Time to wake up from the Dream and Execute the Mission

Time to wake up from the Dream and Execute the Mission

The “I Have a Dream Speech” was arguably one of the top five speeches ever spoken.  I love performing and experiencing it each time I do it. It just fills my heart and soul as it does for everyone else. No doubt, it has served its purpose for over 50 years.

However, just like the constitution is a living document that can be added to over time with amendments, I believe “I Have a Dream” can and should evolve too. That’s why I wrote “We Have a Mission”. It is an amendment, a direct descendant of “I Have a Dream”. It is targeted at what is needed in 2016 and beyond.

A “Dream” connotes vision and hope, something we desperately needed in 1963. Likewise, a Mission connotes vision and hope too. But, it also adds specificity, goals and requires action on the part of everyone who takes up the mission. I for one feel our community is in desperate need of specific, unifying, short term goals that will enable us to “get unstuck” so to speak.

The last 20-30 years we have just been lingering, resting on the work that MLK and past civil rights leaders did. We haven’t created one unifying goal, with the exception of electing President Obama twice, that we can speak to universally. We have taken up individualism as an art form, when we still know deep down that we are seen and treated in most cases as a group. Sometimes, I think we are the only people who don’t see ourselves as a group. See that we rise and fall together, in most cases.

This is America and individualism is fine and the American way. However, we must realize that our success individually can be multiplied significantly is we used our collective power more effectively.

That is where collective goal setting and action becomes important and essential for our community.

In “Steps to the Promised Land” I listed 4 goals to have a mission for:

  • Stop the school to prison pipeline; reduce jail and prison time
  • Make education the number 1 priority,
  • Reduce violence and murders by 75%
  • Make families whole again

These are not all encompassing, but they are a start. Our first emphasis would be to communicate and agree on these goals as a community. They would/should be the overriding focus that drives us individually and as a community. They should all be measurable. The success of each should be communicated regularly to the group.

It should almost be like the pledge of allegiance. They should be reviewed at our churches, community centers, sports leagues, etc. Every child should know them. Every teenager should know them. Every young adult should know them. We should celebrate our success toward reaching our goals regularly.

The hard part, which shouldn’t be, is agreeing on what are the goals. Those four or a variation of them would be a starting point. I would add one more on economic empowerment, or say, business creation.

Once our goals are set we then establish what I call “gates” or “passage points”. They are measurement points that you don’t pass unless you are on target. If not on target, we establish corrective actions to enact.

The Power of Goals is:

  • Everyone can participate
  • Everyone can take responsibility
  • Everyone can serve the community and themselves
  • We see improvement regularly
  • Success breeds more success
  • It becomes “down” for people to work for something

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A New Approach to an Old Problem- Racism

There is a lot of hatred in this world. I’m reading all the social media comments as it relates to Donald Trump’s political campaign and it is filled with venom and hatred. By preaching sheer hatred like this, you are only adding fuel to the fires that burn in a world already filled with hatred and violence.

Most of us are waiting for the world to come together in peace. I personally thought we (U.S.A) were moving closer in that direction when Barack Obama was elected president for two terms. We may never reach that and it may seem like a farfetched dream, but together we must find the means. We must create a safe and secure environment for our children and our children’s children.

Racism is a difficult subject to tackle and in order to form a culture free of such racism, we must begin with education. If you don’t want your children to grow up in a word of hatred, teach them tolerance toward race, religion, color, and sexual orientation. We must expose racism and bigotry for what they are.

It is important to understand what racism is. Wikipedia describes racism as “Historically, it has been defined as the belief that race is the primary determinant of human capacities that a certain race is inherently superior or inferior to others, and/or that individuals should be treated differently according to their racial designation. Sometimes racism means beliefs, practices, and institutions that discriminate against people based on their perceived or ascribed race.”

Racism is based on ignorance, stereotyping and learned hatred. Many people accept that we live in a diverse society today and we appreciate different cultures. However, there are still large segments of society that won’t accept human capacities are not determined by race.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to find a healthy solution to end racism. It is important to understand the nature of racism and intolerance. Together we can end prejudice. Our fight against racism cannot be won while there are attitudes like the one displayed by Trump and his supporters. Such behavior is unacceptable.

Racism is not an issue that will be easily resolved, and the sooner that we begin to work together the sooner we’ll come to a solution. There is a history of racism that cannot be undone but we can look to the future and make positive changes in how society views those of different ethnic backgrounds.