Awards, Recognition Certificates of Achievement, Galas. These measuring tools often serve as the barometer when our life’s purpose is reaching it’s tipping point. The validation that comes with being consistent, keeping your word or seeking to have an impact on the world around you can be quite a euphoric feeling. Most people seek out ways to be noticed or be observed making their form of a “difference” and with the ubiquity of social media everyone is sharing, posting and re-tweeting good deeds.
This was my place of awareness as I sought to intentionally do just the opposite; have an impact on my community not for the lights, likes or slaps on the back but for the ability to see the lights of the eyes in our youth shine brighter. I shared with my apprentice Kali Johnson at the beginning of this journey that our efforts will not be measured by Facebook likes, the amount of news articles or even television interviews that can be done; but how many lives can genuinely be touched through our activities. He responded he was fully committed and so we embarked on this mission to empower our youth through social media responsibility, media literacy & personal empowerment. This continues to be our driving ethos 1 year later. We devote our creative energy to quickening and engaging our young; who often times are mis-diagnosed with PTSD due to their living conditions. We often witness children who want to be understood & taught instead of branded as troublemakers and gangbangers.
I have found that the validation and recognition others seek come’s to me on a daily basis through the eyes of the youth I work with in Pocket Town, Englewood and Roseland. Please do not misunderstand me diligence, hard-work and consistent effort deserve to be recognized; however this will occur when the purpose is clear and the mission is truly noble. I can speak on this fact because The Cycle of Peace (our organization) was recognized as a 2014 Chicago Community Spirit Award recipient for our accomplishment’s with I.M.A.N. in developing a social media education program. The moral of this narrative is to stay focused on your core purpose and witness the results of actions led by a true sense of integrity.