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Be Someone By Orrin Hudson

Freddie Gray.  Walter Smith. Eric Garner.  Michael Brown.  No matter the color of your skin, there’s sadness when we hear these names – African-Americans killed by police.  In each case, there have been community protests.  In three of these deaths, there have been violent demonstrations.  The latest in Baltimore has left a part of the city in ruins.

Stop the madness!

I have written about these earlier events and I want to offer short, to the point comments now.  In all my messages, the bottom line is there are consequences for our actions.  Each of these cases involved Black men putting themselves in jeopardy because of wrong choices. An investigation in Ferguson cleared the police officer involved and proved the “hands up, don’t shoot” mantra to be a destructive myth.  Other investigations are underway and if the police are found to be guilty, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  Let the system work! We are a country of laws.

But here is the point I want to make. Quit making excuses! Quit taking to the streets to tear down our society.  Quit falling for the lie you can’t make it in this world because the deck is stacked against you. I know firsthand you can succeed if you make the right choices.  I took control of my life when I learned success is up to me not some faceless “system” that wants me to fail.

I love my country.  I believe it truly is a land of opportunity but only IF we take advantage of the avenues to success that are afforded to us.  No, it’s not easy. Yes, it takes determination, focus and grit because admittedly, there are obstacles on any path.  Truly, it takes a “knock me down get back up attitude.”  We must convince our young people to act constructively, not destructively.

As I watched the video of rioters in the streets of Baltimore, I wanted to cry…. For my country, for the city of Baltimore but more importantly, for each and every young person I saw participating.  I want to reach out and touch each one.  I want to prove to them they can be someone.  Is it too late to convince them they can be contributors? And that they can succeed if they believe in themselves?

I believe there is hope.  My heart was lightened when I saw the video of a mother who refused to let her son join the mob taunting police and tearing down the city.  You have probably seen it…. Is there anything stronger than a mother’s true, tough love?  She was not about to let her son make the wrong choice.  She was not about to give up her dearest position in life to others who didn’t care what happened to him as long as they could use him for their own agenda.

I don’t know this woman but I love what she did.  She served as an example.  Each of us must be as committed as she was and is. All that is required for our communities to be destroyed is for good people to sit back and watch them. We got to get in the game and Be Someone!

We must not give up on our young people and we must convince them they can be winners, not losers.  My goodness we have so much work to do!

 

Orrin Hudson is the founder and CEO of Be Someone, Inc., a Stone Mountain, GA-based non-profit that uses the principles of the game of chess to teach there is a consequence for every move whether on the chess board or in life.  Learn more about Hudson and his award-winning program at www.besomeoneone.org.