?

Have you ever chosen a side after viewing a 20 second clip? Do you post your opinion/thoughts on social media? Which media channel do you watch/listen to? So many opinions, so many views and SO much hate. We have all been guilty of feeling one way or another.

Hillary or Trump? Innocent or guilty? Too much force or self-defense? Transgenders? Abortion? Faith? Religion? Where should our tax money be spent? Gun control? Racism..

Now, comes the real question. What are YOU doing to make a difference?

Over a year ago, I called a friend of mine asking if he wanted to change the world. This was following the Michael Brown shooting and riots in St. Louis, MO. I was extremely fired up and passionate about making a change because our world was being further divided before our very eyes. Over the next several months, we spent time off and on brainstorming what we could do because we truly believed two young men, one white and one black could change the world together.

1Stronger2gether is born. We envisioned a brand that would bring everyone together. A system to educate our youth that knowledge is key to uncovering truth. Influence, something to strive for, give opportunity to good people in bad positions. 1Stronger2gether would create and encourage open communication so our youth would become one in overcoming all obstacles together.

A year has gone by and 1stronger2gether is…simply a Facebook page. It is not a system, not a registered brand, not a LLC. Essentially, it is an idea in which we have not had the ability to make a real concept due to time, our careers and 200 miles between us. What it has become though, is part of our DNA. We have developed a social responsibility to make a difference every chance we get. I challenge myself, my friends, family and complete strangers to be better every day. I will never sit back and let hate happen.

Children are not born knowing racism. Children are not born judging others. Children are not born thieves, criminals and/or murderers. Children are born with the ability to learn and to love. WE are responsible for teaching and leading our youth.

About a week ago I heard a song by the Black Eyed Peas called “Where Is The Love.” This song hit home, I was like finally we are hearing those with a voice speak about bringing people together. Did you know this song came out in 2003? If you haven’t listened to this song, do it. Read the lyrics, watch the video. Radio stations are playing this song again, celebrities are stepping out and speaking up. It takes more than a song, more than celebrities, more than an idea/concept and a Facebook page.

Where is the love? In order to make a difference, we have to create a system encouraging open communication. We have to educate that knowledge is key and most importantly, to love and respect one another. By feeding into the media, making assumptions based on a 20 second clip and most importantly, HATING…we are failing our youth and each other!

I want to share a short story from the other day when I stopped by the gym. During this time, I was talking with a guy that I had often played basketball with. Another young man (a young black man, not that it matters) that I had seen watching us play a few times walked up joining our conversation. It was obvious that he enjoyed watching us play and had a level of respect for us by the way he cautiously approached, listened and slowly began to talk to us once we acknowledged him. When talking about basketball and teams, etc…he made a comment that he hated his coach. I stopped him asking why he felt he hated his coach. He pretty much explained to me that his coach did not like him and he just hated him back. I spent some time talking to him, challenging him to be a bigger and better person. We ultimately got to the point and came to an agreement that he could still learn from this coach. He could also show his love for the game and teammates to make his relationship with his coach work as this makes him and others around him stronger. Lastly, we discussed not making comments of hating his coach, rather, focusing on what he could do to make the situation better as it impacted more than just him and his coach. Walking away from this conversation, I felt really good because it was obvious that this kid just needed someone to open his mind and teach him to have another perspective. Ultimately, this kid wanted to feel included, to be one…not singled out. I hope that our conversation has a long-lasting impact and he is able to help someone else that may have a similar obstacle down the road.

So…with all of the problems in our world, all of the uncertainty, the HATE…what are you doing to make a difference? Remember the saying “actions speak louder than words.” Well, in today’s world, words are just as strong. Teach others to respect and love others. Hold those accountable when they don’t. Encourage a society of open communication and challenging one another to be better. We cannot be afraid to say white, black, muslim, gays, etc…it does not matter what you or anyone else is. What matters is how we come together as one. Make 1stronger2gether a part of your DNA also because together, we CAN and WILL change the world!

“Where Is The Love?” – Black Eyed Peas


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