making progress is a process…

I remember learning about the tortoise and the hare. There’s a strategy for success in this fable. It’s involves learning how to be a marathon runner. You must be in it for the long haul. Pace yourself. Remember: Good things come to those who wait. Be patient because it really is a virtue, a strength. Remember: Slow and steady wins the race. Making pogress is a process.

Here’s the why –> The Tortoise and The Hare

This is one of my favorite songs for the times I have to dig deeper and remember: Nothing is Impossible. We must find the strength and energy to keep plugging along. It’s required when you want to make progress. We need creativity to get to the finish line. Sometimes, we’ll have to try different ways of doing things. Sometimes, we must break the mold and create new ways. Coming up with great ideas is not a cookie cutter experience. Innovation is a choice. Be willing to be different.

Be committed to making incremental progress; take it step-by-step. Learn about best practices. Be willing to achieve a standard of excellence. Take breaks when you’re tired. We need rest and time to recharge our batteries. We must practice self-care when we’re creating. It’s not easy. Believe in what you started. Know that you can finish. Making progress is a process. Be a tortoise and stay the course.

More information about Smokie Norful and his amazing work is available at http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryid=4803

The ‘Problems’ and the Promise of Solutions

reflection…contemplation…meditation

Stereotypes. Prejudice. Implicit Bias. Racism. 

The ‘problem’ is the Black Man. You know. The one who is threatening. The one who won’t do right by his children. The one who is lazy. The one who kills his own. The man who doesn’t respect women. The one who doesn’t know his own worth.

The ‘problem’ is the Black Woman. You know. The one who is trifling. The one who parties too much and neglects her children’s needs. The woman who can’t keep a Black Man. The one who wants to look white. The one who doesn’t respect men. The one who doesn’t know her own worth.

The ‘problem’ is the Black Child. You know. The one who wants to be a professional athlete. The one who hates school. The one who has ADHD. The child who prefers video games. The one who hates going to the library. The one who sags, twerks, and is disrespectful to elders. The child “they” say won’t amount to anything. The one who is failing in school. The one committing crimes. The one who doesn’t have a father. The one headed straight to prison. The ones who don’t know their own worth.

The ‘problem’ is US. You know. The ones who blame. The ones who complain. The ones who shame. The ones who talk too much and do too little. The ones who won’t volunteer and be of service to those less fortunate. The ones who think they know everything. The ones wearing suits. The ones wearing jeans. The ones claiming to help. The ones who are getting paid. The ones on tv. The ones in universities. The ones on the street. The ones in the stores buying what they don’t need. The ones committing crimes. The ones doing time. The ones with no savings. The ones with no jobs. The ones with health problems. The ones who don’t care. The ones who won’t read. The ones who watch too much tv.

The ‘problem’ is US. The ones who don’t know our worth.

The ‘problems’ are the solutions. You know. The solutions that deal with the roots of the issues. The solutions that result from carefully studying the issues and creatively designing the answers.  They are r/evolutionary solutions, the kind meant to ignite change and shift the paradigm, create a mindset of possibilities and opportunities. These solutions will not just eliminate the issues. They will eradicate them. These solutions will create a better world.

We are witnessing the promise of the ‘problem’ Black Man, Black Woman and Black Child who is realizing their worth.

Every single one of us is either a Black Man or Black Woman who has been a Black Child. Every single one of us has been a ‘problem’ or known a ‘problem’. Fortunately, every single one of us is also the solution. You know who we are. We are the ones willing to work hard to create the answers to issues of poverty, miseducation, unemployment, crime, violence, poor nutrition, health disparities, incarceration, historical fallacies and lies, corruption and greed, inferior housing, inadequate access to capital, and the granddaddy of them all: institutional racism. We know these issues have been designed to create inequality and inequity, but we also know they can be re-aligned, dismantled, destroyed and, best of all, reinvented and directed to create the change we need…and want.

We are geniuses. We are smarter than the ones who created these issues of misfortune and disadvantage; these systems that created fortune and advantage for the few. We are the brilliant architects of the systems that will benefit the many.

We are the thinkers. We read. We study. We meet. We discuss. We plan. We implement. We evaluate. We cry. We pray. We laugh. We march. We sit in. We stand up. We speak truth to power. We are faithfully toiling to create the just, humane, and loving world that every human needs, understanding that we all deserve the best food, water, clothing, and shelter.

We know that everyone deserves compassion. We understand the importance of morality, integrity, ethics, and justice. We are guided by the principles of truth, fairness, and justice.

We get discouraged sometimes. We experience the pain of our struggle. We have known defeat and wondered if we could ever resolve the issues, but our saving grace is that we are resilient and willing to work hard because we know who paved our way. We know they are counting on us to keep making that road straighter and wider so our children and their children will make a way to the goodness they also deserve.

We are willing to work smarter and harder because we are the dreamers and the doers. We nurture and encourage each other. We love and strengthen each other. We support each other in our work and causes.

We believe. We know. We are certain. We are rising.

We are witnessing the promise of ‘the problem’ Black Man, Black Woman and Black Child who are realizing their worth. We are witnessing a great awakening as more Black Men, Women, and Children learn facts and truth, empowered through Sankofa, and realize their worth. Reaching back and learning ourstory is part of listening to our ancestors as they guide and protect us. We again respect our elders for providing the wisdom they inherited to teach us to build again and restore our greatness.

The ‘problem’ Black Man, Black Woman, and Black Child is emerging to become solutionaries, understanding who we are and the value of knowing our worth. Together, we are rising.

Our deepest and sincere gratitude for the vision you are helping us see. You inspire us. You teach us. Thank you for demonstrating the love you have for our people, for all people. Thank you for caring about our future. Thank you for your commitment to working smarter and harder. We respect your genius. We value your friendship. Thank you for being the change we need to see.

Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for creating the solutions we need. Thank you for creating the progress that moves us…forward.

As we celebrate our 30th anniversary in community development in 2018, we’re wishing you only peace, power, progress, and prosperity.

~Joanna

Keeping the promise I made in 1968 to stand on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean,
understanding that dreams deferred are not dreams denied.
November 2017 ~ Africa

Joanna Grace Farmer (c) All Rights Reserved