Ruby Dee has lived an extraordinary life. She’s an actress, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and an activist. She used her high profile to bring about changes in civil rights and racial equality, and was very close friends with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.

Her touching poem “The Somebodiness Of Me” was inspired by her view that we need to make it easier for those who are working tirelessly on the frontlines of change across the world. It’s about how we can help make someone “somebody” because of the belief you showed in them – making them the somebodiness of you. It embodies what it means to be brave and to stand up for what you believe in. She’s still strongly spreading this message, as she was 84 when this was filmed while speaking to a group of young adults at a New York school with Alicia Keys in 2009.

Here’s an excerpt from her poem (however watch the two-minute video to hear it all):

“When you laugh, you make my lips a part of laughter
When you cry, tension pulls me from inside
When you are hungry, my food turns to poison, makes me burst
Bony fingers clutch my tongue when I know your thirst
Because you are part of – because you – share the
somebodiness of me.”

It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives, but this poem serves as a touching reminder that we are all connected and that we can (and do) make a difference to those around us.

If you actively try to make a difference in your community, we’d love to hear about the amazing work you’re doing, and the impact you’ve witnessed (no matter how big or small).