The Fuel that Elevates Us
an, I messed up and watched that video in Georgia and I’ve literally been crying for three days.
Right now, I’m shivering, traumatized.
I watch my back everywhere I go.
I am hurt.
I am confused.
I am uncomfortable.
Because of Corona, I am by myself.
This is the voicemail I woke up to today, from a good friend of mine. He was talking about the video of 25-year old Ahmaud Arbery who was brutally shot while jogging on a quiet road in Glynn County, Georgia.
He and I met in Los Angeles, before the Alton Sterling shooting. As Black people, that is how we mark time, before and after death.
Our paths crossed over green juice at a farmer’s market. He was handling the social media for an acclaimed television show and several superstar clients. I was working with Smokey Robinson and managing a $50 million dollar portfolio of music associated with Motown, my family legacy.
On the surface, he and I seem quite different.
I grew up in the cushy suburbs of Westport, CT, the lap of luxury and safety followed by college and law school.
He grew up in Louisiana, not so serene, and eventually found himself in lock down in the Miami-Dade County Jail, notorious, then and now, for its outrageous conditions.
Our heritage, however, binds us.
His people come from Louisiana, where Black men, American veterans of the Civil War, holding white flags, were gunned down as they claimed their right to vote in 1873.
My people hail from Detroit, the epicenter of the bloodiest race riot of 1967, the year I was born.
By nature, we are survivors.
My friend and I have lived different paths, but our journeys are aligned. We are both advocates for mankind, having devoted our lives to making the world a better place.
He is a speaker and influencer working to upend the Jim Crow based rules of our correctional facilities and the men and women who are and have served time.
I am a social entrepreneur and filmmaker, founder of 90 Minutes of Solutions, intent on supporting and developing solutions for social change, and creator of the upcoming feature film Chicago 1919.
Today, are main concern is not that we will die from a global pandemic.
As we venture out, our faces covered with masks to protect ourselves and others from a deadly virus, we worry that those same people, our fellow citizens and police officers, will gun us down like dogs.
We are uncomfortable.
We are confused.
We are hurt that our country, the one we have sacrificed and committed our resources to, is letting us down again.
Yet, we remain steadfast in our belief that we can and will make a difference.
Together, we hold onto the hope that we will carry on.
Our desire for a better world is the fuel that elevates us from surviving to thriving.