AAM Episode #1 (Loosely Based Transcript)
My name is Elle Madelyn and this is my podcast Alert Aware Mindful or AAM for short, which includes my own thoughts and reactions to current events, pop culture, social justice activism and consciousness, I will also discuss coping skills to deal with the inevitable stress that dealing with these issues bring up. I have a M.A. in Counseling and an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in public policy. I am an avid music lover who enjoys reading, dancing, eating, and waving my hands around when I talk passionately about something I love.
Seriously…someone could lose an eye.
I have been collecting my writings on and off for years. Squirreling them away and hiding them for fear that nothing I wrote was good enough, but in light of recent events I realize that I can’t keep in how I think or feel anymore. I think that being a counselor, there is always a part of me that wants to put other people at ease, which is not a bad thing but sometimes when you express how you truly feel, other people’s feelings can get hurt. However, that isn’t a good enough reason to swallow your truth because eventually, no matter how much you push it down it shoots to the top, like those old school kick boards.
My catharsis began the same week that A friend of mine passed away which occurred in the same week that the Ferguson verdict came down. I remember thinking how cold of a comfort it would be if all the things I have to say never get said because I was too afraid. Maybe there are other people who feel just as driven as I do to change the status quo in our country. Who have always wanted to change the status quo in our country. Maybe—there are others who were also reborn in that moment.
Born into the realization that we are still outsiders in our own country. With a president who looks like us. The dawning realization is that we are not protected or valued, and won’t ever be if we don’t stay on this. Frederick Douglas said “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” And he was absolutely right. It never did and it never will.——This wisdom from centuries ago still rings true—because of human nature. It’s not an indictment of those that choose not to partake in this movement—-this is a choice that every individual HAS to make for themselves. It’s really not about “guilt,” or anything like that. It’s about the ideas of freedom, justice, equality, and progress that our country was built on. These ideas should be upheld consistently not based on anything other than merit or ability. Not wealth, religion, or skin color.
Protests are great because it gets the issue attention and puts others on notice that we are paying attention and are upset about the status quo of inequality and are ready for a positive change. But Protests are the PR(public relations) for the movement. There has to been an actual movement behind the protests or the opportunity for change and the momentum of progress is stunted.
I began this podcast because I am tired of WAITING for the world to change. I thought that trying to “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” (to paraphrase Gandi) would be enough. That my living a life where I try to be kind to others and follow the golden rule was all I needed to do my part in “the struggle,” (that and choosing a profession where I help other people). Maybe one day that’s all any of us will need to do to make the world better. But we are definitely not there yet. I thought that trying to be a good person by being respectful and kind to others would be enough. Which was incredibly naïve on my part, I must admit. It is equivalent to the risky and adventurous plan of “wait and see.” Civil right activists didn’t wait because they knew they’d be waiting forever, (how many more centuries were they supposed to wait for equality?)–so they took action. We need well planned and thought out action to be effective.
As I watched the news, the knowledge of African American history that I’ve learned about in bits and chunks over years, swirls around my head. I thought about what I knew about human nature, and I felt compelled to DO something.
Which is funny considering that I have tended to balk at the “action” part of my action plans in the past. It’s like I keep climbing to the top of the highest diving board but when I look into the surface of the water far below, terror keeps me from jumping. But something snapped in me the week of the Ferguson verdict. I can feel this strong, loud, clear voice inside of me—a voice that doesn’t bear the uncertainty or insecurities I may hold, a voice that is louder and truer than anything I’ve heard. The voice that I hear says No more. No more racial, gender, sexuality inequality or religious discrimination or stigma
This podcast will reflect my journey on trying to make a difference as one person—reaching out other people who may have similar interests in making the world a better place in a non-violent way, in positive and increasingly beneficial way. I will be including news around the web, that I find fascinating to discuss, but I also want to get out there and do something.
I started by calling the local branch which is the Westside Branch of the Chicago NAACP. Mostly because I couldn’t find another active branch in Chicago. It looks a bit…deserted. There was no answer and I left a voicemail but no one has returned my call yet. I am a little suspicious because I checked the facebook page and it been updated with a new profile photo every month—there are no events, meetings, anything listed. Part of me thinks that they are just getting their bearings. A lot of The Chicago Southside branch’s NAACP page was last updated in June of 2010. The Far South Suburban branch looks the most updated. Even if I couldn’t find any event listed on their Calendar of events. It’ is at least the best maintained. Finally my frustration leads me to abandon the local Chicago chapters and look to the state—and Jackpot! This is more like it. I see an ad for a conference in June 2015. There is also an upcoming quarterly meeting in February http://illinoisnaacp.org/naacp/events.html about a month and a half from now. So I am sending emails to the local branches asking to join as a member and hopefully someone will get back to me.
I would like help if I can. I have this fancy education that I want to put to good use. I don’t mind doing any menial tasks either, but I hope I can bring something to table, I am uniquely suited for.
The main idea is to make some progress. I have protested before, but I need to be a part of the next step. The action step. I will be talking about my progress on this front. I’ve spent the last two years trying to cultivate my spiritual/religious side and the last four years enhancing my knowledge of people, human relationships and how we relate to each other. Now I want to focus on developing my activist side. But I want to do it in a way that is inclusive and promotes unity and is not preachy, self-righteous, or judgmental. This podcast will cover the journey and experiences of my development and will raise questions, discuss ideas and reactions and ways to cope with some of the strong emotions discussing these issues can raise.
That is all for now, welcome to my podcast Alert, Aware, Mindful, or AAM for short as we all are the same and are one.
Short poem or Quote: Called to Action Quotes
“Peace is the fruit of love, a love that is also justice. But to grow in love requires work — hard work. And it can bring pain because it implies loss — loss of the certitudes (or certainties), comforts, and hurts that shelter and define us.” ― Jean Vanier, Finding Peace highlighted words added by me.
“The ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.” ― Marcus Garvey
Thank you for listening. This has been Elle Madelyn.