Time to wake up from the Dream and Execute the Mission
The “I Have a Dream Speech” was arguably one of the top five speeches ever spoken. I love performing and experiencing it each time I do it. It just fills my heart and soul as it does for everyone else. No doubt, it has served its purpose for over 50 years.
However, just like the constitution is a living document that can be added to over time with amendments, I believe “I Have a Dream” can and should evolve too. That’s why I wrote “We Have a Mission”. It is an amendment, a direct descendant of “I Have a Dream”. It is targeted at what is needed in 2016 and beyond.
A “Dream” connotes vision and hope, something we desperately needed in 1963. Likewise, a Mission connotes vision and hope too. But, it also adds specificity, goals and requires action on the part of everyone who takes up the mission. I for one feel our community is in desperate need of specific, unifying, short term goals that will enable us to “get unstuck” so to speak.
The last 20-30 years we have just been lingering, resting on the work that MLK and past civil rights leaders did. We haven’t created one unifying goal, with the exception of electing President Obama twice, that we can speak to universally. We have taken up individualism as an art form, when we still know deep down that we are seen and treated in most cases as a group. Sometimes, I think we are the only people who don’t see ourselves as a group. See that we rise and fall together, in most cases.
This is America and individualism is fine and the American way. However, we must realize that our success individually can be multiplied significantly is we used our collective power more effectively.
That is where collective goal setting and action becomes important and essential for our community.
In “Steps to the Promised Land” I listed 4 goals to have a mission for:
- Stop the school to prison pipeline; reduce jail and prison time
- Make education the number 1 priority,
- Reduce violence and murders by 75%
- Make families whole again
These are not all encompassing, but they are a start. Our first emphasis would be to communicate and agree on these goals as a community. They would/should be the overriding focus that drives us individually and as a community. They should all be measurable. The success of each should be communicated regularly to the group.
It should almost be like the pledge of allegiance. They should be reviewed at our churches, community centers, sports leagues, etc. Every child should know them. Every teenager should know them. Every young adult should know them. We should celebrate our success toward reaching our goals regularly.
The hard part, which shouldn’t be, is agreeing on what are the goals. Those four or a variation of them would be a starting point. I would add one more on economic empowerment, or say, business creation.
Once our goals are set we then establish what I call “gates” or “passage points”. They are measurement points that you don’t pass unless you are on target. If not on target, we establish corrective actions to enact.
The Power of Goals is:
- Everyone can participate
- Everyone can take responsibility
- Everyone can serve the community and themselves
- We see improvement regularly
- Success breeds more success
- It becomes “down” for people to work for something