As February comes to a close, in most instances, so does the recognition of our accomplishments in this Country. Therefore, I believe it’s appropriate that I speak from a place of truth, freedom, self-love, and freedom. Living as an African American Man in this Country is to constantly live in a state of duality. Simply put, in my community, I’m viewed as a Man; a vital contributor and supporter of my environment. However, in some aspects, as a professional, I am viewed as an affirmative action data point that truly doesn’t deserve to be where I am. Therefore, it’s not only easy, but expected to view my work, contributions, and ideas as questionable or not applicable. Beneath my smile, there is pain. Beneath my degrees, there is struggle. Beneath my accomplishments, there is extraordinary trauma. I sometimes find myself angry because our truths are rarely spoken with fidelity, courage, and passion. Truth is the key ingredient in a recipe called change. These are my truths. Like an oncologist making a diagnosis, I will say that America is suffering from Stage 4 Cultural Cancer. Why? It has fed on lies for so long that it’s very mind has developed an aversion to truth. This has NEVER been the land of the free for me. How? I have witnessed innocent people who were too poor to afford “quality” legal counsel go to jail for crimes they have never committed. Inversely, I have seen obviously guilty men go home to have dinner with their families after immediately committing crimes. Only in America does Dylan Roof get to go to Burger King while Trayvon Martin goes to the morgue. Dylan killed innocent people in church. Trayvon was guilty of buying Skittles. America has no idea how difficult it is to escape the traps designed to keep us in and defy the odds. Let me be clear, the playing field has NEVER been leveled in order for us to succeed. Since 1619, we have succeeded because of our innate desire and commitment to never quit or give in. We have to do twice as well to get half as much. We call silence professional. We call being overlooked playing the game. We call the injustices committed against us and our communities life. No, that is wrong. Am I expected to hate myself in order for others to love me? If so, that is something I am simply unwilling to do. I was born in the inner city, but I promise you, I have never been “hood.” No, I have been determined to take all of the beautiful and valuable lessons taught to me by people who didn’t have the same opportunities as me and apply them to every aspect of my life. I stand tall for those who were told to keep their heads down. I speak boldly for those who had no voice. I dream for those who only lived nightmares. I fight for those who were chained for desiring to be free. I live for those who died for me. I am an African American Man who is very proud of my community, accomplishments, History, beliefs, and ideas. I have never, nor will I ever, cease to be who I am in order for anyone to feel that the ground beneath their feet is still flat. As I raise my hands to the sky, I know that my ancestors see, hear, and bless me. In the end, that’s all that I really need. So, keep your tolerance. Kings and Queens aren’t tolerated, they are revered and respected…Patrick
As always, this week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no other reason than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always Choose Love Because Love Changes Everything..