I am a Connector. I have been doing more and more “connecting” over the past several years in all parts of my life including both personal and business…and interestingly over […]
I am a Connector. I have been doing more and more “connecting” over the past several years in all parts of my life including both personal and business…and interestingly over the past couple of days it has surrounded me consistently in all parts of my life. As a team member of EYEJ, I am very much about empowering our youth and bridging worlds together. I feel as if the world is getting smaller perhaps due to technology, and people are what make the world go around. Different cultures, learning’s and experiences are really what makes the world beautiful. In my opinion, together is where we can really make true positive change. Your youth discussing, hearing and learning from diverse individuals will help them critically think to form their own solutions for change, thought and action.
Now through this path of creating EYEJ, don’t get me wrong, being a bridge and/or a connector is not always, or rather, rarely glamourous. Being a bridge is an amazing experience to watch new ideas, expressions and thoughts formulate, and children’s eye’s enlarge with lightbulbs going off. However it can be exhausting at times and focus is key. To help your youth, you could be criticized (“there are always going to be people in poverty, why are you helping black youth, it’s not your place, you are crazy, you are displaying negative sides of our youth” etc. etc.)…I could go on and on. But so what? As Robert Heard – Vice Chair, Board of Education, Cleveland Metropolitan School District says…”Do not focus on the personalities, focus on the goal”. So, what are you waiting for? What are you scared of? Don’t you feel obligated to help your youth? How can you sit there and be ok with how things are (influx of children murders, violence, need for jobs etc.) in a spectacular city like Cleveland? I promise you, these issues we have here in Cleveland are not one dimensional. You can’t box and put the blame on one person, race or socio-economic class. How can YOU let the segregation, the marginalization of people and the student to prison pipeline continue?
The Aspen Institute have been in town yesterday and today, they are modeling the social/emotional learning done in Cleveland Metropolitan School District as they plan to implement it into school districts and communities across the United States, as part of a 2 year plan. We are on the “forefront of cultural change in how schools are run” per Senator Peggy Lehner. So we better to step up to the plate folks.
I recently saw the movie; The Promise. One of the main characters, an American Associated Press reporter; Chris Meyers was criticized for helping the Armenians by Armenians – but if Chris didn’t do what he did in terms of reporting, the world may have never known what was happening at that point in time with the Armenian Genocide, plus he saved over 4,000 people. Chris was “a brash speak-truth-to-power journalist firing out powerfully worded dispatches, he’s pivotal in bringing attention to the atrocities against the Armenians.” Are we living in 1915? 1960’s? No, but sure seems like it sometimes.
As my Sr. Minister; Rev. Dr. Shawnthea Monroe says Evanglism is spreading the word to tell the good news…youth are our good news! No matter their “color” or socio-economic level, every child deserves support, to be loved and to have their voices heard. To create new ideas, new opportunities, access to thoughts, experiences, diverse people is what EYEJ is about.
What’s amazing about EYEJ is the people….the board…the team….the volunteers (over 350 Clevelanders!)…they believe in your youth, and supporting them as they are our future. Everyone should have equal opportunity, especially with education, but they aren’t and it’s embarrassing to say that’s happening here in Cleveland, which is full of growth, new ideas, intelligent people and opportunities. And while I appreciate from the bottom of my heart everyone that is part of EYEJ, the goal is the focus and aligned across the board.
EYEJ serves all youth by supporting to amplify their voices. Please, help to empower your youth. Let’s bridge these worlds together.
Founder & Executive Director of EYEJ