Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Change in Atlanta needs a name and it must start with passion. The Latin word for passion is suffering. A person cannot be passionate about a certain issue unless they first have experienced suffering centered around that issue. I am passionate about the well-being of marginalized people. Why? Because I have experienced their suffering first hand, felt the brokenness, seen the shame.
As a child being raised in the inner city of Atlanta, I was blessed to be raised with my mother and father in the household. My parents masked our poverty with nice clothes, proper grammar and social events like the Nutcracker.
My parents were hardworking striving to do good while living in the hood. Episodes of the Cosby Show and sleepovers at my white teammates houses when I was a teenager caused me to realize that my family wasn’t as financially successful as I thought that we were. I was embarrassed when my teammates would pick me up from our small house in Bankhead when I should have been appreciative that I had a home.
I’m happiest when marginalized people become the best version of themselves. When they don’t feel like outsiders, but are experiencing acceptance and opportunity, lifted to their rightful dignity of a being a beloved son or daughter of God. My journey from suffering to dignity to passion started over ten years ago. I grew tired of being selfish, pessimistic, arrogant and gave my life to Christ Jesus.
“Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the can.”----This was my slogan ten years ago and I’m not proud of it. I took an honest look at myself as my wife, Kelli voiced disappointment in me as a leader in my household. We have two daughters and I was treating everyone outside of my house better than them. Her words hurt me and led me to change.
I’ve been a baseball and life coach to thousands of males. They don’t begin to believe my success until they understand my struggle. Therefore, I always start with my story so that we can connect. I’ve loved baseball since the age of eight and I dream of using baseball as a vehicle to help legions of black males throughout Atlanta overcome crime, poverty and racism.
I want to increase the number of African-American student-athletes competing in baseball at the NCAA Division I level from 3.7% in 2019 to 40% by 2036.
Why baseball? Because baseball is considered “America’s game” and is used to develop character and critical thinking skills. Jackie Robinson made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech believable. The Braves coming to Atlanta in 1966 during the Jim Crow era with Hank Aaron from Milwaukee was proof that Atlanta was truly a city “Too Busy To Hate”.
I believe that baseball is a microcosm of America. More blacks in baseball means more relationships between blacks and whites and America will reap benefits because decisions will be made for all with consideration for all.
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