May 13, 2020
In April of 2008, I was a finalist for the head football coaching position at Brunswick High School in Glynn County, Georgia. The principal told me that it was between myself and a coach from South Carolina.
Although my interview went well, I had no head football coaching experience, and the other candidate was named head coach. He spent seven years coaching the Brunswick Pirates before returning to South Carolina.
A couple of years after getting the job, a young man named Ahmaud Arbery came out for the football team. Arbery wore his blue and gold number twenty-one jersey with pride.
He later took his graduation picture in the traditional black tuxedo while flashing his amazing smile. This image would be posted all over social media and the national news a few years after graduation.
On a Sunday afternoon around 1:00 p.m. on February 23, 2020, Ahmaud was jogging 15 minutes from Brunswick High School in Satilla Shores, a suburban neighborhood near Brunswick. Authorities said he was shot and killed after an encounter with Gregory and Travis McMichael, who had grabbed two guns and followed Ahmaud in a truck after he jogged past them.
There was no arrest made until last week when a video of the incident emerged. Because Mr. Arbery was black or African American and Mr. McMichael and his son are white, this story has garnered significant attention. To say it lightly, many people are mad.
I am one of those people. I am mad.
I don’t know if it comes from working with young people or if it comes from realizing I am not perfect, but I try to find the good in every situation and every person. There is close to zero good in this situation; however, instead of channeling my emotions in the pointless direction of anger, I decided to use mad as an acronym.
M.A.D. Making A Difference
I believe we all can Make A Difference.
We can choose to treat people like we want to be treated. We can choose not to judge people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. We can choose to be nice to all people and expect the best from them. I believe we all can hate. I believe we all can love. I believe we all can bring the races together or assist in dividing the races.
I often joke the beauty of mulatto or mixed children is evidence that we are better together. Of course, this is a tongue in cheek way of saying since we have to habitat this great land together, let us try to get along with one another.
I believe we all are Making A Difference. Some of us are making a positive difference, and some of us are making a negative difference.
Unfortunately, what happened to Ahmaud happens every day. Over 6,000 black men are murdered each year. That is 16 per day. What occurred in Brunswick, Georgia, this past February occurs often. The outrage is based on the region of the country in which it took place, coupled with the video and the racial difference of the individuals involved.
Do you know why you don’t hear about black men being murdered in Montana, Idaho, Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah or New Hampshire? Because almost no black people live in those states. The country is only 13% African American.
This small group matters. All lives matter.
The over 4,000 white men that are murdered each year matter also. Although this number is smaller in every way, each number represents a son, a father, a human.
Are you contributing to the problem like Candace Owens, or are you following in the footsteps of Dr. King, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela?
We are all M.A.D.
We are all Making A Difference.
Are you making a positive difference or a negative difference?
Willie Spears is a teacher, coach, author, minister, and motivational speaker. He has been awarded teacher and coach of the year. He speaks to thousands each year through his business, The Willie Spears Experience. Willie may be reached at www.williespears.com.