Regardless of your background or experiences, life can be hard to navigate. When you hail from a tough environment, life can be more difficult. It’s normal to pick up baggage from pain and obstacles. This is true not just for people, but for our region as a whole. We have baggage and scars from the tough times of the past.
The great athlete Michael Jordan said, “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” The grief, obstacles, triumphs, and defeats, both personal and regional, are all a part of our journey that propels us forward, propels us to keep dreaming.
My dream is that all children in this region regardless of their environment, race or parents’ economics have a shot at success. I know that to achieve this dream, to change the trajectory of our region, requires that I and other leaders in the community reconcile our personal and community baggage. We all have it, and we have to figure out a way through it or around it to the other side.
Below is a poem I wrote about my personal journey with grief, belief, and dreams.
As I transcend those days of the past
And try to make some sense of it all
I covertly construct territorial bounds
And create distance with obscure walls
Each emotion I feel is distinguished in this sense
It’s reflective of my childhood and all the love that I missed
A mother’s love for her child
And a father’s love for his son
Is the ultimate in adoration
But I experienced neither one
As we all know a flower without water is surely destined to die
It’s easy to see why a child without love would feel the need to cry
In an effort to strike harmony and balance within my life
I suppress the mental residue of dysfunctional family ties
I take journeys of great distance
As individual as it may seem
Physically I am at a standstill but only I control my dreams