5 years with Amazon, 25 years of employment overall.

Milestones are plentiful I celebrated my 5 years with Amazon this past Friday. This week marks 25 years that I have been employed period. I began working at my first job in 1995 at Hardees in Blacksburg, SC, cooking chicken.

The last quarter of century has saw me work for two other restaurants(McDonald’s, Shrimp Boat), at Winthrop University in a variety of roles and titles, and a 12 year stretch with The Robert Allen Group in Gaffney, SC.

The strange thing about all of this is that not only do I still carry the same lessons and values learned; I am actually still cool with many of my coworkers and former managers.

The latter doesn’t happen very often. I would attribute it to treating others like human beings, talking to people instead of at them, and maintaining a positive, hardworking attitude.

I can honestly say I like the current company and position I am in at Amazon. I look forward to more growth and whatever else life has in store for me. Things change in the world faster than careers and socks and I just want to soak it in and do the best job I can.

Thanks to all that played a small part the past 25 years!

#imjustdrew #fromdarknesstosunshine #scaredeyes

Advertisement

One of my driving forces

I saw something this week that took me back to a dark time and place in my life. It was still a driving force within and I didn’t realize why.

First of, you can read throughout both of my blogs how much I enjoyed my time at WU. I rode through an empty campus this weekend and reminisced over the great times I had there and how it made me into the man I am today.

I had a key happening to me that may seem small to others, but yielded large results.

You see, during that time, I had deep insecurities about my looks. I didn’t think women thought I was good looking or sexy enough. I wasn’t rich, athletic or in a fraternity. I was more embraced than I ever was in high school but I still had inner demons to fight.

Fast forward to a popularity contest that was had by a sorority. They had a calendar contest, had around 30 guys that people could place money in and vote for. Then the top 12 were chosen based on that money.

41 year old me knows that was silly then. 20 year old me felt excluded and even less valued because I wasn’t even asked. It was your classic “Mean Girls” type of stunt.

I certainly don’t think the sorority members did it to hurt feelings, especially them being 20 years old. But man that really hurt and lit a fire in me that burned for years. I wasn’t very confident but I knew I looked better and had more value that half of those guys that were chosen by a popular vote and money that resembles our election process today.

I never approached these ladies until recently and I didn’t use force nor anger. Too much time had passed, although I still felt some type of way when I saw that calendar again. I may not remember everything about my WU days, but I remember the feeling in my stomach I felt when I wasn’t chosen for that calendar. It took me back to my dark high school days and it made me feel undervalued.

Fortunately I don’t stay oppressed. I continued to work hard and excel as a student, person and man. The last two years of my college career saw me winning 2nd place in a men’s pageant, winning Homecoming King runner-up, becoming a renowned slam poetry artist, and the lead speaker at Winthrop’s Open House. I used that omission to fuel my remaining college years and the beginning of my professional career.

I look back to that moment 22 years later and what I have accomplished since then and I am extremely blessed. I turned pain and exclusion into triumph and continue to do so today. That’s how I got into the role I currently hold at work. I now advise and mentor others who are experiencing what that sorority made me experience in 1998.

Point being is, please treat others as you wish to be treated. Also, stay motivated to excel. Someone will value you and see your greatness. Remember Michael Jordan, JK Rowling, George Lucas and Oprah are many successful figures that experienced that pain. Use it to rise higher than ever before!

#imjustdrew #scaredeyes

Defunding? Or reallocating to transform and empower

It is truly sad when people don’t understand what’s going on and are so quick to be defensive, especially in verbiage.

As an author, I realize that tone and connotation account for a lot. This goes strongly for forming solutions to stopping police brutality.

The latest one is defunding. Now I am here to help educate those as I educated myself on this term. Defunding isn’t well known but it’s not uncommon. It’s a term for reallocation to other resources in the communities and to other specializations that supplement the police force.

Don’t worry police officers and those that strongly support law enforcement. No one is taking your jobs away. Matter of fact, they are trying to make it better. I’m sure the good police are sick and tired of always been looked at as the bad guy. While I know little about wearing that badge, many think I fit the profile of an undercover cop by the way I carry myself. I even scared off some gangstas a few years ago when I was trying to be cool with and fellowship with them. I was actually as fearful of them as they were of me.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what defunding is set up to do. Remove the fear, pour resources into the community to change the image of the police and to delegate certain responsibilities, such as crisis situations, mental health and alcoholism that many police are ill equipped to handle.

It’s like this also. You’re running a restaurant. You want your most gifted cook on the grill. You want your more personable folks out front with the public. Also, your leaders and veterans need to be shift leaders and managers. Basically you recruit and vet to fill the needs and capitalize on strengths and experience. Another loose analogy is CPR training. I feel way more comfortable with someone with current certification and EMT experience than with someone who just viewed a 10 minute YouTube video.

In short, a better term is specialize. I’m old enough to remember when there wasn’t even a specified 911 dispatch. You dialed 0 for everything. And that was overwhelming. Police work is also overwhelming and for what they are paid, it should not be. They should not be in hostile situations where shooting first in center mass is the option. No man! Specialize and allocate these roles so that when they do kill, it’s the last resort. Murder is murder!

Ok I’ve said enough. The point is defunding is designed to work for everyone, to be a helping hand in a profession that is largely shorthand. It can be a beta test and hopefully it can lead to bigger things.

Meanwhile, let us not stop searching for good, effective solutions.

#imjustdrew #fromdarknesstosunshine #scaredeyes #BlackLivesMatter

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

And you can pretty much add any 90s. R&B farewell anthem.

Over the past two weeks, friends and family have really revealed what they care about, their privilege and their values..

Since I vet and weed out people pretty regularly and easily, not many suprise me. Biggest surprise is my own mother.

I am her caretaker and the primary person that handles stuff for her. However she is not getting my frustration, nor that of the black race. The media isn’t helping but I have a legit frustration and gripes. My friends, other family members and even our former pastor have been good bridges but there is still a ways to go.

It has allowed me to see that some people will never be educated on this and will need to be prayed for. However this is really hurting, both of us.

She sees me as a Jesse Jackson or a violent rioter, which I am not. I simply want to help the Black community seek new and more effective solutions to fight against injustice, prejudice and police brutality. I am a thinking man with a platform and a voice and I want to use that effectively.

I have gained and lost friends since I begin the #imjustdrew journey. Now I’m adding race relations to the palette. I am nervous I won’t lie. But I know with God’s love and conviction, I will not fail

All of this ties in together: connections, social inclusion; mental illness; miseducation and now racial oppression. I like thinking, gathering with like minded individuals and finding long term solutions.

I know I won’t lose my mom forever but just like her need for cigarettes and other vices, I hope she prays and understands I need to do this. It’s medicine to me and others

So continue to pray for me and other Blacks. The mourning is fading and we are ready for action. And I will have to say goodbye to the rest.

#imjustdrew #fromdarknesstosunshine #scaredeyes #BlackLivesMatter

Ok it’s gametime!

I am dead serious about coming up with a better action plan to combat police brutality and unfair treatment of black people. Aren’t you all sick and tired of being scared and feeling like you have to riot?

I have spent the last few days of my week off from work brainstorming and devising some effective plans. It’s all good if you feel peaceful protests and riots work. Past the 1970s, I haven’t seen much progress with those.

First of all, if you’re going to come together in large numbers admist a pandemic: VOTE! Not just vote, run for an office. Vote for the offices that control these unfair decisions. Run for the offices and go for the jobs that directly influence these behaviors. It’s time that we really do serve and protect again.

Second, I’ve heard recommendations of a militia/enhanced community watch against these types of acts. No ANIFA doesn’t qualify here. But what can is a group dedicated to protecting, educating and uplifting minorities. Think the Black Panthers. We need these types of groups again. There is absolutely no reason in 2020 that any person should be killed by law enforcement in front of spectators and no one says anything. No way at all.

Also, we have to vet, fill and pay upstanding, effective law enforcement officials. Since the millenia started, there has been a huge turnover and shortage of officers and COs. You get what you pay for and we need resources to develop them and also severe consequences if they step out of pocket.

Lastly, I love how united we are overall! I’ve been preaching this for over 4 years now. It’s finally coming together. Now that more people are on the same page, it’s time we start putting some action and work to end these age old narratives and rhetorics.

Until then, carry on but please be safe. Especially to my fellow blacks. You are still a target, even if they fear you more.

#imjustdrew #fromdarknesstosunshine #scaredeyes