Sunday, July 27, 2008

COP 24/7: Road Tested & Battle Ready

Special Sunday Edition

It's all over but the shouting as the saying goes. But here in the STL, the National Association of Black and White Men's 28th convention folds it's big tent until July 29, 2009 in Philadelphia, PA. During last evenings Masquerade Ball, Men of All Colors Together ( MACT-Philadelphia) revealed their scion call to members and allies about, "A Blueprint for Change: Yes, we can, together!" As I reflect over the past week, I have mixed emotions that I'll be examining as I prepare for next years convention as well as my reasoning for being apart this organization with the radical namesake. On various occasions during this week I inquired with other members both short term and long standing as to the health of the group. I heard a variety of assessments tinged with colorful analogies, raw emotion, optimistic candor and of course, "dishy mish-mash," that comes with the package. I concluded that much has happened for better or worse over the years. This is my fourth convention since my first in Columbus, OH(1983) where I found this group of unique individuals claiming a mission statement that I too felt a need to embrace. That year members sang Happy Birthday to me plus awarded me a special Achievement Award( which is still proudly showcased in my home office) as I was trying to form a Little Rock chapter. In 1985, Los Angeles hosted and I wasn't prepared for the "loftiness" of it all. Often having a "fish out of water" feeling especially when some conventioneers characterized myself as some type of hillbilly or back wood wonk who had stumbled upon them. I remember hearing some remarking, "did you take a crop duster to get here?" Just for the record, Arkansas is not so remote that there's not the basic typical modes of transportation that will allow you to travel. Yes Virgina, we can even travel globally, thank you very much. Of course, I could've taken my marbles and left the scene of the crime, but I continued to plow into the organizations information and purpose. Later actually living with it's founder Emeritus, Michael Smith in San Francisco. Over the years my attendance wained but I always tried to stay current on the groups activities. But to my surprise my new found family never outreached or rarely contacted me to keep me motivated or inquiring why I had not attended a conference lately. Believe it or not, I did have to send a e-mail to key people to get acknowledged about this years events who did finally contact me personally to answer questions. I really appreciated it and want them to know that this a key(blue print) element to keeping folks engaged. Even though I had not sought a leadership position or demonstrated a DIVA charged persona, I still cared, always wanting the best for BWMT. All I needed from them was to ask me or seek my expertise which is another valuable(blue print) element of engagement. As I sign off from convention 08, I have high hopes for the newly elected leadership and MACT-Philly for next year. I'll be unfolding my thoughts in this forum that may help craft that blue print for change. I'm packed and Amtrack bound for Little Rock. Keep the light on.....

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