CLCI Discusses BLM & Our Coaches Share Their Stories & Thoughts.

Updated: Jul 2

Our coaches share their experiences, their hope & their stories as we discuss the ever prevalent & sometimes divisive topic of BLM. What it means to be anti-racist & to acknowledge, empathize & support one another.


Our staff and a group of CLCI Grads discuss BLM (Black Lives Matter) and what it means to each of us. Prior to our discussion, we were all tasked with developing a piece of literature that embodied BLM to each of us, we speak on those mentioned pieces of literature which you can check out down below! We focus the conversation around our personal experiences and present ways in which we can support one another during as the world is experiencing change and transformation. What people can do to assist in creating a world free from racism. As one of the guests said "It's not enough to not be racist, we must be anti-racist," meaning we must do our part to speak up when we see injustice in our world. As trained life coaches, we give a coaches guide & perspective on this topic.


The complete pieces of work are listed below. But we wanted to share some highlights of the wonderful pieces of literature created by our coaches & family members.


From Jerome LeDuff Jr. Master Certified Life Coach, CLCI staff member & family.

"It was uncomfortable for me to say, I didn't understand much of it at first, I did not want to misrepresent what it stood for. Over the last few years, though, I've come to understand what BLM means to me.
For me, it's a task of awakening, a movement against injustice, particularly injustices taking place within my own community.
It's a calling to advocate for something bigger than that of just myself and those closest to me.
It's about being a role model for MY generation, to aid those around me who are in need and asking for support from those who are in a position to aid.
It's about breaking barriers that have not yet been broken based on comfortability and personal solace, for my generation and myself to see to it now and into our future.
It's about creating dialogue too profound to ignore, for all injustices across the nation. Eventually, hopefully, creating dialogue and change for injustices across the globe.
It's about implementing change as a way of life, not just once or twice. Change requires persistence & consistency.
For now, specifically, I focus my attention on the community I represent & the lives who's pain I feel and cries who I hear, the fears I hold. I'm speaking about what's been happening for generations, now, and in front of me.
Black Lives Matter is not only me saying, we too matter. It's me also saying something can be done about the lives that haven't seemed to matter to me.
What can you do? Stand with me in acknowledgment, understand that you may not understand. Understand what I know you can, that change is painful.
What can you do? Allow me to stand next to you & know that I am not on my own. Allow me to see you as an ally.
What can't you do? I ask that you don't dismiss my fear as irrational. I ask that you do not remain silent.
I hope that one day that I can simply be a sightseer, alone, without concern of being suspicious.
I hope that one day I can freely run alongside a family without the thought of crossing the street to shield them from the concern of my evening jog.
I hope that one day I don't have to worry that a traffic stop, for not wearing my seatbelt, inherently puts my life at risk.
I am afraid, based on the behavior of our history, that if kept quiet nothing can or will be done. So with that said, Black Lives Matter."

Excerpt from artist, Master Certified Life Coach, alumni & family member, Tracy Wilson's

America- A Dream Deferred:

"As coaches we have a duty to roll up our sleeves and take action. We should be on the front lines of guiding America into its dream; and ushering in the day where America can truly be great for all people. We can help by creating safe spaces for positive conversations on diversity and race to bring forth healing and solutions. We can also connect and work together with other coaches to educate and promote unity within our communities. We have platforms where people look to us for guidance and what we say and share matters. We are the unifiers that can help bring people together. Together, we are the 'gold' to help mend these broken pieces within America where it can truly function on its principles and beliefs of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people."


Excerpt from retired U.S. Army Veteren, Master Certified Life Coach, alumni & family member Dwayne Davis

"Life Coaches can help by standing with BLM. Coaches can set examples and be "change agents" for those that have an unconscious and conscious bias with Black Lives.
Coaches can also offer services to uplift and guide Black Lives to achieve dreams and goals.
People can get involved by educating themselves in the systemic racism that has caused and sustain these issues of conscious and unconscious bias.
People can get involved by having open honest communication of what our history of Racism against Blacks has been and still currently displays.
My hopes are to hold people accountable for unfair treatment, racist attitudes and behaviors and live in unity."

Artist, Master Certified Life Coach, alumni & family Terri-Sue Hill's poem


I Can’t Breathe

I can’t breathe

when I know that my grandfather had to send his family to the back of their

house as the KKK rode on horseback through their neighborhood, terrorizing

the residents and burning crosses, as he sat at the living room window to

guard and protect his family.

I can’t breathe-

knowing that my grandmother shielded my mother and her siblings as they

shook in fear but dared not to cry in fear of being heard-

Think about it

Wanting to cry out, yet fearing to be heard

Wanting to be heard, knowing that those who care won’t hear

and those who hear won’t care

I can’t breathe

knowing that my father served, protected, and defended our nation, only to be made to go back to the lines for food or to receive care, based on his race-

when upon coming home, denied a job based on his race-

or denied the freedom to live in certain neighborhoods,

or denied going to a certain school,

or denied eating at a restaurant,

or denied being able to go to a bathroom,

or denied drinking from a water fountain,

or denied being able to sit anywhere on a bus -

The list goes on

I can’t breathe

knowing that my parents created me, and my mother gave birth to me

in hopes of a brighter day-

knowing that their daughter would be spat upon by white children while riding

a riverboat on the way to an amusement park, because of the color of her

skin; warm, hateful, spit that moved across my face like the paddles of that

riverboat flowing down the Potomac River-

knowing that their daughter would experience being denied the right to drink

from a water fountain unless it was designated-

denied entrance to a swimming pool-

denied the use of a bathroom unless designated-

unable to drink from certain water fountains, unless designated-

Just...like...my...parents

I can’t breathe

knowing that at the age of nine,

I had to march for my civil rights and knew exactly why

I was marching!

knowing upon hearing Dr. King speak in person that day in Washington, D.C.,

I promised to make a difference but I have barely made a dent.

I can’t breathe

knowing that upon moving into my current neighborhood,

a petition had been circulated

to keep us from moving in, because we are black-

Remembering the hideous prank calls-

remembering the preconceived stereotypes I was expected to respond to

after insults being hurled toward me-

remembering the word “nigger” being spray-painted on our garage door-

knowing it is offensive, it is not a term of endearment,

and I resent it being used that way,

by anyone-

Remembering one of our first times going to the local beach

and being taunted-

I can’t breathe

knowing that I gave birth to my son with special needs

who was run home by skinheads with a gun and laughed at,

only to be told by the police that he could neither prove that it was a gun,

nor could he prove they were skinheads.

Of course not! He was run home! There were no cellphones at that time!

He probably would’ve been too nervous and scared to take pictures anyway!

After all, it’s part of our societal learning process; the indoctrination-

that those who hear won’t care, and those who care won’t be heard.

Remember?

I can’t breathe

remembering the bittersweet experience

of our family cemetery declared a historic landmark

knowing that prior to that, white children who lived nearby,

dug up some of the skulls and played with them

like soccer balls-

I can’t breathe

remembering a trip across the country

shortly after a young man by the name of Treyvon Martin

was shot and killed and his murderer was found not guilty-

We were heading to one of our family reunions,

intercepted and stopped in Texas by the Highway Patrol

and asked why I switched lanes

I explained to him that we were headed for our family reunion,

I was unfamiliar with the surroundings and needed to get in a slower lane

I was accused of not moving with the flow of traffic

and driving too slowly

I explained that I needed to slow down

in order to change lanes

He went on to ask me what was in the car

I told him luggage

He asked me what my mother did for a living

I told him that she was a retired teacher and principal

He asked her to get out of the car and to get into his

He asked me what I did for a living

I told him I was a teacher; he laughed

He asked me about my son

I told him he had special needs-

He laughed and made him get out of the car,

raise his hands, and put them on the hood of the car.

My son’s hands were shaking!

He asked me what else was in the car

I told him just luggage and snacks

I invited him to look and see for himself

As I pressed the button of my car key to open the trunk,

he put his hand on his gun and told me to step back

I had never been that close to anyone who put a hand on a gun like that

All this time, I am trying to remain calm

however, at that point, I began to cry

he said I had emotional issues

He did not look in the car

he did not charge me with anything

he sent us on or way

All I Can Do Is Thank God!

When we were allowed to get back into the car,

my mother told me that he said that they were concerned with

all “these people” and how they were going to behave

after the verdict.

He wanted to know

what we were planning on doing-

I can’t breathe

when I am being told to “just get over it”

when it comes to our past-

Those who forget the past are bound to repeat it.

However, I remember our past,

as our society continues to repeat it.

I can’t breathe

when I think to myself and reflect on that time

I wonder what Trayvon Martin’s hopes and dreams were

while he was walking

through his neighborhood

where the neighbors

didn't think

he belonged

Sound familiar?

I can’t breathe

when often times the media will show

the most negative parts of us

that they can possibly televise-

in order to exacerbate the images

that some people already have-

Those preconceived ideas and stereotypes

that some people already have of us

that feed into the closed minded

in order to poison the open minded

who know better.

They want to nullify the pain and frustration

that brought them and us

to this place.

I can’t breathe

When a knee takes a brother’s life

as he pleads for his life and says,

“I can’t breathe!”

while the world watches

and no one hears or helps him!

When a brother takes a knee before a game

in order to make a stand,

and takes two knees before going to bed,

to make sure

he is heard-

I cannot give into the anger

I cannot give into the anger

I cannot give into the resentment

I cannot give in to the frustration

I cannot give into the fear

Otherwise my inability to breathe will suffocate me and

my purpose will be lost.

Excuse me while I

catch my breath-

Black Lives Matter 2020

Black Lives Matter!

Terri-Sue Hill

2020

I Can't Breathe.docx
Download DOCX • 11KB
America- A Dream Deferred.docx
Download DOCX • 11KB
Jerome LeDuff Jr BLM.docx
Download DOCX • 7KB
Dwayne Davis BLM.docx
Download DOCX • 6KB

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