Empowering people to overcome obstacles is the message shared by Eddie Connor, a cancer survivor. He serves the community as a mentor, political advisor, author, speaker, teacher, and TV correspondent on CBS/CW 50.
Eddie received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University and Marygrove College awarded him a Master's degree in Education. Eddie is an author of three books and founder of "Boys 2 Books" which empowers young black/hispanic males via literacy and life skills. He is a recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award and the Black Male Engagement Leadership Award.
Eddie shares his testimony of overcoming cancer in churches, community centers, and colleges by inspiring and motivating people to maximize their purpose.
A resident of Detroit, Eddie also grew up in Kingston, Jamaica. He is a sports enthusiast who enjoys traveling.
What does love mean to you? Iʼm talking about real love. Is it superﬁcial? Is it about
what you can take or what you can give? Iʼm sure we can agree that we need more love
in our world. However, it will never be seen in the world if it isnʼt exempliﬁed in our
As we approach Valentineʼs Day, so many people are caught in a matrix of euphoria
from the aroma of the chocolates, to the delightfully arranged dozen roses, and the
delicious meals consumed at ﬁve-star restaurants. Yet after the chocolates have turned
stale, the roses have wilted, and the left over meal lies dormant in the fridge is there
enough love that goes beyond one day and is reﬂected in your life everyday? When
everything else grows stale and stagnant, only the love you show will remain fresh and
Looking for love in all the wrong places is not worth it, just to ﬁnd a Valentine. You donʼt
have to go searching for love. If you become love and reﬂect the spirit of love, then love
will ﬁnd you. In essence, you will attract who/what you are.
Oftentimes, we get so caught up in giving gifts that we fail to realize we are a gift to
somebody, even if itʼs to ourselves. You are a red box and gold bow...a gift to the world.
Tangible gifts donʼt replace love because love is the greatest gift. You may be alone, but
it doesnʼt mean you have to be lonely. You can never expect anybody to love you, until
you start loving yourself.
Even in a world ﬁlled with hate, love is still preeminent. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
declared, "hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." You canʼt show love with
bitterness, anger, strife, and hatred in your heart. Love and hate cannot occupy the
same space, one will cancel out the other.
When you connect to God, He provides you with love under new management. No more
games, gimmicks, tricks, or schemes. Itʼs His love for you out of the depth of who He is
that empowers you to love yourself, love others, and walk in your unique purpose. His
love for you reconciles you to Him, yourself, and to those around you.
Love has a boomerang effect...the more love you share with others, the more it comes
back to you. Love is more than just a word and it intensiﬁes when we give it mean. Love
is not about what it says, love is about what it does.
Love doesnʼt neglect, it protects. Love is not selﬁsh, itʼs selﬂess.
Remember that true love is about more than ﬁnding a perfect person, true love is about
learning to love an imperfect person perfectly.
True love can drive out hate.
True love can transform death into life. True love can use stumbling blocks as stepping stones. True love can help a hurting hater. True love can be good to somebody who was never good to you. Letʼs be an example of love according to the love letter in I Corinthians 13, which declares, “love is patient, love is kind, love is never jealous, and love is not envious.”
When we understand the power of love and Godʼs love, then we can love ourselves and express love to each other. When youʼre living in love under new management it frees you from your past, causes you to forgive those who hurt you, and gives you peace to move forward knowing that the best is yet to come.
People always talk about embracing change. Letʼs be honest with ourselves and afﬁrm that change hurts. I donʼt know about you but it hurts to eat differently, change your old habits, and do what you donʼt feel like doing. How can you heal, if you wonʼt keep it real? Yes, even the truth hurts, but it will set you free.
They say "old habits die hard." Iʼm convinced that people donʼt like change, because it hurts to break out of your comfort zone and cycle of old habits. Arenʼt you tired of a new year but the same old, same old?
You will remain in a cycle of self-destructive behavior if you donʼt change your mindset and break out of the box. The reason people do wha they do is because of how they think. What youʼre doing and where youʼre going has everything to do with what youʼre thinking.
I wish there was an anesthetic for change, so I wouldnʼt have to feel the peaks and valleys of transformation. Donʼt you just wish you could wake up from the anesthesia and there be no more struggle, temptation, obstacles, or thoughts of negativity? Snap out of wishful thinking, because to make it through this life youʼre going to have to ﬁght to overcome the "inner-me" which is often our greatest enemy.
Since there is nothing to numb the pain of change, youʼre going to feel every stretching point and every bit of discomfort. This is why they call it "growing pains" because it hurts to change and grow. We must get uncomfortable with being comfortable and become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Everyday weʼre in a ﬁght between who we were, who we are, and who we have the potential to become. Donʼt let your past or present become a prison that shackles your future. The past is a prison but your future is freedom!
It takes a changed and charged mindset to break free from negativity. Just like your computer and phone needs to be charged, so too your mind must be charged and connected to a power source. If youʼre plugged into and connected to negativity, you wonʼt have the energy and wisdom to sustain your life. As the days, weeks, months, and years progress your strength and vitality will be depleted. You will eventually become a product of who and what youʼre connected to. Disconnect yourself from bad relationships, fear, gossip, depression, drama, and negative thinking. Plug into the SOURCE of power, love, strength, peace, joy, hope, and youʼll have all of the RESOURCES that you need to succeed in life.
Yes, "OLD habits die hard" but NEW habits can spring life into your spirit, invigorating you with hope and determination. Want things to change? Change! You canʼt become all that you can be, by remaining all that you have been. Change will never happen TO you, if it ﬁrst doesnʼt happen IN you. This is your time to step into the best and blessed days of your life!
The meaning and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life is simple, whatever obstacle you’re facing, you can overcome it. The life of Dr. King reminds us that the greatest leaders are the greatest servants. Let us reflect upon the commitment of Dr. King to the advancement of humanity, in the midst of challenging times. As we look through the lens of life, we are truly living in challenging times. More than ever before, we must be analytical and critical thinkers. We must think critically in the chaotic times that we live in.
There are a myriad of pressing issues pervading our world today: the economy, health care, poverty, gun control, and violence to name a few. Yet education remains preeminent because as our education system goes, so goes our nation.
The question that we must ask ourselves is “what can I do to make the world a better place?” Not just presently but for future generations. There indeed is a great work for all of us to do. We must labor in order to reap a plentiful reward. There are no shortcuts in life, if you take shortcuts you will get cut short. We must understand that there is power in our productivity!
The Greek philosopher Aristotle declared, “we are what we repeatedly do.” What are you doing on a daily basis to repeatedly be successful? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Your relationships and friendships have a direct
impact on your future. I can tell the outcome of your future based on your present friendships. What words are you saying? Are you speaking negativity to yourself and others? You can create or destroy your future by the words that you use. Speak life and begin to empower yourself and others.
It is said that in Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s early life, he would spend hours reading books. While growing up in Atlanta, Georgia he literally drove adults crazy because of his curiosity that always evoked questions. Even as a young boy, he worried about people who didn’t have enough to eat. King was an extraordinarily intelligent individual who graduated high school at the age of fifteen.
Even at a young age, Martin had a strong sense of destiny. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College at the age of nineteen. He went on to earn a Theology degree from Crozer Theological Seminary and spent time in the state of Massachusetts attending Boston University, earning his Doctorate
degree in Systematic Theology. It is evident that the life of Dr. King was accelerated beyond his peers and young years, because little did he know that he only had 39 years of life to change a generation.
None of us know how much time we have. It’s imperative that we live each day on purpose, with purpose, and for a purpose. Just like Dr. King, you are on a crash course with destiny. It’s time to unearth and dig up the greatness that’s on the inside of you. You are special, you are significant, you are gifted and valuable. You are a red box and gold bow, because you are a gift to the world. Everyone of us is gifted, but the tragedy is that some people never open their package.
The best of you and me resides in the power of our psychology, the power of our mentality, spirituality, and the enormity of our destiny. We must expand the parameters of our minds and think BIG. If your vision, if your idea, if your dream is affordable, then you’re not dreaming BIG enough.
Why try to fit in, when you were born to stand out? It’s time to embrace your uniqueness. You’re too extraordinary to be ordinary, so manifest your destiny. This is your day to pursue your purpose, overcome obstacles, and become a preeminent voice for your generation.
We must bridge our differences and embrace the power of our diversity to learn from one another, grow together, and overcome every adversity. We must see strength in diversity, rather than weakness and adversity in diversity. Our diversity should unite us, not divide us.
Our communities are at an intersection and it’s either education or incarceration. Maybe not physically, but it can be a psychological imprisonment. We must empower our youth to recognize and realize that prison is not a rights of passage. Our youth don’t have to serve 4 years in a prison house, but they can graduate in 4 years from Morehouse...not prison but Princeton.
We have become so connected and interconnected today in our wired and wireless world, that we have adopted an “all about me” mentality. The names of technology devices reflect our selfish mindset, to where it seems as if everybody has an Ipod, Ipad, or Iphone in addition to a FACEbook and YOUTube. We have more but we do less with it.
Dr. King never had an email address, cell phone, Twitter account or access to other technological amenities, yet he still mobilized a movement with his mind. What resources will you use to uplift the masses? Don’t tell me that you don’t have the power to empower yourself. You have power in your mind and hands, how will you use it? You are your greatest resource. Everything you need is inside of you because there’s a King inside of you.
For to whom much is given, much is required. You have been given much and much more is required of you to enhance our world.
Whether Black, White, Asian, Hispanic or any other ethnicity, regardless of background, we are American and the last four letters in the word American is “I- Can.” You can move forward. You can achieve success. You can uplift the lives of others. You can think outside of the box. They will put you in a box when you're dead, so while you’re alive you might as well think outside of the box.
This is the year and this is the time to expand the parameters of your mind. Begin to think outside of the box and approach every obstacle with dogmatic determination, as a stimulus to reach the apex of opportunity.
It’s argued that no one did that more in the last 50 years than Dr. King. He was one who believed in justice and freedom for all. He also believed in establishing the beloved community, where love and peace are the governing norms and guiding principles of society.
Regardless of anyone’s race, Dr. King stood for truth, justice, liberation, and freedom as the governing norms of society. He always talked about non-violence and expressing love in spite of hate. You can’t talk about Dr. King without emphasizing non-violence, you can’t talk about King without emphasizing the beloved community, and you can’t talk about him without talking about the dream that he had. It was more than just a dream because he was not just a utopian dreamer, but he was a dreamer who believed in the relevance and reality of equality. He was one who challenged America. He challenged the governmental construct and the conscience of society.
Dr. King became the moral conscience of America. He challenged our nation and even the world in a greater context, to “learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” He proclaimed that “the true measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of crisis, challenge, and controversy.”
We must understand that Dr. King was not just for black people but he was for the oppressed, underserved, overlooked, and underrepresented. He was for everybody, whether it was poor Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. He spoke out against the Vietnam War on April 4, 1967, exactly one year before he was killed, saying “these Vietnamese people have not done anything to us and yet these innocent people are being killed for no other reason, other than to make America rich.”
Dr. King talked about the triple evils of society: war, poverty, and violence. He talked about racism and that’s why he launched a war on poverty saying “how can America be the richest nation in the world, yet people literally go to sleep hungry every night, how can America boast of being the richest nation in the world and yet we have folks sleeping on park benches and people not getting a good education, how can we go about as the richest nation in the world and not take care of our own people?”
Dr. King never attacked people personally, he attacked their policies and the issues. He went to the root of the problem and the heart of the matter. Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. empowered others and stood up for equality and ethics,
so can YOU!
There’s a King inside of you to challenge the systems of society, there’s a King in you that will expand the parameters of your mind and the minds surrounded by you, there’s a King in you that will dream and not only dream but take action. There’s a King in you that will uplift education, do something good in your neighborhood, and empower surrounding communities. There’s a King in you
that has compassion for the least of these, those who are impoverished and disadvantaged. There’s a King in you that will invent, invest, and imbibe power and purpose into the lives of others. We must dream, we must strive, we must succeed and we must do it so well that the living, dead or unborn, couldn’t do it any better.
As we remember Dr. King and his dream, I encourage you to press on and keep on pressing. As Dr. King declared, “if you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl.” Whatever you do maximize every moment, live through dying places, see impossible as I’m possible, delete the letter “T” from the word can’t and transform it into CAN. It’s your time to turn every stumbling block into stepping stones, transform haters into elevators, use every bit of negative steam to power your dream, transform every hurt into healing, think positive in negative situations, and keep your mind on your mission.
Be relentless, be radical, be revolutionary, be resilient and birth the King that’s inside of you. This is your time to bless the world with your gifts and talents. Go for it!
Eddie Connor http://www.eddieconnor.com
For many of us, 2012 was filled with highs and lows, ups and downs...but in spite of it all, youʼre still here! This is the time when everybody makes resolutions and promises to themselves, of what they will or wonʼt do. However by February or March, itʼs back to
the same old way of doing things.
A new year with the same old mindset means the same old you. A new year, should birth a new mentality that brings about new opportunities in 2013. This is the time to take inventory and make changes. We have to realize that things wonʼt just change in our lives because the calendar changes. We must take responsibility for our lives, work to rid ourselves of bad habits, and become a better quality person. Here are 13 action steps, to put you on the path of purpose in 2013. Letʼs walk it out!
1. Develop a stronger relationship with God.
This is the main factor in dictating how your 2013 will start and end. God wants to do a new thing in 2013, but you have to trust Him and follow His Word. This is the year that God is working through you and not just for you. If you partner with Him, the blessings
and benefits are far greater than what you can imagine. This is your time to breakthrough and break out!
2. Change your mindset.
A new you in a new year is only a result of a new mindset. Start thinking differently and things will work out differently. Stop worrying, especially about things that are out of your control. Free your mind from negative thinking and begin to think positive in every situation. A changed year doesnʼt mean anything, if you have the same old mindset. What youʼre thinking ultimately affects where youʼre going.
3. Let go of the past.
You won't live your best life until you let go of anger, bitterness, and strife. You canʼt change the past, so why are your presently living in it? You have to let it go, in order to grow. Donʼt beat yourself up over something you canʼt change. Itʼs over...get up and
move your life forward.
4. Grow and get better everyday.
In order to grow and get better you have to continually work to do it. There is no growth without self-reflection and personal analysis. Self-development is key to your growth. In this world of distractions itʼs important to take time to read, meditate, analyze your goals, and think. Growth brings with it growing pains, because change is uncomfortable. Sometimes it hurts to break away from bad habits and things you like to do, but know they arenʼt any good for you. Itʼs either the pain of discipline or than the pain of consequence...your choice.
5. Maximize your purpose.
Live with purpose, live on purpose, and live for a purpose. If youʼre living without purpose, youʼre just existing. You have a unique purpose that God placed inside of you, what are you doing with it? Discover your gifts and talents and find out what youʼre good at doing. The reason you are here is because youʼre unique, distinct, special, and there is a purpose for your life. Donʼt let anybody demonize or minimize the gift that God has
placed inside of you to bless the world.
6. Develop your gifts and talents.
You are blessed with gifts and talents, but the tragedy is when you never use what youʼve been given. You are a red box and gold bow...youʼre a gift to the world. You must take personal inventory of your life and work your gift. How long will you procrastinatem on your purpose? Itʼs time to write the book, open the business, and develop your skill set. No one is going to hand you anything, you have to work to attain what you desire.
Work your gifts!
7. Surround yourself with people who motivate you to be better.
If people that youʼre connected to arenʼt ADDING to your life, itʼs time to SUBTRACT them from your life. Get away from people who drain you of your time, energy and patience. There are some people in your life that you must bless and release. A better you begins with surrounding yourself with a better crew of people. Get away from the dream killers and people who only keep you in a place of negativity. Who youʼre
connected to, determines what youʼre directed to...disconnect yourself from negative people and get connected to people who challenge you to be a better you.
8. Your health is your wealth.
You canʼt be good to anybody else until youʼre good to yourself. Your health is as important as your relationships, goals, purpose, and dreams. Take better care of yourself by developing an exercise regimen, getting proper rest, and eating nutritious meals. Many of the diseases that people die from are stress and poor nutrition/exercise related. You canʼt fully enjoy life, if your health is not a priority. Take time to take care of
9. Be a Goal-getter.
If you write out your goals you have a better chance of accomplishing them, because itʼs a constant reminder to work towards a vision. GOals help you to go and propel yourself forward, without them you lack direction. Goals are meaningless without a plan of action. People donʼt plan to fail, they just fail to plan. Every single day you must wake up and do things that push you closer to your goals...it all begins with your mindset.
10. Love and appreciate who you are.
Too many times we focus on our weaknesses and become so self-critical, that we ignore the value that we have within. You canʼt expect anybody to love and appreciate who you are, if you donʼt love and appreciate yourself first. You will eventually attract who and what you are. The relationship will never work if your relationship with God and your relationship with yourself, isnʼt developed first and foremost.
11. Focus more on what you can give, rather than what you can receive.
Giving always creates room for more. In this society of selfishness and selfaggrandizement itʼs all about what you can get, by any means necessary. How many clothes and shoes can you wear at one time? How many cars can you drive at one time? Weʼve become so inundated by what we can consume that we donʼt take as much time to invest, not just in ourselves, into the lives of others. What you can give may not be monetary, but it can be giving your time...which is far greater than money. Look around your community, every problem has a solution that you can provide. Take time to improve your city, clean up your community, mentor our youth, and help somebody in need. Thereʼs always a blessing in blessing other people.
12. Expect the great and anticipate greater.
The power of belief is what will unlock the door to opportunities this year. The faith you have to look situations in the face and say, "in spite of what it looks like, I still believe" will catapult you to the next level. As much as you expect, you also have to work towards it...simply because faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Nothing is just going to happen by osmosis or mystically, you have to activate your faith practically. Work towards your vision, while believing that all things are possible.
13. Step into the winnerʼs circle.
Whether youʼre in the winnerʼs circle or not, depends on whoʼs in your circle. You are who you hang around. You will either be a chicken or an eagle, a chump or a champion, a worrier or a warrior...which will you choose? You canʼt be a whiner and a winner at the same time! Take responsibility for your life by getting in the drivers seat and decide to push on the path of your purpose and destiny. This is the time, this is the hour, and this
is a new year for a new YOU! More love, joy, success, and peace is ahead for you in
Back in the day as a kid, I vividly remember walking into my mother's house on freezing winter days and hearing her say, "shut the door all the way and don't let the heat out." Some of the simplest words you hear as a kid, takes on a new meaning as an adult.
The simple statement "shut the door" can be applied to not only the temperature, but also the climate of our circumstances. Certain things in our lives have frozen us out of the bright future that we seek to attain. Before you open the door to a new year of opportunity, you have to shut the door on toxic relationships, bad habits, and negative thoughts that keep you going in circles never making forward progression.
There is a door of opportunity that God wants you to step into, but it comes at the expense and even the pain of shutting the door on your past. Shut the door on relationships that have kept you discombobulated, depressed, and defeated. It's simple to say, but it takes focus to do it. Shut the door and let go of negative thinking and low self-esteem. You have a gift inside of you that can turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Your past is not a crutch, that you can use to limp into your future. You can't walk or run into your future, if you're crippled by your past. When you free your mind, your future becomes a byproduct of your thought process. Remember that what's ahead of you is far greater than what's behind you.
The coldness of the world has infiltrated our mind and spirit, to the point that our dreams are frozen by fear and unbelief. Some of our relationships are frozen, due to past hurt and hardship.
Many of our lives are at a standstill, making no forward progression. Some people have left you out in the cold through broken promises, forsaking you in a time of need, or walking out of your life. You can't afford to be BITTER because BETTER is coming. Don't allow the pain of your past, to put an ice box where your heart used to be.
God's love and self-love is strong enough to overcome apathy, bitterness, and hatred.
Rejection is redirection, positioning you on the path of purpose. Every "NO" that you've been told only means "New Opportunity." You have to look at the negative, positively and adjust your thinking towards victory and opportunity.
Stop exposing yourself to the elements of negativity, apathy, and calamity. Shut the door of depression and step into a new place of peace. Shut the door of low self-esteem and step into a new place of self-love and serenity. If people can't ADD to your value, then SUBTRACT them from your life.
The past is a prison, but your future is freedom. Today make a decision to shut the door on everything that's holding you back, from becoming who you were created to be. Your future is an open door that awaits you. Shut the door, don't look back, move forward, and open the door to your destiny!
This is your week for open doors and opportunities! It's time to launch out and make your dreams a reality. When will you start the business, go back to school, write the song, develop your ideas, and do what they say could never be done?
I'm excited about your future! No matter how dark the day, your darkest moment can still be your brightest hour! There are still enough days in this year, for it to be the best year of your life. As long as there's time on the clock, the game isn't over!
This is a WAKE UP call! Like a blaring alarm clock in the morning or a DJ scratching the needle on a record, hear me clearly, "DON'T deviate from your destiny." It's time to resurrect your resilience within, to push and press towards your purpose.
Where is your bulldog determination to rise above your situation? Milton Berle declared, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." If opportunity isn't given to you, then it's time to create an opportunity to succeed. Use your creative mind to think positive amidst negativity. Stop waiting on things to happen and begin to make things happen. This is YOUR time to shine. This is YOUR hour of power.
God has gifted you to be GREAT and good enough just won't do. Realize this, you have inner power that you haven't used yet. ACTIVATE IT! The greatest part of you can't be seen with the eyes. Dig deep within the soil of your soul and bless the world with your inner value.
As we advance towards 2013, it's time to birth, build, and breakthrough any and all barriers! Be determined to keep moving forward. Don't let anyone or anything stop you're from moving forward in your future. Refuse to live as a victim and become victorious!
Elevate your mind in order to manifest your mission. Be determined to let nothing stop you. Be inspired to overcome and let nothing block you, from the finish line of your future. Get up, get out, and Go For It!
The month of December marks "World Aids Awareness," which is designed to empower and educate people with information about HIV/AIDS. Itʼs reported that an estimated 34 million people around the world are living with HIV. Every 9 minutes, someone is infected with HIV. Do you know your health status?
So many of us have heard information and seen commercials spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS, yet weʼve become desensitized to the risks and impact of this disease. In comparison to other ethnicities, black people account for more HIV/AIDS cases than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. The impact of health care, low income families/communities, and the fear of knowing oneʼs status has many people living their lives carelessly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Black Americans accounted for 44% of all new HIV infections, despite being only 14% of the
U.S. population. The effects of HIV are far reaching beyond America, in places like Jamaica and the continent of Africa.
Many urban communities around the U.S., in cities such as Detroit, are being affected by HIV/AIDS. Approximately 75% of all new HIV/AIDS cases in the city of Detroit are between the ages of 13 and 19. The youth population is being hit hard with this disease and we must impress upon our young people that HIV/AIDS, STDs, and STIs are 100% preventable. The importance of self-control, self-value, and making proper decisions will ultimately impact their lives.
We must break the stigma, shame, and silence, but most importantly we must break the cycle. So many people are dying not just physically but psychologically, educationally, and spiritually.
There is a distorted message in the media and music about sex. Is there any conversation about responsibility or is it just about promiscuity? Much of the "popular" music today doesnʼt feed or nurture our value on the inside, itʼs only a stimulus to bump and grind on the outside.
The worldʼs message is to act now and worry about the consequences later. In other words, "YOLO" (You Only Live Once) which is a saying popularized by rappers Lil Wayne and Drake. However, "YOLO" can be remixed to "You Only Learn Once"
because sometimes in life you donʼt get second chances and you only get one chance to make the right decision the first time.
What message is being sent when rappers, 2 Chainz and Kanye West, give you their 2 cents in their "Birthday Song?" The rappers explicitly declare that "all they want for their birthday"...is a round gluteus maximus and a girl who has lost her self respect. Trey Songz melodiously sings that heʼs about to "dive in" as if a womanʼs body is a swimming pool and anybody can go for a lap.
How do we internalize these messages? Many of our youth are listening to the radio and watching TV, literally in a sex mis-education class, making impulsive decisions in minutes that impacts their lives for years. We often make the mistake of doing permanent things in temporary situations. The permanent decisions we make in temporary situations with temporary people, often leave us with permanent scars.
Youʼre more than what the eye can see and youʼre more than your assets. Start loving who you are! When we understand the value that God has placed in us, we will begin to see it in ourselves and each other. We must teach self-respect, empower others through morals, principles, and character development.
Youʼve got to see value in who you are. Itʼs not about what you have that makes you significant, itʼs who you are that makes you significant and special. If you canʼt love yourself, then you canʼt expect anybody else to love you.
Itʼs time to WAKE UP!
- Black youth represent 15% of U.S. teenagers, but account for 65% of all new HIV/AIDS cases.
- 21 years ago basketball superstar, Magic Johnson announced that he had HIV...21 years later, black people make up almost 50% of all new HIV/AIDS cases.
- Wake up...HIV/AIDS affects black youth between the ages of 13-19, more than any other demographic.
- Wake up...Black people account for more HIV/AIDS cases than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S.
- Wake up...get tested, get informed, and empower somebody else with information to change their life!
Behind every statistic is a story, behind every fact is a face, and the fact of the matter is that you are more than just at risk...you are at promise! Today is the day to give birth to the purpose, possibilities, and promise that resides within you.
Will you be a statistic or a standout?
The tragedy is to be physically alive and mentally/spiritually sleep! Too many of us are just existing and not living. Today is the day for you to begin to live with purpose, live on purpose, and live for a purpose.
Live with self control, expand your mind, and embark upon your dream. Donʼt become a statistic, because you were born to be a standout. Donʼt follow the trend, set it. Use your education, gifts, talents, and mind to think positive in every negative situation.
Look at HIV in the face and say, "I have HOPE, INSPIRATION, and VICTORY!"
- Eddie Connor
The saying goes, "if you want to hide something from a black person, put it in a book." It seems as if we live in the United States of Amnesia, because we fail to remember that over 200 years ago it was illegal for black people to read. You would be maimed or lynched, because the oppressor knew that education was the death of mental slavery. If the psychological chains were broken, the physical chains would be eradicated.
If we fail to know our history, then weʼre on the the fast track to repeating it. Are the old rules and regulations of Jim Crow back again? Some would say it never left and itʼs just the same lulled beat with a new remix. Jim Crow laws (1876-1965) restricted the civil rights and liberties of African Americans, in efforts to prevent any form of equality. There is a new Jim Crow, which is repealing the advancements made by our predecessors, in the form of mass incarceration. The connection of illiteracy and incarceration is more than just an education issue, it has social justice ramifications.
Itʼs critical that our young black males become proficient in reading. According to Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu, "the reading scores of third graders are being used as a gauge, to predict the number of prisons that are built." Many of our youth in Detroit are dressed in the finest apparel, yet facing educational peril. A report from Education Week, a weekly educational newspaper, reports that Detroitʼs high school dropout rate is 75%. National studies suggest that Detroitʼs illiteracy rate, is the highest of any major American city at 47%.
Frederick Douglas declared "itʼs easier to build strong (boys) children than to repair broken men." There is no conspiracy to destroy black men, but there is a conspiracy to destroy black boys. There is an increasing overrepresentation of black youth and men in prison. The prison system is becoming younger, as 60% of incarcerated juveniles are under 18 years of age. Approximately 80% of prisoners are void of a high school diploma or GED. The choices are narrowing, itʼs either education or incarceration. If we teach our young men to read, we have an 80% chance of keeping them out of jail.
There is much work to do, when our young people know more about Waka Flocka Flame than they do about W.E.B. Du Bois. We canʼt sit back and let BET, MTV, and PlayStation 3 raise our children. Parents have to start reading to their children. Theaverage pre-literacy exposure for black children is 250 hours, but white children have 3,000 hours of pre-literacy exposure. Our black children are behind in a race that hasnʼt started, because basic skills are lacking.
Only 12% of 8th grade boys are proficient in reading, which results in many of the being passed through school into a prison system. We must break the cycle of this school-to-prison pipeline which comes at the crux of literacy.
Hosea 4:6 is an ardent call to the fact that our "people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Our world is an ocean of information, yet people are drowning in ignorance.
Improving the education of black boys, begins with young males being taught by black men. Our churches must offer academic enrichment programs, whether or not they are government funded. We must keep our libraries and schools open. Itʼs time to step up, we need mentors, literacy advocates, parents, and strong males to invest in the lives of our youth.
Our boys must know that prison is not a rights of passage. Instead of jail they can attend Cornel and Yale, not prison but Princeton! Letʼs motivate, encourage, enhance, and work to push our black boys to succeed.
Itʼs that time of year again to roll out the turkey, honeybaked ham, candied yams,
greens, macaroni and cheese, corn bread, red velvet cake...well, at least thatʼs how my
family does it. So many of us get caught up in the trimmings and delicacies that
tantalize our taste buds. Yet, we fail to count our blessings and thank God for all His
In this fast paced society, we become so inundated with holiday commercialization,
shopping, and food consuming that we fail to embrace the essence of true thanksgiving.
One expression, two words..."thank you"! The exclamation "thank you" is a polite
declaration used when acknowledging a gift, service, or compliment. Itʼs one thing to
say it, but itʼs another thing to show it.
So many times we approach the holidays with a hand out to receive, rather than to give.
If all youʼre focused on is what you can RECEIVE, than youʼve missed the purpose of
ThanksGIVING. For many people, Thanksgiving is just another holiday, for others itʼs
how they live each day. Everyday is a day of thanksgiving!
Some of us have lost family, friends, jobs, and homes. In spite of it all, we canʼt lose our
hope and we canʼt lose our faith. The power of hope and faith will surround us with
strength, in the midst of struggle and weakness. Your best days are not behind you,
theyʼre still ahead of you! Scripture reminds us to give thanks in all circumstances and
situations (I Thessalonians 5:18). You can look around and see that despite hardship
and negative experiences, youʼre still here! Without a shadow of a doubt, youʼre
Today, donʼt just express thankfulness for what you have, be thankful for who you are.
Through adversity youʼve become stronger. The fact that youʼve made it this far, is
nothing short of a blessing. Just being alive is a reason to give thanks. Youʼre too
blessed to be stressed and depressed!
The saying goes, "not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the
true measure of our thanksgiving." Stop focusing on what you donʼt have, look at what
you do have and use it. If you continue to focus on what you donʼt have...you wonʼt
have. Be content and be thankful. If all you have to give is your time and love, thatʼs
enough. Thanks and giving, goes a long way.
The truly thankful continue to give thanks, even when the holiday is over. The more
youʼre thankful, the more youʼre blessed. The more you give, the more you receive. The
more you refuse to be BITTER, the BETTER you will become. A life of thanksgiving
improves your state of living.
Try going through your day counting your blessings, instead of your problems and watch
what happens. The song "Thank You" by Walter Hawkins said, "it couldʼve been me
outdoors, with no food or clothes...thank you Lord for all youʼve done for me." When you
look at your life and see how God has blessed and brought you to this point, you canʼt
help but holler, "Thank You"!
You donʼt need a holiday to be thankful, everyday is a day of thanksgiving. Thank God
for all of His blessings and move forward expecting greater things ahead!
Who told you that you canʼt make it? Whatʼs holding you back and stopping you from
moving forward? You canʼt let what people say to and about you, push you off the path
of your purpose. You are your only competition. Make a decision to be the best YOU
that YOU can be!
How can you be the best, if you donʼt make adjustments? There is no growth without
change. There are certain things that we need to break away from, so that we can
breakthrough. Yes, old habits die hard but if you donʼt build good habits, then the bad
oneʼs will stifle your progress.
We must make the necessary changes to improve our health, relationships, and overall
lifestyle. However, no changes will be made, if we donʼt change the way that we think.
The way that youʼre thinking has everything to do with where youʼre going, whether it be
forward or backward.
Thereʼs an old school song that says, "youʼve got me going in circles...round and round I
go." This world is designed to keep you reaching but never attaining, just going in circles
but never making any forward progress. Break free from drama, depression, negativity,
bitterness, and strife. Break away from unhealthy and toxic relationships that are
polluting your life.
Youʼre too special and significant to reduce yourself and succumb to the negative
controls around you. It takes a resilient mind to make the quantum leap and break away
from everything, thatʼs trying to break you down. When youʼre dead, theyʼre going to put
you in a box, but since youʼre alive itʼs time to break out of the box!
God gave you a gift, now use it! Refuse to let people steal your joy, serenity, and
strength. A knock down is only a knockout, if you stay down. Get up, shake yourself,
and get back in the fight. Break out of the box and bless the world with everything that
God gave you.
The world is waiting for you to reveal the best of everything thatʼs inside of you. Blast
past your past, because whatʼs ahead of you is far greater than whatʼs behind you.
Move forward and break out!