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Last week I was privileged to attend the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Leadership Forum in National Harbor, Md., a suburb of Washington D.C. The conference was a culmination of the three week National Coalition Academy that we attended in 2011 in Meridian, Miss.
During the conference there were many sessions, speakers and even dignitaries yet one stood out in my mind more than any. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings spoke at the luncheon Thursday afternoon. The story that he shared is one that you can draw great insight from.
In 2011, on the campus in which his nephew was attending college, someone broke into the apartment and murdered Christopher Cummings. To this day, no one has been caught or confessed to the horrible incident leaving the family with no answers. The night before the funeral, Christopher’s father asked his brother, the congressman, to deliver the eulogy.
As he sat there at his computer looking for the words to say for the service nothing came to him. The congressman decided to look at his nephew’s Facebook page to try and get something. On the left hand side, Christopher Cummings had listed the three most influential people in his life. Number one was the president and number three was some rapper. However, number two was listed as “my uncle Elijah.” By now the tears were flowing and the congressman saw what Christopher described as his motto for life. The following phrase is what the congressman spoke to the leadership conference about on Thursday: “Speak your mind, Pour out your heart, Love your soul.”
Speak your mind. We all have a story to tell and only you can tell yours. You have a circle of influence in your life, a group of people that only you can reach. We cannot be afraid to speak, because if we are then the opponents have won. The congressman shared a story of a family in Baltimore, Md., that spoke out against the drugs in their neighborhood. Because they spoke out a man threw a bomb into their home killing five children and two adults. Some would say that is what they get for speaking their mind, but today where there home was is not an education center teaching drug and alcohol rehabilitation classes. They spoke their mind despite opposition and today that neighborhood is a better place.
Pour out your heart, whatever the cause that you are working toward. Give everything inside of you. When you go home at the end of the day, go knowing that you gave all of yourself and did not hold anything back. The satisfaction of knowing that you poured yourself out will be greater than the feeling of holding back. We will only see great outcomes, when we pour out everything for the cause.
The congressman made reference to what he calls the PPPs. Personal Pity Parties are not going to make any problem or situation better but rather worse. Our community did not become drug infested by people complaining, but instead they got up and did something. On the same note we will not defeat the drug problem by talking but by everyone pulling together, pouring themselves into our community and making the drug problem realize that they are the minority, not the majority.
Love your soul. Christopher Cummings wanted to become the kind of man that if he were a girl, then he would fall in love with himself. That may sound odd but think about it. I want my community to be a place that if I were moving here from out of town, I would want to live here. How does our community get to that place? We get there by loving Carroll County. Love your street, your neighborhood, your schools, your employers, your co-workers, your friends, neighbors, and strangers. We are all Carroll County citizens. We must love our community in order to see it succeed.
Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County is committed to leaving Carroll County better. For more information on how you can get involved contact us at 732-8304 or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would love to hear from you. Until we do remember, speak your mind, pour out your heart and love your soul.
Matt Lipe is coordinator of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County.