Rise up now

There is new work to do and this is our time: a meditation for Mother Earth and the Tribe of the Human Beings by Steven Charleston (Choctaw).
Standing Rock camp, December 2016. Photo by Juliette Suarez/FOR.

Rise up now, you people of faith. You believers in Spirit, you activists of vision, rise up, for there is new work to do.

Rise up, even if you feel tired. Even if you feel weary, rise up, for a fresh strength will be given to you once you stand your ground. Then your arms will grow strong again and your eyes will be as bright as fire.

Rise up, for you know the cost of what is to come. You have seen it before, the land laid waste by greed, the waters foul, the people in need with no help to come. Rise up, for this is a story known to you, etched into your heart by what you, yourself, have seen.

Rise up, for the power arrayed against us has grown. You can hear it grow, made confident by its own privilege, lifted high on the shoulders of fear, it stands before us as it has stood so many times before.

Rise up for those who cannot rise for themselves. Not yet, so broken are they by design, so divided by intention, scattered and uncertain, rise up so they may see you, see you and take heart.

Rise up and face the wind. Rise up and feel the change that is coming, that must come and will come, when the great hand of justice turns the arc of our history and the shout of hope echoes from around the world.

Rise up and speak your truth. Every voice will be heard, every life will be valued, every dream given its chance, for once the people begin to rise even the Earth will hold her breath to witness so great a redemption for her children.

Rise up now, you activists and you poets, you newcomers and old hands, you family of many colors, rise up and proclaim that the dawn is coming, and not for us alone, but for all life.

Rise up, for this is your time. This is your moment. This is why you were made, made for this challenge, made for this witness.

Rise up. Rise up and be part of what is about to happen, for what you can give no one else can give and what you can do only you can do.

Bishop Steven Charleston

Rise up next to me. Next to the thousands who stand with us. Next to our Ancestors. Next to the spirits. Rise up for Mother Earth, for the Tribe of the Human Beings, for a new beginning to our ancient story.

Rise up now. Rise up. And never stand down. Not until the work is done and the singing begins.

This story was produced by Fellowship of Reconciliation


As an interfaith organization, FOR-USA's mission is to organize, train, and grow a diverse movement that welcomes all people of conscience to end structures of violence and war, and create peace through the transformative power of nonviolence.

Waging Nonviolence partners with other organizations and publishes their work.