For the last 25 years of my life I have worked to educate and empower our youth to be better, and to be accountable for their own actions in society. I do this by giving them a safe environment where people care, as well as structure and skill sets that are learned through sports and education. I cherish the good in people regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. In 1992, I was able to vote for a president for the first time. This made me truly feel like a part of society. It was even more empowering for me, since it was the same year that the Rodney King riots happened in LA. I was a young college graduate from the Midwest and had never been in a lot of urban environments. When I saw the rioting and looting on television it was hard for me to process why the people that were majority BLACK people were destroying their own community. I’d like to share with you my perspective as a child who has benefited from the Civil Rights movement and as an educated Businessman/Philanthropist. This is not a BLACK people issue or concern. This is a human issue of value and respect and this is an issue that exists all over the world from small towns to big cities with all races. The fact is that when others don’t respect your community, you won’t respect it either. One shattered window breeds many. One dilapidated building triggers the dilapidation of a whole block. One cracked sidewalk panel leads to miles of unmaintained sidewalk. The environment breeds the response. This is when people stop caring about the spaces around them. Soon, whole communities aren’t worth caring about. And because they’re not worth caring about, they’re not worth defending. This pattern of behavior and thinking is very similar to what is happening today in the bullying epidemic. When bullies bully, they devalue their victims, and in turn, victims of bullying stop valuing themselves. This devaluation is what leads victims of bullying to give up, internalize the abuse, and in the most tragic cases- take their own lives. This behavior is not relegated to our children either. It happens in all environments- business, households and schools. As a society we all must do better. It is up to us- the so called educated people to understand that this is all of our problem, so we must all be proactive in working toward a solution. We must teach our children to have the type of self-worth that comes from within and that can withstand scrutiny and neglect. Once we learn how to maintain our self-respect, we can begin to demand the respect of others in ways that will actually command it. #wefearwhatwedontunderstand #beintheknow #helpyourselfhelpothers
“Just A Thought"
Sean L. James