Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hoodie Nation

I asked my wife, Cherese Jackson if she would lend her writting skills to the subject of Treyvon Martin and the racial tension present in our country right now. She agreed, and I hope her article hits home for many.
I oscillated back and forth on whether or not to touch the “Hoodie Nation topic. However my husband went to the barber shop to get his usual edge up. As he entered it was as if he walked into the morgue. As he sat in the chair the barber leaned over and asked how he was holding up during this difficult time. My husband had no idea what he was referencing and asked for clarity. Well, he then said, “I mean how are you holding up with this Treyvon situation”? Then he went on to talk about how he took his son to the store and bought him a hoodie in every color.
I knew then that I would embark upon this emotionally crazed topic. We are usually quite closed-minded about the value of perspectives that run counter to our own but before you close your mind to a view point that may challenge your current thought process at least read on and see if you realize some element of validity to the points presented. Truth is the catalyst of change. Without it we simply relegated to a resolution of what we wish may happen!
It appears we’ve made this more about hoodies than the real issue – which would be the gun laws. I’ve watched the posts that have flooded Facebook along with the millions of tweets that have graced my twitter account.
There has been rally after rally and march after march where people have put on their hoodies in support of the late Treyvon Martin. While this all seems admirable, as it relates to the bigger or real issue it actually minute.
Wearing a hoodie WILL NOT change anything but packing out City Hall on weekends or when town meetings are being held in your communities while they are in session passing the laws that will lead to more tragedies will have a much greater impact.
While we’ve invested time, resources and energy on hoodies, skittles and ice tea the gun laws still remain the same. The issue isn’t either of those three items; the issue is that this young man was shot and killed at close range and the person that pulled the trigger has yet to be charged. Let’s keep the main thing the “main” thing!
If I’m walking down the street and see someone with a hoodie on at night I’m nervous too. It’s a shame that people refuse to be honest concerning this issue. Instead we’re taking pictures in hoodies and posting them on FaceBook and asking if they look intimidating and the answer for most of the ones I’ve seen is YES, you do! That doesn’t mean you deserve to get killed as a result.
The reality concerning Mr. Zimmerman’s actions are:
• He should never have gotten out of his car
• He should never have followed him
• He should never have had his fire arm with him as he followed the young man
• He should have let the Police do the job they are paid to do after informing them of his suspicion
For some reason they felt the need to project an image of a ‘Disney Kid’ to somehow proclaim an innocent kid. He apparently wasn’t this “perfect” little boy and had some behavioral issues and questionable character concerns. However, none of these mattered the day he was killed. But America got emotional and bought into the young child image that was displayed on our televisions and computers and got offended when current pictures surfaced.
The real issue in Florida are the loose gun laws; the unopposed passing of laws that affect certain communities. On the front end, we need to learn to protest instead of all the rallies afterwards. If we don’t handle the front end properly we’ll continue to have temporary “moments” during crisis times instead of a real movement.
Whatever happened to the Jena #6 moment, the Sean Bell moment or the Troy Davis moment? They have faded for the majority of people because they were moments – emotional moments – but not actual movements.
Now what? In the weeks and months ahead what happens? What will we do after we rallied in our hoodies … Will we return to normalcy and await the next injustice or will we exert greater effort to be involved when decisions that affect our lives, and the lives of those near and dear to our circumstance and culture, are being made?
We put too much emphasis on thinking by itself. We have an estimated 40,000 thoughts a day and 96% of them are the same thoughts from yesterday! We have become bundles of conditioned reflexes. Most people are simply prisoners of ‘cultural hypnosis’. This is the cell our family, friends and enviornment have confined us to.
The refusal to develop strategies lays the foundation for a hope based life and creates an incubator for excuses. We have had the conversations, now it is time for all of America to join forces in creating solutions that will make for a better country for us all.
See you at the TOP!
Cherese Jackson
Executive Director

It’s Okay To Ask “Why?”

It’s Okay To Ask “Why?”

Monday, April 2, 2012

It’s O.K. To Ask…Why?

Let’s get real for a second! Life, family and balancing a career can get hectic at times. If we were to gauge from the images and fronts everyone has up, we would think something was wrong with us. After all, no one else seems to be complaining about the relational and economic woes we are experiencing. The fact gas prices have breached four le most dollars in several areas and we’re facing one of the toughest recessions to date, and no relief is in sight. All the while most parade around struggling to keep up a front that isn’t even realistic. We live in a society where questioning the status quo is frowned upon. Just keep smiling and stay in line. This way, no one is called on the celebration of ‘average’ instead of push for excellence.

I want to share with you that it is perfectly normal to get to a point where you want to question when is your time going to come? Often it is the absence of these sobering questions that allow us to remain in a state of comfort an ease. When we expect more of ourselves, our families will rise, our businesses will grow and we will see a society meet the challenge as well. That why staying in your current ‘funk’ without pushing the boundaries, effects more than just you. It creates an acceptance in our culture.

But why do people draw back from demanding more of them?  Here are some basic reasons:

(1) People prefer their made up fantasy land instead of dealing with the real issues: We all have defensive mechanisms we employ to get us through tough times. It is said, we all have our little “ways” that we rely on. When you are ready for a real breakthrough you give up these fantasies to embrace the reality of your life. It is only by doing this can you see a change.

(2) Some worry that doing more will cause others to expect more of them: I know people who worry if they begin to progress, some would no longer treat them with partiality. Exactly! That’s the point. When you can do better, do it. Don’t stay in a rehabilitation state just to get the sympathy of others.

(3) Without seeing an example, some worry they are not able to succeed: Can you imagine getting a huge box filled with furniture that needs assembly, but you don’t have the instructions to do it. How hard would it be to figure out the pieces in the right order? If we can’t connect with those who have done what we seek, it is nearly impossible to achieve our desires.

I believe that failure is a learned behavior. We are born with the DNA to conquer all in our paths. It is when we hear ‘No’ enough, or told to stay restrained enough or commanded to color within the lines and follow all the rules that we learn to live a marginal life of normality. The ones who dare push the envelope and begin to soar are labeled crazy or dreamers. We are told to steer clear of them for fear we would be infected with their zeal.

I wonder what would happen if we all began to embrace the very feelings we were taught to fear. How awesome would we be if we just dreamed and acted on it? Life would be a grand adventure and jealousy would drop to zero. Because each one of us would be so busy experiencing life we would never have time to ‘hate’ on anyone.

This wonderful life is waiting for anyone of us willing to start the journey with a question. Everything has to be questioned if we are to innovate for the future. All the incredible inventions that we use hundreds of times a day were born to those who asked ‘Why’? The pursuit of something new helps evolve the world around us.

See you at the TOP!

Early Jackson