“Stand together for what you believe.
Work for what must be done.
Love each other in all that you do.
Till all my people are one.*”
A young African American man driving on a street in Selma Alabama is pulled over by a policeman. Why? Was he speeding? NO. Was he driving erratically? NO. Was he driving without a license plate, or with a broken taillight? NO. He was simply “driving
The officer approached the car and, assuming the white powder-like substance on the young man’s lap to be drugs, roughly pulled
him out of the car. A second officer with a police dog approached and in the ensuing roughness the young man was bitten on the
arm. He was retained. The substance was revealed to be crumbs from a sandwich.
“Driving while black” is a long-standing, well-known phenomenon. Many of us who are white carry the subconscious perception that black men, especially young ones are to be feared. This reality is but one among many reasons that Sharing has supported the Twenty-First Century Youth Leadership Movement (21C) for a dozen or more years.
21C was founded in 1986 by a small group of African American civil rights activists mainly from Alabama. Eligible students -- junior
and senior high school students -- organized by chapters in their local community and guided by an “elder” meet several times a
month. The focus is on having the individual person recognize and develop his or her leadership skills.
Scheduled throughout the year are “Camps,” the longest one being held in the summer. I was fortunate enough to attend this
year’s session in Selma Alabama from July 13 through the 17. It was beautiful to observe: the twenty-some year olds serving
as counselor/leaders; the eighth grader-a shy young woman who had never been away from home before blossoming and mingling
easily with new friends before the Camp was over; the awesome camaraderie that developed as they shared the call and response
of 21C’s Motto.
I am a 21st Century Leader
I must prepare myself to be the very best that I can be
I must prepare my body, my spirit and my mind
And in time I’ll shine, you’ll shine, we’ll shine
And the light of Love, Justice and Peace
Will shine in the 21st Century Like never before.
Sharing has received a bequest of slightly more than $20,000 from the estate of the late Dorothie E. Wright. This will be distributed among the active 21C chapters for a one time, special community improvement project chosen by each chapter. This idea was inspired by the Boys Scouts of America Eagle Scout Badge requirement.
Sharing has established the Carol and John Zippert Youth Leadership Scholarship to honor Carol and John’s outstanding faithfulness,
service and commitment to the fight for justice for people and their steadfast fight to eradicate poverty facing people in Alabama
and across the nation. They are great mentors for young people, helping them to lift their communities. Sharing will provide a
$1,000 scholarship each year to one graduating high school senior in each active 21C chapter.
Thank you for the ways you stand for what you believe, work for what must be done, and try to love each other in all that you do.
We Are One.