual show.
The Black History Month Program opened with the National Anthem, sung by senior, Jay Redmond. His singing brought about a standing ovation from the audience. Next on the stage was senior, Carson Helton, singing “Lift Every Voice”. His performance also resulted in a standing ovation from the audience and I could tell by the look on everyone’s face that they were ready for an hour of talent like they had just witnessed.
Now, usually I’m not one to write and brag about the talent at Manual. I mean, we are all talented in some way, right? That’s why we tried so hard to be accepted into this school. The programs that are usually held here are always the same, filled with different talent from students in different magnets, but the Black History Month Program was different.
It sent something like a shockwave through my body and inspired me in some way. Maybe it was the motivational Rev. Henderson, who recited the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech, or maybe it was the powerful dance performed by senior, Alex Clayton. There was a different feeling about the show and the people in it. These people were showing their talents and performing for a certain reason. Whatever this specific reason was, it meant a lot to them. I could see the pain in their eyes and the happiness in their smiles as they looked out into the crowd at the end of their performances.
I don’t think there is anything better than the feeling of being free, the feeling of happiness in the heart and the feeling of having no burdens on your shoulders. To be able to walk outside and know that the world is just as much yours, as it is everyone else’s. Freedom is such a wonderful thing that we can all share and I could see it on the performer’s faces, faces that were saying “Thank you” to one another for fighting, fighting with words, lyrics, and dance moves. These are things that can make more of a difference in the world than anything else.
Walking out of the auditorium and back to class, I felt refreshed, like I had learned something new that day and I had. I learned that the fight for freedom never ends, but it is the people like the performers in the program that make it possible for us to continue fighting everyday.