I am still watching, learning, and becoming.
I’ve often wondered what it would mean to stand among a history maker…to be hugged by a crowd of engaged and hopeful listeners as he or she used their voice to project the perfectly articulated words expressing passion for people and solutions for problems.
What would it feel like to hear each sentence of a historical speech so carefully constructed that it gives the audience the kind of inspiration that could uplift them for a lifetime in their individual pursuits of achieving dreams and in their collective efforts to make their communities the best places to live, diverse and inclusive of all?
I have admired history for the stories preserved and retold, and for the inspiration they continue to deliver even decades after debut. The rebirth of every good, steadfast message makes my heart beat fast with anticipation for what will come, if we just continue to believe…just continue to achieve.
Some of the greatest history makers didn’t just talk about love, but also the hate that prompted their desire to stand on a platform and change the conversation.
My admirations are not without intense consideration for the imbalance, pervasive unfairness, and painful disparities communities experienced before the oratorical recognitions that redirected them a new way forward.
I met Joshua Simmons after joining the Chamber of Commerce in my home city of Coral Springs, Florida. He was fiery in his campaign drive and persistent with his message. He provided me with my first glimpse at how political involvement can improve lives and sustain positive growth when the right people carefully contemplate whether they’ve been called to serve others and if so, whether they are prepared to listen, learn, and lead as called upon.
On November 27th, 2018, I was just one of many whose eyes were locked in on the newly sworn Coral Springs Commissioner, Joshua Simmons, as he stood with unassuming confidence and delivered his formal acceptance speech to the constituents of Coral Springs and supporting leaders, mentors, dignitaries, business owners, family members, and friends. In candor, I was not only there for Joshua, but selfishly for me. I finally had an opportunity to stand among a history maker who not only earned my respect, but who became a friend whose vision I support, defend, and share. And there I was, anxiously hoping to feel the kind of inspirational words that would uplift me for my lifetime in my personal pursuits for achievement and my collaborative efforts to make Coral Springs the diverse and inclusive community that will ensure it is the best place to live for my children, my husband, my neighbors, and me.
Among all the beautiful stories and sentiments shared, I knew I felt the right moment when he asked us to consciously consider “each individual’s journey to this city.” Our immersion in daily routines can organically disrupt our awareness, but by consciously rebuking this disruption, we can step into a peak of gratitude and discover who our neighbors are, what they need, what they care about, and why they’re here. And the power of this consciousness, this level of awareness, is what will change the things that no longer work, improve the things that need updating, and devise the platforms that will launch us forward into a realm of possibilities for everyone to succeed.
I went home after Commissioner Simmons delivered his emotionally powerful speech and I thought about my journey to this city nearly two and a half years ago, preceded by my journey to South Florida seven years prior. I contemplated all the hardships, struggles, and roadblocks experienced before settling into our first home. I revisited all the reasons we chose Coral Springs to raise our kids and how thankful I was for the garage where I started my business. I examined many of the wonderful blessings living here has brought to our lives including being cared for during extended month-long stays in the city’s hotels after our house flooded, learning from promising youth pained by various tragedies while volunteering for Scott Brook’s Project Leadership programs, and gaining friendships with some of the most innovative business and community leaders in the city.
All of this reflection and gratitude reminded me three things: (1) there is power in living in a city that cares about its residents, (2) there is value in getting to know those who lead the city you love, and (3) there are a lifetime of benefits to just getting involved.
Now I know what it’s like to stand among a history maker, like Commissioner Joshua Simmons who became the first African-American Commissioner ever elected in Coral Springs.
Now I know what it’s like to be hugged by a crowd as we hear and feel the powerful words spoken by a history maker, together.
Now I know I don’t just love it. I want more of it. I desire it. I will have it.
Are you watching, learning, and becoming?
Encourage yourself to stand among the history makers.
Receive the inspiration you need to uplift you as you move a new way forward.