Friday, May 14, 2010

Follow the Leader

The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.
Proverbs 14:28 (The Message)

This week I had the honor and privilege of attending the Sixth Annual Spelman College Leadership Conference. A distinguished panel of women, such as Angela Burt-Murray of Essence Magazine and Arriana Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, spoke around the theme of 'Building Civil Communities for Change.' While there are far too many take-aways to share, the bottom line for me was that for any change to take place it must first be initiated by someONE. Who is that ONE? That ONE could be me or it could be you depending upon the cause or injustice we loathe. Who that ONE can never be is THEM over there. We cannot continue to sit by and wait for someone else to stand up for the changes we know in our hearts are not just necessary, but mandatory.

This week I learned a list of startling statistics. A few of which I'll share:
  • There has been a 800% increase in hate group memberships since the election of President Obama
  • 70% of Black households are headed by single women
  • 48% of Black children are growing up in homes living well BELOW the poverty line
  • Of the Black women that are married, ONLY 30% physically live in the same home as their spouse
  • 1 in every 2 Black teenage females will become pregnant between the ages of 12 and 17
  • 70% of African American teenage males will not graduate with a high school diploma

Obviously I could go on and on, but I hope the point is clear. While we watch the news, drop our eyes and shake our heads at the headlines and devastating statistics, we continuously stand by and do nothing.

I know that changing the community at large may seem like an overwhelming task, but what about starting with the smallest unit of society: our own families and households. If we all make an effort of personal responsibility for a cause and start on even the smallest level, change can and will truly occur. Atty. Patricia Russell-McCloud, one of the great orators of the conference joked, "If you are leading and look back and noone is following, perhaps you're just on a walk." Today, I challenge you to do whatever you can in your own communities and lead the way until you CAN look back and see someone following the leader!

Until next week . . . .

Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Be Blessed