As we enter into 2020, as a community, let’s reflect on few things. Life is short but we can make it count for something bigger than ourselves. Something that will outlive us. Something the prosperity will remember you for.
What is man o Lord that you’re so mindful of? You were created for something greater than yourself and your family. You created to be a blessing to others. You’re a tool in God’s hands to affect humanity. There’s no one like you throughout the world. No one can become you no matter how hard they try. You are uniquely formed to do unique things. You have a choice to make, however. It’s in how you want to be remembered when you a long gone. What do you want to be remembered for? The builder or the destroyer? The one who gathers or the one who scatters what others have gathered?
Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself these questions; who am I? What do I want? Why am I here at this very moment? I do not believe in coincidence. We are here for such a time as this for a reason. Make it count for something. Let the injustice and racism spur you to something great. Associate yourself with community builders and fellow citizens who care deeply about service. Be a servant leader and lead by example.
Nelson Mandela once said; It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”
ACAO is fortunate to have leaders who have a real following and exhibit the character of servanthood. I am talking about leaders who answer the 3 am phone calls from people other than their family members. Yes, I am talking about community leaders who unfortunately endure hardship for others, leaders who sometimes have to bury the dead in their communities. That is unfortunate, but that is what I have seen many of you do. You comfort widows and their families. Many times, you have to negotiate to get relief for a family whose breadwinner passed interstate. And you do it gracefully without grumblings and without asking for recognition. You have demonstrated the spirit of a servant leader over and over. Yes. You do it quietly without much fanfare. You are my heroes and heroines.
As a human, you sometimes second guess yourself. You sometimes ask; why am I doing this or that? Sometimes, it looks like giving up is the easy option. But you have resisted the noise, the distraction, and sometimes the ungrateful community you lead. You have always looked at the big picture. You have remained when others have given up because of the noise from those whose mission is to destroy and scatter. Make it count, keep your eyes on the prize, hold on.
For those who are getting saddled by noise, the insults, and manufactured chaos, I dare you to be strong. It is never about you. Keep your eyes on the prize. Hold on. Get inspired by the works of our great men and women of old, the character of their perseverance and the content of their hearts. You can do it. You are my hero and heroine.
I urge you all to continue the good work. You know it is never about you. It is about our children. The opposite of poverty they say is not wealth, it is justice. This justice is denied to our people because of the colour of their skin or where they came from. If no one has told you, hear it from me today, you’re making a big difference. I know you may not see the results of your efforts but believe me, you’re a big deal.
Some of you have planted many seeds than you can count. God is bringing the increase. Like those who came before us, we may never live to see the fruits but you continue to plant them anyway. Your efforts are multiplied when you partner with like-minded people. That is where ACAO comes in. This is not just a WhatsApp platform for community building, it is a powerful movement capable of changing the Canadian landscape for good. Yes, there is nothing we cannot do if we come together with the prize in mind. Those who have received much, much is required of them. You have received much, make it count.
Our community has great people doing amazing work. Let’s support each other. Let’s unite and work to defeat the common enemy, “the System”. We are not each other’s enemy, we are friends, we are a community with shared history and promise. The reality is that there are good people, builders here but sadly we also have those who have no greater vision beyond their selfish dreams of wanting to be famous. Don’t aspire to be famous. Aspire to be great. Serve with dignity. Be respectful and give people spaces to also flourish. Let your words be seasoned with salt. Build people up with your words. Encourage one another. Live peacefully and let others live.
As you look yourself in the mirror and reevaluate your purpose and ask yourself critical questions, remember it is never about you. Keep up the good spirit and let’s join hands to fight for our children and our children’s children. Let’s be optimistic.
Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.” Nelson Mandela.
IGNORE the NOISE, Keep your eyes on the Prize, Hold on.
Happy New Year!
From your servant, Hector.
About the writer
Hector Addison is the Resource Coordinator for the African Canadian Associations of Ottawa (ACAO).