Institutions—governmental, religious, financial, even revolution itself—have a way of turning stale and sour. “Thank God for the history of the heretics and the blasphemers. That’s my crowd,” says Dr. Cornell West. Quoting from some of history and literature’s greatest thinkers and doers, West presents a poetic lecture on the role of hope in America’s past and its future, and how to make your voice matter. This video was filmed at the Los Angeles Hope Festival, a collaboration between Big Think and Hope & Optimism, a three-year initiative which supported interdisciplinary academic research into significant questions that remain under-explored. For more from Dr. Cornell West, head to http://www.cornelwest.com.