On this Christmas Eve my one wish is that we as a society return to believing in ourselves and our community. To stop looking for a chance to use race to excuse our own actions and to own what we do and learn from it and discover how we can move on in life as better individuals. God knows I have never been seen as an angel nor have I ever claimed to be one. But each experience in my 55 years and 3 months has played a vital role in who I am today and who I want to become before this journey called life comes to its end.
My wish is that we strive not to hold the past against someone but that we do what a good friend and man I respect (Foster Friess) told me the first time I met and interviewed him: "I would rather not concern myself with ones past but instead see the potential they have for today and the future," that has stuck with me ever since that warm June day in Chicago, IL in 2012 and I try to remind those I come in contact with that it is what you can do today and tomorrow that matters most.
Every effort and gathering in this community in the 2 years that I have been here has always been to bring people together and to encourage every one to strive to be what we all want to be, which is good neighbors and compassionate and supportive people. To find ways to work together to make our community one to be proud of and one where our children feel safe and want to make their life the best that it can be. Where we encourage our kids to dream big and strive to learn and work hard to make their dreams come true. To show them they can be the next Steve Jobs; John Glenn; Denzel Washington, Michael Jackson; Elon Musk; or whoever or whatever they strive to become.
My wish for this Christmas means that I as well as each of you will have to spend every day remembering to be kind, caring, supportive and sometimes down right pushy to make that wish come true. To be conscious of what you say and do in front of your kids, to hug them every night, to know where they are and what they are doing. Together we will see a wish come true.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Photo's by Nadeane Ellicott; Hope Guilford; and Laura Anders Kutryb