A word on Nate Robinson.
I must concede that I thought the memes were funny. I didn’t see the fight live and saw the #natechallenge of people laying face down on the ground in random places first. I saw a TD Jakes sermon juxtaposed to social media famous image of the fight.
And Snoop singing a negro spiritual ring side was just funny. I’m definitely not the laughter police. After this year a good laugh is such a gift.
But here is the reality — Nate Robinson tried. A friend of mine noted that it takes years just to be horrible at boxing. I respect the fact that Robinson left his comfort zone and tried something new.
My sincerest hope is that he can laugh at himself — which is an exceptional quality to possess.
How many people even dare to fail? One of the legacies of racism is a sense of inferiority that leads people to psyche themselves out of stretching personally and professionally.
Being content is both the enemy of greatness and debilitates one’s fullest potential. How many entrepreneurs are we missing? How many elected officials could we have? How many leaders are we missing?
Laugh because life is funny sometimes — but at the end of the day I have respect for Nate Robinson.
Theodore Roosevelt said it better than I:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
What I’m hearing …
The AACI Community Concerns and Recommendations agenda continues to move forward.
This week new members were voted on at the Rules and Public Policy Committee meeting for the Indianapolis Commission on African American Males — a research, policy and strategic implementation commission. The commission boasts one-third grassroots membership including a mother, a teach as well as a student and will have an advisory council to get additional community input. The re-establishment of the commission took over 1,100 days to move forward mostly because advocates, including myself, were asking the wrong folks.
A community-wide survey and series of focus groups called for more youth leadership opportunities. The first of its kind City-County Council Youth Commission will move to the full council with a unanimous and bipartisan do-pass recommendation. This commission will focus on system-impacted youth and provide an opportunity for young leaders to provide meaningful input to both the city-council council as well as business leaders on key issues facing the city.
But we must be ready for challenges to our progress.
Major police reform efforts including the use of force board and general orders board will likely be topics of interest with the prospect of potentially 95 bills being drafted by the Republican caucus alone. While our community has to address other pressing priorities such as food insecurity, education, tenants’ rights, anti-gentrification measures, a living wage, mental health and nonpartisan redistricting — police reform may be a particular area of focus. And while the hope is that the business community and advocates don’t just focus on police reform, stopping bad bills may be among the biggest wins this legislative session.
Finally, with the recent announcement of Buckingham pulling out of their proposed building on Indiana Avenue the larger question of what is next for this cultural district remains? If anything has been learned it should be this: Indiana Avenue matters to the Black community and should be engaged in its development. The logistics of that will require a newly led DMD to work with key stakeholders in the Black community to address opportunity. Advocates have suggested that a plan was developed some time ago for the district but was never approved by DMD. If the advocates can produce that plan it may be a starting point for a new discussion on the future of the district — in either case this is a conversation that must be had.
And in my humble opinion, the problem isn’t Indiana Avenue — it’s how do communities not operating under a funded plan maintain some agency in their community? Agency sought after isn’t a community meeting to respond to a developer’s proposal — it’s making the developer respond to an RFP developed by the community.
See you next week.
Marshawn Wolley is a lecturer, commentator, business owner and civic entrepreneur. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.