LinkedIn

03 April, 2017

FLASH MOBS, ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY, RENEWED PROSPERITY, AND THE MAYOR'S MENTORSHIP INITIATIVE


            Close your eyes.  Imagine that you are a French national and Founder and CEO of a software corporation headquartered in Saint-Herblain, France which provides products and services to medical professionals and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in three continents. Your company generates at least  $100,000,000,000 annually in revenues.   You are contemplating establishing a physical presence in the American marketplace by purchasing office space in the downtown business district of a northeastern city in the United States.  Three large world-class academic institutions reside in this northeastern city and are located just a “stone’s throw” away from the downtown business district which is where your company’s office will be located.  Townhouses and high-rise apartment buildings share the downtown landscape with multi-storied concrete and glass office towers which will make the commute to work easy for your employees.  If they choose to, they can walk to work!

            Now, your foray into the American marketplace by moving yourself and many of your employees into a brand new downtown office building located in this northeastern city is not just about expanding your company’s bottom line, enhancing its visual identity, and increasing its market share.   You want to contribute to the current and future growth of your new home by establishing technology hubs and developing human capital  in its middle neighborhoods.   It is a strategy that was quite successful in Saint-Herblain, France.  You have every confidence that employing this same strategy in the northeastern city which you, your company, and your employees plan to call home will create the ultimate “win-win” situation.  Yet, at the same time, you are very troubled about the news stories that are being brought to your attention about your new home -- disruptive and sometimes violent flash mobs descending on its downtown business district, its high recidivism rate, and high school students engaged in donnybrooks at public transportation stations – the same stations that some of your employees may use to commute to and from work.  Will one of your employees, through no fault of their own, find themselves in the middle of a violent flash mob or a youthful donnybrook?  If your new home is struggling with a high recidivism rate which, ultimately, reduces resources, will it have sufficient resources to allocate to your company – should the need arise?

            Do you hit the “pause” button and rethink your decision to move your company, yourself, and your employees to the northeastern city in question?  Or, although the risks are glaringly clear, do you move forward with your plans?  What should you do?

            The scenario I just created gives credence to a prevailing school of thought that disruptive and violent flash mobs which cause physical injuries to individuals and massive property damage to businesses; donnybrooks at public transportation stations; and a high recidivism rate are more than just mere public safety, parenting, and social policy issues or a “neighborhood problem” that is playing itself out “downtown”.   It is a scenario that negatively impacts the renewal of prosperity and economic sustainability of an entire city. 

            So, what is the answer?

            One solution lies in the implementation of the Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative, a  component of OPERATION FRESH START™ which is a multi-tiered blueprint for creating pathways to reintegration for formerly incarcerated Men and Women crafted by The Honorable James M. DeLeon, a highly respected and veteran jurist in the Criminal Court Division of Philadelphia’s Municipal Court.  It is a solution that helps to eradicate the rising recidivism rate of a city while simultaneously counseling and guiding “at risk” youths – a number of whom are participants in flash mobs and donnybrooks – all of which helps to free up the City’s resources – resources which can be allocated to attract and retain new businesses, repair a deteriorating infrastructure, improve public education, and reduce the tax burden of citizens. The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative calls for nonviolent offenders to be fully vetted and trained as mentors by organizations that have a successful track record in mentorship training.  Immediately subsequent to successfully completing mentorship training, formerly incarcerated nonviolent offenders – Men and Women – will be employed as mentors to “at-risk” youth in communities throughout the City of Philadelphia. 

          Organizations providing mentorship training to formerly incarcerated Men and Women who are fully vetted nonviolent offenders and have successfully completed training, will also provide them with a counselor.  The same counselor will also be assigned to the family of “at-risk” youths – the mentees.  Mentors, counselors, and family members of the mentees would work together as a team.  At no time would mentors usurp the authority of the mentees’ parent(s) or legal guardian.   The Mentor’s primary and sole role is that of a counselor or guide to the mentee.   Further, the mentor will be required to communicate on a weekly basis with the counselor assigned to him or her and the mentee’s family. 

            Participants in the Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative will receive a review of any pardon or clemency request prior to its submission to ensure that it is accurate and that all factors are complete for consideration in Pardon and Clemency Applications.  Administration of The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative would encompass the generation of a Letter of Understanding between the District Attorney’s Office and the Mayor’s Office laying out the benefits of the Initiative.  Simultaneously, a Letter of Initiative which explains the program will be generated and distributed to any crime victim with the understanding that the victim has the right to approve – in writing – the proposed Mentor’s participation in the Initiative.  Once the Mentor has successfully completed the Initiative, a letter will be generated to the Board of Pardons from the Mayor’s Office personally attesting to this fact.   An understanding will be established with the State Supreme Court that the Mentor is a participant in The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative and a similar understanding will be established with the Governor’s Office.  A “Working Group” consisting of key stakeholders from diverse professional backgrounds stand ready to help implement The Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative by acting as a liaison between communities, organizations providing mentoring training, the Mayor’s Office, and formerly incarcerated individuals – nonviolent offenders -- who are candidates for the Initiative.

          Recurring flash mobs and donnybrooks cannot be “policed” away.  Criminalizing flash mobs and donnybrooks punish the wrongdoers but does not get at the root of the problem.  The root of the problem is a myriad of deeply embedded key challenges – key challenges that our city’s children and youth struggle with daily and for which they do not have proper coping skills.  Fully vetted formerly incarcerated nonviolent offenders who participate in the Mayor’s Mentorship Initiative can provide our children with the coping skills they need to address their key challenges.  It is a key “piece of the puzzle” to renewing prosperity and creating economic sustainability for everyone.

LOVE IS IT! : MR. CARRY GREAVES

Love is powerful! Love is secure within itself. Love never abandons. Love is the truth. Love is inextinguishable. Out of love comes peace and a life worth living. But love never dies. So the probability for love to grow increases exponentially when you love yourself more each day.


Love is to act and not to love is to surrender one’s life. There is no sedative for love but to continue to love from the heart. Again, love is powerful. Love is secure. So when you are loved, you become nourished. And when you love, you become the nourisher. You love, therefore, you live. And with love comes healing.


Love is the gateway to all possibilities. Love is freedom. But if you don’t know the value of love, you will wind up losing it. Love is the journey, not the end result. Love is the rhythm of the present. So sing your song. Dance your dance. To love, offsets the hate that surrounds you and allows you to see things for the way they are and not what they appear to be.


Love is creative. But without love, there is nothing. And the lack of love is darker than the deepest part of the ocean. Love lies in deeds. So be a woman and a man of action. Love never divides and conquers. Love unites. The heartbeat of love never stops beating or breathing. Love is the oxygen of the soul.


Love is the connection of hearts. Love makes you smile and happy. It makes you jump for joy. Jubilee! Love is Queen. Love is King. Love is supreme. But love and disrespect can never be friends. Mistreatment, pain, and violence nullify love.


Love is participation. Love is not a spectator. Love is the path. Love is the way. And yesterday came and went, and tomorrow hasn’t come yet. But Love is, was, and always will be. Love is supportive. Love is instrumental in bringing about the change that we desire and surely need. Love is gentle. So celebrate love. Get to know love. Open your heart to love. Give love. And don’t be afraid to love, because at the end of the day, love is the key.


Love is the very breath of life. Love gives comfort. Love can heal a broken heart – a broken spirit. Discover love and feel its power. Love will never misguide you. Love is like the Sphinx against the desert wind. But what can one do to attain love? Love thyself. One may teach you about the science of life, but no one can teach you about love. Love arises from within. Nurture it with gentleness. Water it with consistency and Love will flourish.


Love! Try it for once instead of wasting time and energy on hating. Feel the difference. See the difference. Become the person that someone wants to love. Give love, even if it’s not reciprocated. Grow into love. Grow with love. And you will say to yourself: “I never knew love like this before.”
__________
MR. CARRY GREAVES is the Empowerment Coordinator for International Men's Day, Chair - International Men's Day "Healing And Repatriation" Initiative, a Relationship and Self-Empowerment Guru, published free-lance journalist, poet, and Senior Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R).

THE EVIL OF GOODNESS: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.

I am neither a theologian nor a philosopher but often wonder: What constitutes good and evil, positive or negative? What manner of persons would belong in these categories of moral and immoral? There is an obvious dichotomy and we live in a seemingly binary world but many do not acknowledge or are oblivious to the acceptance of the many shades of evil and goodness.


Should the State (government) decide what is right and wrong or should each citizen make that decision? Likewise, would a secular government possess the authority to eradicate or change religious practices or customs?


If the moral choice of an individual conflicts with that of the government, what should be the option or penalty? The individual’s freedom is important in a democracy and a democratically elected government also has a vital role.


In 2016, there were 462 murders in Trinidad and Tobago. This is a relatively high number in a small population of approximately 1.4 million persons. It is easy to argue that those who committed these acts would be labelled as “evil”. The debatable question is: Would those persons who did not act to prevent these murders be considered evil? Should the security forces (police and army) and the ruling government be considered evil because they did not provide sufficient security for citizens? Many citizens, who voted for the government, remained quiet and probably did not want to embarrass the politicians. Or maybe citizens had become complacent and grown accustomed to the regular reports of murders.


Those citizens, who read and heard the reports of heinous crimes, believed themselves to be law-abiding and good persons. Many (including myself) have a sense of goodness that we are living relatively decent lives. We can ignore the evil especially when it does not directly affect our lives. If someone is kidnapped or robbed, and not related to us or not within our circle of friends, then we can continue living (or surviving) without any sign of remorse or guilty conscience.


Is this phenomenon occurring in other countries across the globe? Yes, many of us remain in our comfort zones and do not want to publicly voice our displeasure or display any sign of discontent. Why? There is the fear of repercussions such as being jailed, victimized, killed, or the loss of a job. We want to remain within our safe comfort zones and certainly do not want to disturb the status quo. We met certain systems and ideologies and will leave this world without questioning or attempting to change these systems and ideologies. This is partly the reason why social problems as unemployment and poverty exist. We do not want to drastically disturb our environment or surroundings and appear different, confrontational, anti-government, radical, erratic, or odd.


Many of us continue our daily routine as if we are robots or remain silent as plants. An illustration is the manner in which we have dealt with traffic on the roadways. During rush hour, many sit in their vehicles and complain. But they would neither write to their political representative nor voice their opinion in a newspaper. Some vent their disgust in social media (Facebook, Twitter). They lose valuable time idling in traffic and do not make an effort to change the scenario. This is time that cannot be regained, it is gone and useless. The government either does not care or fails to realize the loss in human productivity. What is the lesson that is learned? It’s a simple lesson that is repeated -- we have learned to accept traffic as normal or congestion on the subway. Similarly, we have conditioned our minds to accept murders and serious crimes as normal and part of our existence.


However, we can accept limited changes in our lives. These include moving to a new apartment, making a new friend, marriage, death of a relative, migrating, travelling to a new country, divorce and obtaining a job. The reason that we accept and adapt to these changes is that we regularly witness or experience these changes.


What should be our stance on controversial issues such as abortion? Is there a right and wrong stance? For instance, a teenager who is raped and then becomes pregnant would want to have an abortion. Should the act of abortion, as a result of rape, be considered sinful or wrong? A woman who has a serious medical condition and her life is at risk or has a large family would consider abortion. Should she have control of her body to make the choice or should she be influenced or guided by government legislation or religious law? The use of marijuana would be considered wrong by some but some persons use medicinal purposes. There is a difference between recreational and medicinal purposes. Who is correct?


C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity” seems accurate in stating:   “We humans call one thing good and another thing bad. But according to some people that is merely our human point of view. These people would say that the wiser you become, the less you would want to call anything good or bad, and the more clearly you would see that everything is good in one way and bad in another, and that nothing could have been different.”
_________
JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D. is the Founder of International Men's Day (www.imd-global.org),  a Gender Issues Thought Leader, faculty member in the History Department of the University of West Indies, prolific author, and Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R).

ANGEL OF DEATH: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.

YOU COME AGAIN TO TORTURE HUMANITY, YOUR QUERULOUS DEMEANOR ROBS ANOTHER FAMILY. YOUR TOUCH BRINGS MALODOROUS AILMENTS. WHY DID ...