07Feb

It’s Not Just About Prison Education

“What can I do?”

Many people ask themselves or others the question above because they want to see the world change for the better, but feel overwhelmed or insignificant in the face of tremendous societal problems. They may feel their efforts will be wasted or unfruitful. I use to ask myself the question until someone pointed out that in many cases, the people who changed the world were people who cared enough to make a difference. People like Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Muhammad Ali and so many others. They just did their part with conviction.

I would have to say that I am most convicted about helping people and addressing injustice to bring about Justice. After much  trial and error, I discovered my gift for speaking and now use this gift to speak for those who have no voice and attempt to bring Justice to their plight.

Although much of my work is regarding prison education and reform, I also have been fortunate to be a Moderator for community gatherings regarding a myriad of issues including police misconduct, Islamophobia, racism, gun control, national policies and  immigration.

One of the organizations that I have worked with is the YWCA (Pasadena-Foothill Branch) as the Moderator of their Talking the Talk community events. This video encapsulates the essence of what I do as a Moderator and my wonderful experience with the Talking the Talk events. Make no Mistake. We don’t just “Talk the Talk”, we “walk the walk” providing participants with  Call to Action opportunities and the “Know Your Rights” segment.

What does a Moderator do? My role as a Moderator is important in the process of communities, large and small, addressing and seeking solutions to the issues affecting them in a productive and equitable manner. It is my responsibility to set the tone and mood, establish the ground rules (no name calling, raise hand to be recognized to speak, stay on topic, etc.), ask questions of panelists or experts to build a basic foundation for the discussion and stay on time for the various aspects of the event. I have to maintain a keen level of objectivity allowing a “safe” space for participants in the event to express different levels of understanding and honest opinions. I always leave learning much more about the topic and what actions I can take then when I walked in the door.

If what I have blogged about or anything in the video stir you in any way, and you feel called to serve, I encourage you to believe in the power of One and get involved in matters that are important to you. there are many great organizations out there making a difference in your community and throughout the world. The YWCA is a phenomenal organization to partner with and they have dozens of ways for you to participate.

At the end of the day, do something and get involved. You’ll be glad you did.