OPINION: Narrowing the Gap in West Louisville Begins In the Minds, Hearts of Inner City Residents



MICHAEL R. HICKS – I was born and raised in Louisville. I have gained a lot of experience in a number of different fields and subjects and I’ve always strived to stay curious. As a result, I hope to occasionally use this space on the Saturday Morning Solutions website to share some information that can be of value to readers and their efforts to improve their communities.

My experience has taught me that it is a struggle for many community-minded people to mentally prepare for the mission of doing for themselves, their people, their communities and their future.

This demands that we organize how we seek to live, think and act upon reaching the goals that we seek to accomplish.

With that in mind, let us order our steps and think about how we want to work toward improving the quality of life, health and economic empowerment of West Louisville – with a 21st century global economy as our backdrop.

So let us consider this a journey. One that we take together as we travel to the destination of neighborhoods with:

* Less crime

* More positive entrepreneurial and business development

* Physically improved places and spaces

* Better and highly educated children

* And citizens who are prepared to flourish in a globalized world economy who have knowledge-of-self, but are prepared to compete and interact with anybody and everybody in the world

How do we actualize our dreams and wishes into a concrete plan?

We have to learn how to create a self-supporting system that works for our dreams and helps turn our dreams into a reality. This is best accomplished through the creation of patterns, practices and cultures.

We also need to remember the elders, particularly in recognizing the truism “you are what you eat” is prophetic and practical indeed.

It is impossible to empower a people that are intoxicated and filled with junk food, whether you are putting it your mouth or your ears. Elijah Muhammad presented us with “How To Eat to Live” decades ago and what we put in our mouths is a part of the problem. A body filled with junk food with fat slowly but surely clogging your veins and arteries makes it difficult to change what you want changed for the better.

What we put into our minds matters as well. A mind intoxicated with junk ideas based upon chaos, hedonism and death is just as viciously draining and destructive as the consumption of bad food.

You have urban radio stations making their living promoting anti-women music, criminal and prison culture, tension, conflict, drama and casual sex. Unfortunately, it is all designed to pull you away from doing for yourself.

A mind intoxicated with conflict, dysfunction, violence and the sound of music that is reflective of commercial radio playlists needs to be immediately rewired.

How you treat yourself and love yourself is the most basic level of personal empowerment and transforming the negative thoughts of people in our community is a necessary step that ultimately will matter more than any economic gestures.

If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you. Distance yourself from those who work to stunt and block your dreams, even if they are among your so-called “loved ones.”

What it comes down to is determining if they support your vision and your work towards that or not? If not, make changes. Find like-minded seekers looking for opportunities to build and grow.

We at Narrow The Gap! strive to be solution-finders and a solution-providers. We do not own the truth, we do not automatically have all of the answers, but we are in the constant pursuit of both best practices and excellence in everything that we do.

Let’s set the tone on how our communities operate. Let’s seriously attempt to love ourselves and our people in spite of our current shortcomings. We have a purpose and place in this world and it is up to us to determine it!

We are going to use this journey with the Saturday Morning Solutions team to (1) find practices and patterns that help us become more efficient in reaching common goals, (2) learn how to measure our results to know how effective we have been and (3) make necessary adjustments to improve our effectiveness.

As we do this, please consider joining and supporting a Black-owned, Black-operated community-focused institution. We have to organize our collective positive efforts to develop a culture of innovation.

Humans need an aspiring goal – the pursuit of efforts that are larger than themselves. When you do not see the leadership that you believe that you need, become the leader that you want to see.

Michael Hicks

Michael R. Hicks is the webmaster of the information and news blog narrowthegap.org and the owner of Hinds-Limestone County Consulting, a technology solutions and organizational development company.

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