Greetings, Global Grind friends,
My life is sweet today. But it wasn't always so. I've had to work hard to get to a place of peace. If you've read any of my books or followed my editorials during my decades as editor-in-chief of Essence, you know that I had plenty drama and lots of healing work to do. What I've come to understand though, is every crisis that comes our way, comes with an assignment. Pain--emotional or physical--is information. It's a call to examine our life and change.
Wish I knew this decades ago when I was a young, single mother and things were falling apart. But in retrospect, what I thought was my lowest ebb opened my way to the high ground--a place from which I would see that life makes no mistakes, that God's got our back, that all of our challenges--if we unpack them and examine them--are gifts sent from beyond.
I hold on to this truth every day in my work as founder and CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, a call to action to every able, stable Black person to put a guiding hand on a vulnerable young person through local, existing youth-support organizations. I left Essence in January 2008 to put mind and heart to building this movement to save a generation. This is how I volunteer my days. And what I learned in my early 20s I try to remember every day: hurt people hurt people. Emotional wellness is the key to our individual and collective happiness and well-being.
The Black community is in deep crisis because Black people are in deep crisis. We are not caring for ourselves well, and therefore our vulnerable children, who've lost so much and are in dream-crushing pain, are suffering on our watch.
· 58percent of all Black fourth graders in the nation are functionally illiterate· 85 percent are reading below grade level.· A Black boy born in 2001 has a 33 percent chance of going to prison in his lifetime.· A million Black males are in prison; 2.4 million Black children have an incarcerated parent.· Murder is the number-one cause of death among our young men. Black children’s fall into poverty and a growing for-profit prison system is faster than our rush to secure them. WE MUST ACT NOW! But we can't do for others what we don't do for ourselves.
Here's my wish for you as you move through 2010--that you will care for yourself well--without hesitation or apology, and give from the overflow..
I offer up this prayer: Make us whole as you are whole, dear God. To your whole, knit our soul and live anew through us each day. Renew us and realign us with the principles of love, and wellness in body, mind and soul. Help us dedicate each day in service to You. Give us a fresh anointing of your Holy Spirit. Let it live in us so we will love and care for ourselves and one another well, and before you penetrating gaze, rescue our beloved children.
Please log on to www.caresmentoring.com to learn about the work of the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 56 cities and to give what you can. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL. We are so blessed to be able.
Happy New Year!
Susan L. Taylor, Founder and CEO National CARES Mentoring MovementEditor-in-Chief Emeritus, Essence Magazinewww.caresmentoring.com