There are many people who do the same work that I do, community building, organizing and activism. I’ve learned that credit, for them, is not important. For me, nothing is more important than getting the work accomplished, start to finish. I find importance in creating a cycle that will continue after those, like myself, are no longer a part of the project.
Approaching these issues and fragile situations often take caution, practice, as well as prayer. I never repeat something and expect the same outcome. Although it may be happening in the hood, each situation must be addressed and responded to differently.
There is nothing wrong with being acknowledged for your work. Acknowledgement is a tool used not only to make you work harder, but a boost for others to aim towards receiving the same props by accomplishing more.
Once, I went out and brought forty children to CYD who were all featured in the “Juneteenth” day parade. Mother Simpson and Mrs. Robinson were excited that day. I stayed at the house with Mother who was 103 years old. She asked me what was I doing there. I told her I accept the assignment of watching over her instead of being a part of the parade. She rose up and said “Boy, let me tell you this. Don’t ever let anyone take credit for your work. Get your credit because you will not get much else.” That following year I brought children instead of gathering the CYD children. I then became the parade coordinator. I will never forget Mother’s words.
Not to leave out street credibility, once you have street cred, you begin changing into different lanes for the better. You begin hoping that others will follow. You have to have something to show, like collateral. Prove that you are not ‘corny’ or what they call ‘square’. Credit is needed when you are a street innovator. It allows others to know and recognize your work and to encourage others to excel. Remember, if we are working in a society that will run a credit check on you, if your credibility doesn’t hold up you might as well pack up and go somewhere else.
I am going to keep working. I am going to keep giving props when they are due. I will not get caught up in this celebration thing, because there is definitely a lot more work to be done in these city streets and darkened homes. Until next time I credit this to those that convinced me I no longer had to run.
Torre M Johnson Sr. President of XMEN UNITED