Saturday, June 20, 2020

Systems Approach. Where do we go from here! Return to Business As Usual? June 2020


Charles,

I wish you and all other fathers across the member network a peaceful weekend. It's a sad irony that this Father's Day weekend it's men and fathers who are once again catalysts at the focal point of a spiraling crisis across the nation. 

You are absolutely correct, we need more black leaders in the community and political spheres to grow a pair (above or below the waist) and address the elephant in the room- or continue to burrow heads into the sand like Ostrich knowing that in doing so we repeatedly leave our rectums exposed for the next swift kick.  

Your comments were valid and needed. these last few weeks you've made me step away again from this ***********, to focus on the social turmoil and step on the soap box for a minute. Not sure how or where what I have to say below needs to go- maybe it takes no sense and needs to go nowhere but i'll say what has crossed my mind:

Rage Against the Machine

We already know there will be more incidents like Mr. Floyd and that the fatal outcome number will most likely go up before year end.  Well...Then what?  

Simply "raging against the machine"  is like an angry back alley brawler versus an equally angry wing chun fighter , or sitting in a rocking chair and causing it to motion in a rapid, violent fashion- sure it looks intimidating and gives us something visible and focusing to do and address (and at face value suggests forward progress) - but in reality it doesn't get you very far [or to the destination where you really want to end up]. 

The Civic Engagement crises we are seeing playing out nationwide are not simply matters of black and white.

The protest groups and this groundswell of energy fueled by collective exasperation, disenchantment and frustration needs to be directed towards the "system" and not the bright shiny object in the room (i.e. the singular, most senior elected individuals as the focusing point).

Let's kick the ballistics and break it down for a moment. I would dare to say that oftentimes, it is the most unseen and less sexy "invisible" parts that are oftentimes the critical pathway and parts of any said system's operational existence and sustainment-  NOT the more obvious bigger, visible parts dangled in front of us in the middle of the room. 

Are the most critical and key components that are somewhat central to our daily lives, ruled and persist solely by their largest most visible parts? 

Was it the largest most prominent part on the  Columbia and Challenger Space Shuttles solely responsible for those shuttle systems' failures? 

How about Exxon Valdez?, 

Bhopal? 

If these are too many "inhuman" systems for comparative analysis- for those of us old enough to have lived during it and remember- how about Apartheid and the Rwandan Genocide?  Organizational, political and governmental systems with human parts- all black actors and all white actors as the bright shiny visible focal points in leading roles if I recall. 

Automotive systems, Biological systems, HVACs, even the lowly watch sitting on most of our wrists each day or the new normal of supercomputers resting in our hands and pockets that we affectionately refer to as smartphones.

Organizational systems also have similar underlying engineering, processes and key parts that are more critical than popular/focusing components marketed to us. 

We need to start viewing positions such as City Mayors, CEOs, Chiefs, Governors, Senators, University Presidents and Faculty Deans  as just that- position-parts - sexy, bright, shiny and bedazzling parts YES, but still just a convenient part dangled in front of us by news and media as the source and fastest solution to a cure all for the worst that ails us

Raging against a mayor, a dean, or a CEO until we get the inevitable tokenistic gesture of a resignation or dismissal- might cosmetically cover a polarizing blemish or cure a symptom- it does not even begin to address the core problem.  

Look beyond the sexy headlines, photo ops and primetime press coverages. Start looking at, assessing, and pursuing civic engagement with the less sexy, smaller, but ultimately more important local parts that tie into the bigger sociopolitical components of the community and national systems.

Same Church, Different Pew

I have honestly lost count of how many times over at least the past 5 decades we have seen the same tragedies play out in what were once in their own space in history the newer and most fedup, disgusted and "ready for real change" action generations of the past. I'll most likely lose count of how many times it plays out in the months and years after this currently salient and focusing tragedy devolves into nothing more than a fleeting memory. 

What I do know is that if our newest iteration of the "ready for real change" younger generation of the 21st century and the future does nothing more than indulge in the telegraphed moves of physical raging against the machine, then just like wing chun in the alley, the brawling exuberance of angry energy will be deflected to a different spot until sheer exhaustion sets in and they move on. Then we'll be right back where we started - "Much ado about nothing".

George Floyd's brother's words and appeal may have been drowned out by a desire to rage against the machine; but he was right-  It's past time that people start to think ahead and fight with the head and the pen. Otherwise, grab your popcorn, grab your placards and start telling your kids the bedtime story that their grandkids are going to be doing the same exact things that generations before them did and they too will also be clutching to hope and expecting a miraculously different, lasting outcome. Incrementalism is not a godsend - and neither is the rote brute force of electro shocking any system into instantaneous long lasting change for the better. 

We need to get serious and figure this out. Even if we never shake hands and coalesce. Even when the person that looks like us treats us far worse than the person who doesn't look like us; we all still have to recognize each other's right to live life (not just endure it) and coexist under this one blue sky.

Real Systemic Change does not happen overnight and it often will not happen within any one political administrative term. 

Hope is a promise - NOT a strategy.




On Mon, Jun 15, 2020 at 6:07 AM BEMA Int <bema@blackemergmanagersassociation.org> wrote:
Nonviolent Resistance Across the Board

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today.  We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. 

In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.  Procrastination is still the thief of time.  Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity.  This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.”  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Where Are We Going From Here:  Chaos or Community’.

Protests should start with your lowest level representatives in your community not just your local Mayors or Governor’s residence.

Budget allocation and approval also involves your lowest level elected representative in your communities from L.A., Chicago, Houston, Boston, D.C., and other jurisdictions.  Your Alderman, Neighborhood Council members, County\City Council members, Judges, etc. 

For the District of Columbia.  Even to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG).

Know the purse strings.
Our elected officials are all part of the community, the 'Whole Community' in the system and process.



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 .      
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“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today.  We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. 
In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.  Procrastination is still the thief of time.  Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity.  This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos or community.”   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Where Are We Going From Here:  Chaos or Community’.

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