“I’m starting with the [m]an in the mirror”
~ Michael Jackson ~
“It’s to make the world of opera popular. I think it’s the certain way to give back what God gave to me — the only way [to] please as many people as possible.”
~ Luciano Pavarotti ~
By Talibah Modupe
When the chair of my newly-formed writing group suggested that we think of ways to make the world a better place, I immediately thought of Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror” and more recently, after the passing of one of my favorite opera singers, Luciano Pavarotti’s statement above. Both used their God-given talents to help spread joy through completely different musical forms. While it’s true, I cannot carry a tune, I began thinking of various ways that I could lend my talents for the betterment of society.
I have generously contributed moneys to Save Darfur, Susan B Komen Cure for Breast Cancer, NAACP, Senator Barack Obama’s Campaign, Representative John Lewis, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanities, Samaritan House, Hosea Feed the Hungry, Save the Children, Women to Women, American Red Cross, Hurricane Katrina Fund and UNCF. You name it; I’ve just about given to that organization. Not only that, I’ve solicited my immediate family in helping to build several houses for Habitat for Humanities and planted trees and flowers, painted boys and girls restrooms all over the city through Hands on Atlanta. While residing in Dallas, I tutored children through the I Have A Dream Program. This is not bragging this is commitment to causes I truly believe in.
For the past two years, I have participated with “Everybody Wins” at Cook Elementary. And yes, it feels good knowing that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Nevertheless, I can’t rest on past activities. I’m constantly searching for new ways to assist others and strongly encourage others to give of their money and time.
Three weeks ago, I met an interesting White, proud lesbian female at an Obama get-together. She stated that she lived in Acworth and since displaying her Obama bumper sticker, her car had been repeatedly keyed and her tires flattened. At first, I found it hard to believe that folks would actually go to such measures, but the next day, while attending a 6-year-old’s football game in Loganville, my rear left tire was slashed. It later dawned on me the conversation I’d had with this remarkable and brave woman. Someone even suggested that I might remove the bumper sticker for safety’s sake. Not! I strongly believe that both Senator Obama and I are committed to a greater cause and that criminal behavior will not impede our ability to continue our efforts in getting the best person elected as our next president! Fortunately, there have not been more incidences.
Watch the news channels on any given day and you will soon discover that at the top of the news is crime. In particular, senseless black-on-black crime. In the morning when you turn on the television, the reporter (on any given channel) will start with, “Over night shooting,” or “Breaking news. . . teenage killing!” And, it’s not getting any better. Just today while riding the elevator to a meeting, one of the building security guards sadly informed me that he was robbed at gunpoint while wearing his uniform. Talk about reckless disregard! No one is safe!
I could go on and on about the various ills in our community, but I would like to focus my attention on solutions. Money is only one cure. We have to get out of our comfort zones and get involved in our communities. We have to devote at least a few hours each week going to schools in various neighborhoods and assisting teachers. They can only do so much. Some of us might not be parents but our nation’s youth are all our children. If you do not like being around children, why not stop by local nursing homes or hospitals and offer your services? I promise you, you will feel differently in the end.
Lastly, let’s register to vote and hold politicians accountable. Yes, Bush stole the last two elections but we do not have to let it happen again. In speaking with others, it is evident that we’ve become so departed and detached from politics; however, I have gained a clearer perspective of my role in making this a better world and encourage others to get involved. The Internet is a powerful tool! Check out where each candidate stands on various issues. Don’t just vote for a particular party or decide that you like Hilary because of Bill. Her rationale and views could be very different.
My six-year-old grandson and other children are counting on us to make a positive difference in their lives. We owe it to them. Who knows, he just might be the president of his generation. Let’s all get involved in some form or another.