Friday, June 08, 2012

Lebron James & Nonprofit Thursdays

“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”
 — Mary McLeod Bethune
  • • •

I got home last night after a long and interesting day, flipped on the TV to catch Game 6 of the Celtics-Heat battle for the NBA Eastern Conference championship.  Wow!

It took less than two seconds of viewing to see there was a new LeBron James in the world. Focused. Determined. There was an urgency, a sustained energy, and an inner confidence in the man’s play that I had never seen before.

I guess my father was right. When I was about seventeen or so, I asked him “how do you know when you have become a man?” I found his reply Sphinx-like at the time: “You’ll know when you get there.”

LeBron James was a kid as a Cleveland Cavalier. He was incredibly more talented than his teammates, with immensely greater physical gifts, and a much higher basketball intelligence. He said a lot of the right things because he had learned them but they came more from his head than his heart. He didn’t own them.

Not until last night.

Not until, facing elimination from the post-season for the third time in recent years [twice as a Cavalier], he had to screw his courage to the sticking point, adopt a no-excuse attitude, and perform.

And perform he did. He never let up, never came off the court, never hesitated even for a moment, and by dint of his performance led his team to victory in his best game ever. The difference was not his accuracy, which was uncanny, but his attitude.

LeBron reached adulthood last night.
  • • •

NonProfit Thursday

We are a day late this week but as we constantly tell the wife, eighty percent of success in life is showing up. And better late than never.

[Note: eighty percent is not always good enough.]

But we can’t omit reporting on some stuff coming up this week. To begin with, there’s tomorrow’s Parade the Circle. Since my children are long since grown and gone, I’ve never really been a fan of the event, and not even sure if I have ever attended. But, somehow, learning recently that 75,000 people now attend this free event annually, my curiosity has been spiked. 

If you have similarly been in the dark, or want to learn more, check here and/or here.

The free, rain or shine event kicks off at 11AM and runs until 4PM.
 • • •

NCNW has one of the most illustrious pedigrees of all the ethnic affinity groups in our community. It was founded in 1935 as an “organization of organizations” by Mary McLeod Bethune [1875-1935], an adviser to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and a confidante of his wife Eleanor. 
Bethune was succeeded as the Council’s leader by her protégé Dorothy Height, a powerful force in her own right, on par with but often overlooked as a notch below the so-called Big Six civil rights leaders: John Lewis (SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee); Whitney Young (National Urban League); A. Philip Randolph; Martin Luther King, Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference); James Farmer (CORE, the Congress of Racial Equality); and Roy Wilkins (NAACP). 

Bethune’s story is a remarkable one. She was the 15th of 17 children born to freed slaves; several of her older siblings were born into slavery, though she herself arrived after Emancipation. She opened a school for girls in Daytona Beach, Florida when she was only 29 herself. That school, which opened on $1.50 and faith in God”, and had five girl students ages 8 to 10, has evolved into Bethune-Cookman College.

Bethune famously crafted a Last Will and Testament as a part of her enduring legacy to black people. Its last bequest:

I leave you, finally, a responsibility to our young people.
The world around us really belongs to youth; for youth will take over its future management.

The entire document, which you can read here, is worthy of reading and incorporating into your life.

The Cleveland NCNW holds its annual Legacy Luncheon tomorrow at the Manor Party Center, 24111 Rockwell Ave, in Euclid.

Cleveland’s own Jean Murrell Capers will be honored. Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Pinkey S. Carr is the luncheon speaker. For information call 216.253.8913.
 • • •

Finally, I was a panelist on a recent Civic Commons radio show about books that changed our lives. Also on the panel were Richmond Heights councilwoman Miesha Headen and Michael Gill, editor of Collective Arts Network Journal. Halfway through the show you can hear me a bit from my selection. You can find the podcast here.

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