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Something to Think About: There is Hope in Our Community

Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn


new michael vaughnA few weeks back, my family had the privilege of seeing the future right before our eyes. We had seven young, African-American women over to our house for dinner after Sunday worship service.

And, what made this dinner special was the fact that each of these young women are in medical school at the University of Rochester!

This prestigious medical school is very hard to get into, and, in my living room, there were seven young African-American women who are destined to be doctors.

As if that weren’t enough, one of them was my very own daughter.

It was enough to make any dad proud.

And, as I thought about what I had seen, I became very encouraged by the fact that there is hope in our African-American community.

So often, we are shown a negative portrayal of our community in the media, and the sheer volume of it paints a picture that may birth hopelessness.

If someone’s media diet consisted only of the news media, they would think African-Americans are the scourge of society, and to be feared.

But, that is not the African-American community that I know.

Recently, I played golf with a preacher friend of mine who has three African-American children that are making an impact in society. My brother has five children, three of whom are out of college, and making an impact within their generation.

There is also an African-American former chaplain I met, who is now the CEO of a local non-profit that has quite a testimony to tell.

The list goes on and on.

My point is, these are but a few of the African-Americans I know that happen to be making a good impact on society. And, it is cause to realize that there is hope.

I realize the negative things, which happen in society get most of the attention from the press, and that when there is injustice that is done, there is no lack of folks who rush to get in front of the camera.

Yet, wouldn’t it be great if our African-American leaders would purposely highlight the good things our African-American community has been doing?

There are African-American doctors, lawyers, engineers, bankers, policeman, mechanics, pastors, etc. who are doing great things which go unnoticed, possibly because it seems like it may not be exciting.

Maybe if we took the time to highlight the honor students in our inner-city schools, and to go to colleges and highlight young African-Americans who are excelling in their studies, it would have a lasting impact on the population of young folks that would see it.

I believe leaders who are constantly in front of cameras speaking to the media about what has been done to African Americans, should instead get in front of the cameras to highlight the successes many African-Americans are having.

Every chance we get, we should let folks know the good things African Americans are doing in our community.

We are a successful people that is making a positive impact in every area in which we are involved, and it’s time that others know it.

Maybe when we hear of the good things that are happening, it will inspire hope, and an “I can” attitude amongst folks who are coming up.

It would be good for them to have someone to look up to, because if everything the media shares is negative, those who are not in the African-American community will continue to look down upon us, many African Americans will continue to feel discouraged.

There will always be a few “bad apples” in any community.

But, let our appetite not be one of wanting to see more of what bad in our community.

The future of the African-American community is bright!

We just need to highlight the good that is going on, so that we can inspire an upcoming generation toward the greatness which is inside of them.

The glimpse of the future I saw in my living room recently was exciting.

This was all I needed, in the midst of everything that has been going on, to help seal the fact for me that there is hope in our community!

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