Cam B. is a bright, innovative, respectful, intelligent, handsome, and giving and supportive young man. Cam is a college graduate and owns his own home and dresses as if he will be on the cover of GQ. We have known him for many years and have worked with him very closely. Cam is not married yet, but Vicki is working on that. He humbly tells her he is getting closer to “making a commitment status.” We look at Cam as kind of an adoptive son! We hug each other. We care about each other.
We had a phone call from Cam. He needed an industry contact that we had. In the chat, Cam told us that the previous day he had gotten pulled over again. No, he was not speeding. No, he did not run a light or a stop sign. No, he was not involved in an incident of road rage. He was legally driving down the street.
Cam told us he regularly gets pulled over. You see Cam is a young man and he drives a very nice, new BMW.
Oh, have I told you Cam is a black man?
Obviously, someone like that, in a high shine, fancy BMW car…..well, something must be amiss…drugs, theft, gambling, guns. REALLY!! Cam told us he gets stopped every other month.
When Cam recalled this incident with us and his boss, President of a large industry manufacturer, all three of us were shaken, struck with disgust, angry, and appalled.
This was after the racial bombshell that went off in Minneapolis. Cam told us what it was like growing up as a black youngster to a black adult. What’s it like to have the special, protective conversations and coaching from a caring grandfather and father. Conversations and coaching about shopping in a store, eating at a restaurant, driving, acting in social settings…how to keep from getting beat up or getting shot; and not from the bad guys in a gang.
Cam told us his point-of-view, “The issue is not Black Lives Matter. The issue is Do Something That Matters.” Cam has gotten involved in inner-city youth programs focused on keeping kids off the street…give them another pathway to their future.
Do Something that Matters could be helping with reading programs, food for hungry kids and/or adults programs, outdoor exercise or sports programs, or helping to provide technology access.
Do Something that Matters that breaks down real or imagined barriers to fairness, and just plain what is right; a fabric of social standards that makes a difference and safety net to all.
Do Something that Matters by making a new hire of color….give someone a chance in essential business, in an essential industry that has a really bright future. Alana Ward, owner of Baggett Heating and Air in Clarksville, TN has done this. She was a bit taken back when a technician asked if he could wait and put on his Covid-19 mask after the customer was at the door. He felt uncomfortable going to the door with a mask on. By the way, he is black. A white technician would not think twice about going to the front door with an N95 mask in place. This black technician is “Doing Something” to make his customers more comfortable, even though he shouldn’t have to.
Do Something that Matters by teaming up with a local grocery store, convenience store, or superstore and start a kids coloring book/page contest, design a comic book/page contest, or draw a super robot contest. Pick winners-do prizes-give recognition. Display in-store. Make all proud of their achievement and efforts.
Do Something that Matters by partnering with another organization of color and clean up a park, plant a tree, or paint a home of a person in need. Get in gear and make a difference!
Do Something that Matters by making an appointment with a Fire Chief, a Police Chief, a civic group official, or a city councilperson, and see what you can do to make a difference in a volunteer role.
Do Something that Matters by joining a church service that is different than your normal place of worship (when Covid-19 protocol allows). Talk to the people of the congregation. Ask questions and invite them to visit your place of worship.
With a little effort, perspectives, prejudices, old tapes, values, and feelings and fears can take on a more favorable and positive tone. A whole new beat and sound for a song that resonates for the future.
Especially do this for the younger generation and the generations to come.
Written by John LaPlant
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