The #MyDeeperMoment project relates stories of how one moment in life helped define who we are and what we contribute back to life regarding our Social Justice mission.
For example, the project I worked on for DeeperEngaged™ is the CribGrown™ #MyDeeperMoment campaign.
Here is a #MyDeeperMoment that shaped the insights I bring to this DeeperEngaged™ for Social Justice project: the recital of Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem” (attached in the Element on the right column, if you’d like to read it. I hope you will!).
#MyDeeperMoment happened in 1987. I was a freshman at UC Irvine, a college with 12,000 students...only 40 of which were Black men.
My first week on campus, I met Mr. Paris Williams, a young Black gentleman of impeccable appearance and even more impressive oratory skills.
Dressed in an immaculate blue suit and silk tie, here was a man who took pride in the way he presented himself. Perfectly kept hair. Radiant skin. And a strong, confident jawline almost at odds with his soulfully expressive eyes.
Paris was UCI’s Director of Cultural Diversity. I remember him striding up to a microphone, standing alone on the steps of a historical building (which happened to be one of the iconic backdrops used in the original Planet of the Apes film, which I’d loved as a child).
Picture the scene: Paris, a Black college administrator standing before a campus whose population reflected virtually no other Black men. It was there, on those sunny steps in California, that he recited “Harlem” with such intense passion, gesticulation and vocal expression I felt nearly haunted as Hamlet!
“Who is this man?” I wondered. “And where does he get this honest passion for someone else's dreams?”
I remember nothing else about that day, only the impression Paris’ delivery had on me. I still hear his voice, see him up there as if it were yesterday. I could never have guessed a poetry recital could pierce my essence so profoundly. Yet, for the next 33 years, I thought of that singular moment.
These days I design technology. Why? For what purpose? I do it to work for the future...a future where no Black persons’ dreams will ever go deferred again.
I do it because I understand what “generational knowledge” is...because Paris transferred some to me that day so long ago.
That day he transferred the wisdom of Langston Hughes, and with it was the lesson — to be bold, passionate, fresh and unashamed when it comes to communicating what you are about…
...even if there’s only one Black kid out there listening, some stranger unknown to you...
...just one soul out there receptive to your soul-penetrating message. It’s more than enough.
We must all, in the fight for social justice, learn to communicate using the medium that suits our unique gifts. You never know when someone is watching. Something we say or do may stick in their minds forever, coming back in their time of need to help them as they chase their dreams...dreams that may have otherwise been deferred.
I learned how to strive to be excellent. Be present. Be unexpected. I say, don't explain yourself. Just do you, glorious you...because someone is taking notice.
Your #MyDeeperMoment may be far less involved, but just as impactful for the related contribution you are making. That is perfectly alright. So share your #MyDeeperMoment, no matter how big or small!
Is this a good enough example for you to get the idea of what we are after?