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Thanksgiving and The Pilgrim’s Journey to America: What It Means Today for Having a Strong Voice in the Streets or Corporate Suites

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Some retailers are beginning to worry if the Christmas holiday shopping season is gonna be a boom or bust. There’s been news of supply chain issues and ships stuck at sea waiting to be unloaded. One test-case for the holiday season will be the Black Friday gift-buying grab. But first there’s Thanksgiving Day when many families sit around the table for a big meal.

Turkey Centerpiece

This American traditional feast was supposedly started not long after the pilgrims set foot on New England shore. Before they arrived, a local indigenous tribe celebrated the occasion as a feast of thanks-giving for the harvest. Then they invited the pilgrims to their feast. The pilgrims liked the idea and adopted it as Thanksgiving for safe passage from Europe. Over the years it grew in appeal and during the brutal years of the Civil War, President Lincoln kinda made it “certified official” as an American holiday custom.

It’s a big part of the kickoff to the end-of-year holiday season. It’s also a great time to hangout with family and friends with food, football and lively spirits to go along. So, at first it went from an indigenous custom to a pilgrim and Native American occasion for coming together. Not sure what has the potential to do that now, considering the culture war climate that exists. As if the vaccine debate wasn’t enough, the drama has spilled over into municipal workers as well as public education around how we learn history.

Thanksgiving History

But what some miss as a takeaway from the first sit-down between the native tribe and the pilgrims might be a lesson for all the “tribe talk” in today’s socio-political world. It’s a hard concept to grasp these days when you hear all the squabbles on the election campaign trail or some cable news tale. The OG native Americans were open to the idea of “think self but beyond self.” Interestingly, this idea might also have been a test-case for America’s future in how it handled the sharing of opportunity, inalienable rights and economic benefits with all its citizens. We see that struggle even today with public policy negotiations.

SAIC’s deep-dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks revealed something else about the pilgrims. They were “sick & tired” of the social/religious climate at home. So they took the journey from England to America which speaks to how to “walk in your calling” and have a strong voice in the streets or corporate suites. This might even cause us to ask, “what is America’s True Calling?” The process of answering that question has been folded into SAIC as a social-edge campaign and platform. America’s true calling is not simply about advocating for democracy or defending human rights or promoting fair trade. But more for real it’s about how we engage our:          

1. Better Angels

Civil War Battle

During the early part of the Civil War, Lincoln had a major decision to make. Was he for abolishing slavery or for saving the Union? Initially, it was more the latter. He really didn’t want southern states to break-away from the US. He asked folks to think about a more “eternal reason” for keeping the union in tack. In his first inaugural address he called on the nation to summon the “better angels of our nature.” That’s one way to understand the idea of “walking in your calling” or appreciating how Lincoln may have been trying to connect America to its True Calling.       

2. Shared Purpose

Every year on Thanksgiving morning, families look forward to the holiday parade. It’s an event for the kids who enjoy seeing the balloons high in the air. It’s also enjoyed by parents, because maybe it’s a reminder of younger days feeling full of wonder. The idea of parades and marching bands is good ol’ American apple pie, with a great feeling of excitement in coming together. That’s what SAIC with its framework, focus, functions and features represents. It’s about bringing a feeling of excitement and wonder in coming together for a shared purpose.        

3. Civic Renewal

Throughout history, America has seen many rounds of turmoil and strife. There were rebellions that shook the powers-that-be when it came to abolishing slavery. Fannie Lou Hamer was the first to coin the term “sick & tired of being sick & tired” but there were others who understood that feeling. They reached the point of having seen enough, so they took steps to make change or make a difference. While Hamer had an unsuccessful run for congress, that didn’t stop her from “walking in her calling.” Her actions led to the civil rights movement taking shape in the south. In a sense, it was her investment in civic renewal.   

Unpack the Issues

4. Public Good

In the process of getting an education, we graduate by completing a certain number of credits. That means we’ve earned some level of knowledge and understanding in an area that will serve us well later in life. That’s true whether going on from high school to college or vo-tech, or from college to a professional career. If what we do with academics prepares us for a life in biz or career, then what we do in civics can prepare us for a life of public-good. SAIC’s vision around ‘smart civics’ is about how we achieve a more socially healthy way of life towards public-good.        

W.E.B. Dubois wrote in his book and was also quoted in a speech saying, “The problem of the twentieth century is the color-line.” Well for America, SAIC believes the challenge in the twenty-first century is the color-stream. As a family, when we watch the social issues unfold, we gotta get away from seeing history as a projection stream of “white light” (the way a black & white TV works), to seeing history as projection streams of “colored light” (read, green and blue, the way a color TV works). In combining American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks, just imagine how much of a better picture we’ll have of civic/social issues for a higher level or citizenship?

Civics Lesson

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

Tracks: Emeli Sandé – Family – https://youtu.be/vsGSo5XMDQQ

Common – Imagine (Live Session) – https://youtu.be/vP6cDIyLPEk

Upcoming Events

Men’s Panel, Thursday 11/11/21 6:30pm ET. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAvf-qopzMpHNd1QvbuSaiDHD0erMZ9NmNe

Women’s Panel, 11/15/21 6:30pm ET. Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZModuqhrz8iHNYTL9Fmh-IChQ-ihMCTNaS9

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The Sliding Scale of America’s Standing at Home and Abroad: Running Out of Trust or Filling-up on Hate Moves us Farther Apart

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

It was a full house in the building! With Tom Brady’s return to the Patriots stadium, fans lined-up to be there in the seats. The tailgating had it all. The pre-game coverage was in high gear. Ticket prices went through the roof with the game billed as one of the most anticipated regular season matchups in a while.

Sold Out Stadium

There was another full house happening elsewhere though. As schools re-opened for in-person classes, school board meetings saw a spike in attendance. Parents weren’t there to celebrate returning “back to life better.” Instead, they came to create a raucous over kids wearing masks or practicing other Covid precautions. Even the FBI has been called-in to the situation. Makes you wonder, can we build trust as a bridge, and momentum to crossover the cultural divide that needs civic repair?

Here we have two situations: one involves sports where fans show up to cheer an athlete seen as the G.O.A.T. While at other venues, parents show up to scold school officials who’re looking out for families’ best interest. Just one example of the sliding scale of America’s standing at home and abroad and the cultural divide that needs hope for despair. Yes, it can be hard to build trust across this divide or other misplaced pride if you’re not sure whether people are operating in good faith.

The question of how to address ongoing concerns around civic/social issues kinda led to SAIC. In the process, it also became clear that we could take a page from changes in technology over the past 50 years. For example, just in the last 20 years we’ve gone from flip phones to smartphones to more recently a ‘flip smartphone.’ There’s even a phone app for keyless entry into our cars or to adjust interior features. So, if we can add ‘smarts’ to systems and gadgets, why can’t we do it for civics?

Smartphone Settings

One thing we see common with cell phones and ‘smart TVs’ is a new way to improve device usage. Sometimes when there’s a problem, the FAQ tells us to “check your settings.” For some adjustments it’s an on-off toggle. For others it’s a sliding scale setting from low-end to high-end for each category. What if we had a similar approach to handling civic/social issues? Forget party affiliation for a second, we could check our settings of awareness, ideology, ego, truth, integrity/shame, DEI and so on. Now if that’s not good enough, SAIC recommends checking some other universal (or systemwide) settings of:

1. Vision vs Division

We gotta choose seeds of vision over seeds of division. It’s been said where there’s no vision, the people suffer. That’s an old-school take on the proverb. A new-school take on the same idea reveals that oftentimes where there’s deep-seated division, it’s possible there’s little or no vision. If we could just make an adjustment on the sliding scale from division to vision, it would go a long way to enhancing America’s standing, maybe your own startup’s branding or a public official’s approach and messaging.     

2. Function vs Dysfunction

Infrastructure Work

Think about building a bridge to span water or a land gap. A lot of engineering goes into the specs and the decks. For that bridge to be of useful function, it’s gotta be designed to work and then work as designed. Some challenges we have around civic/social issues involve less effort being made around civic function and more social media buzz around dysfunction. If our daily lives are spent stirring-up anger, resentment and distrust, we get misinformation, disinformation and maybe even Insurrection. What if we spent the same time instead building a bridge to span the civics gap and drive American Dreams?

3. Fusion vs Confusion

Public officials spent months trying to hash-out changes that would improve social justice matters after the George Floyd killing. Then we got word that those discussions went silent. Again, using technology as a guide, the beautiful picture we see on our color TV set is from the fusion of red, green and blue (RGB), each in its right intensity. It would be an improvement if our public officials could discuss things in good faith to avoid confusion and then come up with the right mix of equality, justice and economic opportunity. We don’t watch our TV set with the brightness set to the high-end because that would be blinding, or at the low-end because that would be blank or just dark.  

Best Picture

4. Exception vs Exceptionalism

Some of the conflict we have today isn’t so much about the rule. It’s more about folks wanting to create an exception. In some minds, it’s a kinda “freedom exception” they’re pushing. While for every rule there are usually exceptions, it’s no longer much of a rule if everyone gets an exception. There was a time Americans enjoyed being known for having a reputation of exceptionalism. One way to understand the stalemate we see in resolving civic/social issues is the degree to which we’re striving for too many exception overrides than the push for exceptionalism.        

If tech isn’t your thing in figuring-out how to “check your settings” to improve device usage, then try a sports example. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the use of video replay across multiple sports. That’s their version of “check the call” to improve the game. We’ve seen sports leaders do it for fans, tech leaders do it for consumers, science leaders do it for civilian space flight, so what’s holding us back on civic/social issues in doing it for citizens and the country? It can’t be that we think our best days are behind us or we’re feeling like things should remain in the dark.

Space Flight

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

Tracks: Alessia Cara – Best Days – https://youtu.be/TPv64Y56I_4 

Swae Lee Ft Jhene Aiko – In the Dark – https://youtu.be/2LJjtyNnOWc

Featured

A Civic Leadership Assignment: Get the Best Score for a More Socially Healthy Way of Life as a Culture-Setter

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

It’s that time of year again! As classrooms and boardrooms return to their regularly scheduled programming, some think this go-around is gonna be different. There’re those focused on the back-to-school drill of lessons, labs and laps around the field/pool. And for others there’s the back-to-the-office skill that’s been working from home when the workplace was shuttered.

Empty Offices

With the Covid pandemic and delta variant causing concern, decision-makers and power brokers are keeping an eye on things from a mental health perspective. But other factors exist as we all try to bounce back from Covid spread, economic shutdown, social protests and post-election drama. Add to that the recent rounds of natural disasters like storms and fires. In other words, we’re all trying to return “back to life better.”

The SAIC initiative “Operation J.U.M.P. for Joy” has helped to jumpstart things, with the idea of “get a shot of vaccine and a boost of civics.” But to keep momentum going and the passion churning we can take lessons from history based on two questions around ‘Hometown Strong’ comebacks that folks before us have served-up as a roadmap:

  • How did they overcome the struggle to get their breakthrough?
  • How did they build excellence to live their best life?
School Bus Pickup

During the initial school year students can expect a subject refresher. As the saying goes “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, it might also make sense whether as students/educators, civic leaders, community/public officials and HR practitioners to review what makes SAIC a social-edge campaign & platform. Yes, in part it’s because SAIC brings a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship. But it’s also because of how it links history and civics to infuse a ‘winning spirit’ in culture from elementary to post-secondary to professional life.

For those culture-setters in different organizations trying to foster a more socially healthy way of life, SAIC is built on combining American History, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks. The genius of the “smart civics” factor runs through 7 phases, 3 communities and 2 questions to help society lessen the impact of partisan hang-ups and social flare-ups. The two questions above are major keys on forging #HometownStrong comebacks by how we handle:

1. Fear

Throughout history, fear has been used as a weapon in the culture wars. It shows up as “fear of the other” based on isms and schisms around race, country of origin or LGBTQ status. In a basic sense, fear is meant to be a protector or motivator. If a situation might cause harm, fear is there to protect us. If a situation might cause second-guessing, we use fear as a motivator. The second guessing could involve possible concern around making a ‘fool of ourselves’. Getting past the second-guessing means recognizing when F.E.A.R. is simply a case of ‘fools error acting ready’ to distract, disable or deny.     

2. Faith

Something else we find in history, is religion being used in harmful ways around matters of faith. That left some people wondering, “Is God really on our side or only on their side?” Those who were able to overcome the struggle during the civil rights movement used faith less as a ‘fool’s crutch’ and more as a strong clutch with a change process. They found strength in building excellence to live their best life by breaking the hold fear had on them to experience a butterfly-breakthrough. It’s like F.E.A.R. became ‘faith effort acting real’ as a mantra and clutch-move to achieving social, professional and personal goals.

Butterfly Breakthrough

3. Firsts

Those who made history in different areas are often known for achieving some kinda ‘first’. Whether it was a ‘first’ in a personal/professional way or a ‘first’ in a more group-engaged way, they were able to shine a light or reach new height in a job, career or vocation. Making history today still involves achieving new ‘firsts’ by how we serve a larger purpose or tap unserved/underserved potential. That’s why SAIC’s mission to “awaken sleeping greatness with smart civics” focuses on how we reach higher in civic engagement, American Dream and civics education. Maybe there’re some ‘firsts’ in our future.

4. Face 

It’s been said “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it’s faced.” The same is true if we’re gonna return “back to life better” and achieve #HometownStrong comebacks or celebrate #FamilyStrong moments. The storms of life seem more frequent and brutal. The politics of life seem more divided and dysfunctional. There’re certain truths we all need to face to get moving with change or change what’s not moving. Those who engage with life’s truths often become the ‘face’ of an enterprise, movement or comeback story.    

Civic Assignment

So the SAIC civic leadership assignment is about raising our score as culture-setters. Medical experts these days are focused on our mental/physical well-being with programs to get us booster shots of vaccine or personal therapy. But SAIC is focused on #HometownStrong and #FamilyStrong efforts for a more socially healthy way of life by how we handle fear, engage faith, achieve firsts and become the face of an enterprise, movement or comeback story. Whether you’re an American teen, young adult or working professional, we’re headed to a new normal…some kinda way someday.

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms List

Tracks: Khalid – American Teen – https://youtu.be/0NChtZCDCsY

One Republic – Someday – https://youtu.be/vNfgVjZF8_4

Dear America 2021
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(Re)United by Civics in the Real World: With a Winning Spirit in Culture to Move Past Partisan Hang-ups and Social Flare-ups

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Who’s ready to beat the virus? There’s growing concern that we’re not quite out the woods yet with Covid-19. The delta variant rate of spread is a cause for concern in many parts of the country. Why it’s become such a political football might take some time to unpack. But how about we focus on rallying around a solution as a team like they do at mission control?

Mission Control

That’s somewhat how the conversation went during the early founding of the nation when the question then was, “Who’s ready to beat the British?” A series of events had triggered a backlash to British rule which eventually led to the American Revolution. Patriot leaders like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin pulled together a gameplan for victory as a team and nation.

The plan was built around modest military strategy for sure, but they were also “united by civics.” Some concerns they had to manage resulted in critical decisions and civic actions:

  • They formed the Continental Congress and Continental Army as a “common good, shared defense” approach to the vast strength of the British forces.
  • They directed the creation of the “free press” in response to misinformation and disinformation that was in circulation.

The American patriots realized that if the colonies were divided and not on one accord, the British could undermine the weak link. They also had to contend with folks in neighboring Quebec Canada who were spreading bad info about the U.S. mission. Well, the Covid-19 virus is no joke and works by affecting the unvaccinated as the weak link. In addition, there’s no reason why media outlets today, born out of the idea of a “free press” should be spreading misinformation. Public leaders and everyday citizens should be ready to join a strategy to beat the virus, squash bad info and come together for the greater good.   

Space Race

If the patriots back then had the ‘smarts’ to be united by civics, what might it take for us to be (re)united by ‘smart civics’ in the real world, with a winning spirit? Well, maybe we can look to the new space race or the Olympics for clues. For the space race it’s about being united by science. The Olympic athletes and countries come together united by sports. So if we’re gonna beat the virus and return “back to life better” as a nation after Covid, social protests and post-election challenges, maybe we’ll need to copy what happens in sports during a timeout. That’s the idea behind SAICs “Operation J.U.M.P. for Joy.”

Normally during a timeout, there’re four things that happen between the last play and return-to-play when teams J.U.M.P. back into action. Well, Covid-19 forced a kinda timeout on regular life. Moving forward as we return to the workplace, school campus and other normal activities it might help to infuse those four things in our day-to-day living. Plus, Operation J.U.M.P. is about linking history and civics as we urge others to get a “shot of vaccine and boost of civics” and return back to life better with:

  1. Juice

On the sidelines during a timeout, athletes can be seen chugging their favorite sports drink. During play they lose lots of fluid and these drinks along with water, help to replenish them with electrolytes. This way they avoid getting weak from dehydration. Well, we can do the same to replenish some of what the Covid shutdown caused us to lose. For starters, it makes sense to get a shot of vaccine as our ‘juice’ to protect us from bad effects of the virus causing infection, exhaustion, dehydration and possible hospitalization.      

Vaccine Shot

2. Urgency

Players return to the field after a timeout pep-talk from the coaching staff. This might involve pointing out ways to overcome their opponent. In most cases you can see the sense of urgency they have back in the game. Similarly, where things are today with civic, social, cultural and Covid issues, we need to respond with a sense of urgency. Maybe words from Dr King fit here: “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”  

3. Moxie

Not only do athletes show-up with a sense of urgency, but they also bring some moxie. That means they gotta have a fighting spirit in the game. You often see this with ‘hustle’ plays where things start to bounce their way. Moxie might not always show up in the game stats but it often shows up in the team energy. That’s why we say SAIC isn’t about seeing others as a new enemy as much as it is about bringing a new energy to the civic/social playing field.    

Championship Stadium

4. Purpose

In an interview with famed basketball coaching legend John Wooden, he was once asked about the success he had at UCLA over his career. The reporter basically wanted to know how he got different players to come together as a team, even when they weren’t all 5-star athletes. Wooden’s response captured his coaching philosophy. He said, “Each player on the team must find a role for himself and a purpose beyond himself.” SAIC is built on a similar philosophy geared towards a higher level of citizenship.   

These days, some stir-up drama about whether Simone Biles lived up to her G.O.A.T. status at the Tokyo Olympics. Others spread bad info causing vaccine hesitancy. SAICs Operation J.U.M.P. wants us to focus more on being united by civics. So, we’ll need Juice for the Journey, Urgency to Up-level, Moxie to Matter and Purpose to Party! The idea of the Revolution as a time to “fight for freedom or die” gets used as an excuse to justify not taking the vaccine. Well, we can be like those in 1776 whose fight for freedom was to beat the British and begin a new nation. Today we fight for freedom to beat the virus and return back to life better with a new lease on life.  

Back to Life Better

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms List

Tracks: GAWVI ft LeCrae – Fight for Me – https://youtu.be/LYU9RWkvhwo 

Andy Grammer – Lease on Life – https://youtu.be/-SiifUgGqAs

Featured

When History Calls: How Moments in Time Became Movements of a People

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Maybe where you are, it’s one of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer. When the July 4th holiday rolls around you know that fireworks gonna be flying and temps gonna be soaring. When it’s behind us we’re in the dog days of hot weather. On those lazy days you just don’t feel like doing much. The hazy days might have you trying to stay cool to the point of chill. What about the crazy days?

Well, we can start with the drumbeat around civic and social issues. Whether it’s the cancel culture debate or the critical race theory backlash, there’re some who want to keep the grievance thing going. There’re also some public officials who seem to believe democracy is up for sale. Not to be overlooked are events around the isms and schisms of our era. These situations make you wanna flashback to a time and consider what to do when history calls.

Black & White Thinking

That flashback might reveal that the worst of America wants to be stuck on rage. While the best of America wants to reach a new stage. Throughout our history we’ve tried to balance how White America thinks and how Black America treads. It’s also been a balancing act of trying to do big things in the spirit of history and doing other things more like in the spirit of misery. So what do we see happening today?

From our founding to current we’ve had social change come about in waves. Whether that wave made a difference tells you something about how moments in time became movements of a people. A sports commentator might say a wave in the stands is a sign of boredom. A beachgoer might see a wave as a time for fun or relaxation, but a lifeguard knows it can also come with a dangerous undercurrent. So in terms of social issues, a wave might be an indication of being on the right side or wrong side of history, depending on whether it’s driven by boredom, a racial undercurrent or a higher sense of purpose.

Beach Side

See America In Color (SAIC) as a social edge campaign/platform reveals a fairly basic thing about the waves in American history. In the early days they started out being tied to two sets of colors, not simply black and white but also black and green. In 1607 when the first settlers arrived in Virginia it was in part about the ‘green’ of the Benjamins. They were looking for new export markets and many would eventually build their enterprise around the ‘black’ side of slavery. In 1620 there was a different group (known as pilgrims/puritans) who came on the Mayflower and landed at ‘Plymouth Rock’. They came in search of religious freedom. Where the two paths seem to meet is in suppressing and distorting the freedoms of Blacks (seems like a ‘freedom’ contradiction, right?). Since then, we’ve seen these waves play out in:            

  1. Revolution – Declaration of Independence

When it seemed like the freedom thing wasn’t quite working out for settlers, they eventual got to the point of revolution. This meant breaking away from England and forming a new country with a statement of purpose drafted as the Declaration of Independence. There was a ‘meeting of the minds’ around the notion of equality, which right off the bat fell short in practice. There was also a resolution to turn grievances into a set of ideals and principles which were put into the founding documents.   

2. Suffrage – Declaration of Sentiments

Women of the World

When women saw how the equality thing wasn’t working out, they got together to fight for suffrage and the right to participate in civic affairs. This led to the Declaration of Sentiments as a statement of purpose around duty to country and gender equality. Interestingly, the equality thing wasn’t working out for blacks either and for black women especially, it was a matter of feeling hidden or having their roles lessened. It’s important to note that there were men (including Frederick Douglass) who signed-on to this declaration to show support.

3. Secession – Declaration of Causes

The equality thing was still a struggle for blacks. This came to a head as the fight around slavery led to secession, the Declaration of Causes and eventually a civil war. This declaration was more a statement of animus than purpose because it was about maintaining the enterprise of slavery and protecting states’ rights. The 11 seceding states broke away from the union to be separate from the Federal government and to keep the dehumanizing function of slavery intact for economic reasons. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost but eventually, the Emancipation Proclamation was the preview of a movement which continued towards civil rights.  

4. Destiny – Declaration of Emergence

GPS Tracking

So while the struggle has shifted over time from freedom to suffrage to slavery to civil rights, yet still the journey continues. Now we’re at a point where it’s about handling the truth. It’s as if the words “we hold these truths to be self-evident” are on a path to being eroded or erased. With GPS, you get to your destination with the truth-in-location that guides you to your destination. Similarly, with SAIC we can get to our best self individually and ‘a more perfect Union’ collectively as a nation with SAICs Declaration of Emergence and the truth that guides us to our destiny.

So if you’re wondering how some white people think, look at how America continues to struggle around issues of race, access, opportunity, duty. If you’re wondering how black people have had to tread, just look at the voting rights debate and other aspects of history that seem to be repeating themselves. We’ve seen different kinds of waves over the past 400+ years. Maybe after Independence Day we can think about a new wave in how we See America In Color to help ease the struggle around equality and move closer to our destiny. We shouldn’t be afraid to look truth in the eye and know our worth.

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms List

Tracks: Nico & Vinz – Don’t be Afraid – https://youtu.be/U5k8d4oK45E 

Khalid – Know Your Worth – https://youtu.be/aEDULPGIwcg

Dear America 2021

Featured

Smart Civics 101 and We the People: Influencing Culture in the Classroom, at Work or Your Field of Dreams

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

The tassels and caps are flying! Whether it’s in middle school through college or trade school, many graduates are taking their last strolls before leaving campus. With Covid being less of a factor there’s room to laugh, hug and for some maybe even twerk their way to the next stage in learning, work and life.

Class of 2021

Others have an eye on the reopening of stadiums with more butts in the seats. Fans got a treat recently when Simone Biles did a jaw-dropping routine that’s never been done before by a female gymnast. Maybe in the same sports report on the evening news we heard about Phil Mikelson becoming the oldest player to win a PGA tournament at age 50.

While all that good stuff is happening, we’re still trying to figure out hot-button social issues. Sometimes it’s a gut-wrenching tragedy that makes no sense. Other times it’s head-scratching comments made by public officials. These make you wonder when things are gonna settle back to ‘normal’ after the pandemic, social protests and post-election drama showing up as voting audits with shady intentions.

It’s time for ‘Smart Civics 101’ and We the People to influence culture to the max in the classroom, at work or your field of dreams. It’s gonna take a new push in social intelligence. What’s that you ask? Well with current challenges around homeland security, we rely on national intelligence. Troop deployment and readiness rely on military intelligence. So, we can do more to better handle bias, hate and the culture war that’s at play. It’s why we need social intelligence more than ever before.

Hot Track

Remember those days as kids when we’d sing the words to a song but as we grew older, we realized we were singing the wrong words? Nowadays you can search the lyrics online and set yourself straight. That’s exactly how SAIC sees things from the point of view of civic/social issues. It’s about how we deliver not lyrics but civics so that you can see things straight with the issues of the day. This means bringing:

  1. Awareness

Folks from the deep south know about the Tulsa Massacre 100 years ago. The painful stories still bubble-up some anger today. There’re also stories of lynching that make your body coil. Consider the lynching cases or racial attacks in history that were often based on a lie? Someone is falsely accused of winking at a girl (e.g. Emmett Till), then a mob showed up to do damage. What do we see today, that’s repeating itself? Restrictive voting laws being passed based on a lie, which will disenfranchise people as a kinda lynching of democracy. We need more social intelligence to build knowledge.      

2. Knowledge

With American history, we learn about Settlement, Slavery, Independence, Civil War, Reconstruction, Segregation & Civil Rights. But did you know that throughout history there’s been this repeating back-and-forth between greater promise and power struggle? In the early days it was between “all men created equal” and abolishing slavery. What followed that was between Emancipation Proclamation and the fight to end segregation with civil rights. These days the back-and-forth is between multi-racial society and white nationalism wrapped-up with disinformation. We need more social intelligence to build smarts.

3. Smarts

Software Coder

During normal educational training we go from awareness to knowledge too. Then we arrive at a point of developing smarts. This way we can apply concepts in context to solve more difficult problems. If you’re working with software and writing code, the most basic instruction you learn to use is the ‘If’ clause. It’s a critical part of knowing whether a statement or system condition is true, before the next step. Otherwise, the system can get into a suspended or ‘hung’ state. That’s another reason why we need more social intelligence today to avoid being in a ‘hung-up’ state with civic/social issues and to build more hope.

4. Hope

Think about when you graduated to the next level? Getting to that point gave you hope for the future. But there seems to be a breakdown happening. How else do we explain the Tulsa Massacre then or recent mass casualty incidents now? It’s mental health, seething hate or lost hope where folks don’t see themselves contributing to society. Dr King ended his famous speech with the repeated refrain ‘I Have a Dream’. He hoped for a day when his children wouldn’t be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Well, we can build hope by raising the content of our character or the ‘smarts’ of our civics.     

This isn’t about ‘smart shaming’ people. It’s about adding ‘smarts’ to civics like with gadgets and building social intelligence. Throughout history we’ve gone from forming a nation with the Declaration of Independence. We’ve come through freeing a people with the Emancipation Proclamation. Then we had a phase of challenging a ‘separate but equal’ notion to achieve civil rights legislation. Now we’re at a point of up-leveling our citizenship by how we reboot civics education. That’s gotta be for us like fuel for today, hope for tomorrow and motivation to run on and experience personal power or higher achievement.

Medical Intern

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms List

Tracks: One Republic – Run – https://youtu.be/TKkcsmvYTw4 

Coldplay – Higher Power – https://youtu.be/gXgf5smLEgQ

Friday Night Flights – Finale

6/4 Finale Event registration: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYkf-6hrDkvHN05O9ehnqgNwGBiHsXSan-d

Featured

Voices of Change in Communities: Fresh Hope and Clear Vision for a New Day in Civic Engagement

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

It’s the verdict people were waiting for from coast to coast. Some 25 million watched to see where things would come down regarding the death of George Floyd. The jury turned in a guilty verdict for the case. As the judge read the counts which surprised many, folks wondered if it was justice or a first step at accountability.

Blindfolded Lady Justice

While that news story left many feeling hopeful, there was another event that brought a different kind of exhilaration. It was happening on Mars where NASA engineers made history with the first ever flight of an aircraft on the far-out planet. The plan was to have the helicopter (named Ingenuity) fly a little higher on each test flight.

Whether from a social change, American Dream or community empowerment perspective, See America In Color (SAIC) as a social-edge campaign/platform is focused on reaching new heights as well. With the launch of Friday Night Flights and a 7-part series of panels, each event has been like a ‘test flight’ in civic engagement, with one panel left to go.

A takeaway so far relates to this question: “Have we become a culture where we spend so much more money/energy on pushing social grievances than on pushing civic goals that help people better understand the issues?” A deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks reveals that cultural divide issues have always existed. They’ve been used to drum-up some economic or political advantage by one party over the other, at times with white supremacy as a backdrop. Examples include the Three-fifths Clause, Indian Removal Act and Chinese Exclusion Act.

Raging Waves

The cultural divide in today’s traditional and social media worlds has become such an undercurrent for raging waves of discontent, distrust and disinformation. We see it in restrictive voting laws being passed across the country. We see it with incidents of hate against Asian-Americans. We see it in police involved shootings in certain communities that leave more questions than answers. In some ways the cycle continues. So as we respond to post-election drama, the pandemic and social justice concerns, SAIC is readying a set of ‘Back to Life Better’ initiatives bringing fresh hope and clear vision for a new day where:    

  1. Social grievances become civic goals

Think back to that scene in the movie ‘A Few Good Men’ where Jack Nicholson’s character says to Tom Cruises’ character, “you can’t handle the truth.” Listen for another minute or so later in the clip and you’ll hear where Nicholson explains that statement by saying to Cruise, “I don’t care what you feel you’re entitled to.” Nowadays, the ‘social grievance brigade’ who are not interested in civic goals, are those with a bad sense of entitlement about civic/social issues. SAICs take on civic goals is to build on the idea of ‘We the People’ who can handle the truth.    

2. Local protests become higher purpose

Local Protest

What triggered America’s founding was later guided by a higher purpose. The Constitution’s preamble of “We the people in order to form a more perfect Union” gives the higher purpose. These days what we find is social grievance being used to feed the cultural divide as opposed turned into a higher purpose. How else do you explain the events of January 6th where a local rally morphed into attacking the Capitol of democracy and gaslighting America? With SAIC we’re using talents and gifting to achieve a higher level of citizenship. Alexander Hamilton used his gift of writing during the Revolution and after the Constitutional Convention. Harriet Tubman used her gift of discernment with the Underground Railroad.       

3. Civics education becomes greatness in action

Thomas Jefferson, even with his many contradictions seems to affirm the importance of civics education. He’s quoted as saying “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate power of the society than the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion through education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” The value of civics education helps to address constitutional abuses and cultural biases. Plus, as we make civics count, we help America’s greatness in action shine through the ultimate power in society as informed and engaged citizens.  

4. Recurring problems become better solutions

When our car has a flat, the first thing to do is change the tire. Most cars today come with a reduced-size spare tire called a ‘donut’. You’re allowed to run on the donut but at slower speed. You can drive for a while but not forever. The donut is an emergency fix to a problem. Eventually you have to replace the flat tire. With civic/social issues, have you ever wondered why when some things change, they seem to remain the same? Maybe the recurring problems need to go beyond an emergency fix. They need better solutions like SAIC has to offer, which is more than just a catchy name or marketing slogan.     

Court Gavel

Will you join us in the effort to make civics count? We’ll be stepping up our civic game by rolling out new initiatives at school, work and community. The verdict might be in, but the question is whether the fix is in. It will take ‘We the People’ using civic goals to operate with a higher purpose. For some, the thing that might hold us together could be a matter of faith or getting past some fear or striving to achieve certain firsts or just pressing on in the fight for equal justice under the law. So folks, speak now!  

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Letters and Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

Acronyms List

Tracks: H.E.R. & Tauren Wells – Hold Us Together – https://youtu.be/TwqU78VEmNc 

Leslie Odom Jr – Speak Now – https://youtu.be/ZvnPEMW1jj8

Dear America 2021
Featured

A Shift to Move Past Race, Gender and Equity Social Hangups that Will Have Us Thinking.. What a Change!

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

What a game (times 2)! First it was the NCAA men’s semi-final game that came down to three seconds and a buzzer beater from Gonzaga. Then it was the women’s championship game which also came down to a last second shot. But that time it didn’t drop in the basket. The thrill of victory and the hill of reaching higher with your play.

Cargo Ship

What a feat! That’s because of how those ship workers got the cargo vessel unstuck. This 220,000-ton behemoth ended up blocking the Suez Canal shipping lane for days. The ship might have been named the “Ever Given” but the mindset of those workers might be described as “Ever Sure.” They applied all their skills, equipment, resources, experience and sense of the possible to save the day.

What a change! Those are words folks might want to say when it comes to civic/social issues. It’s something we have as a goal of SAIC in order to go from See America In Color to Say America I Can. In one sense, the approach isn’t a David vs Goliath thing. It’s really David and the slingshot teaming up with Goliath and the arsenal to defeat inequalities, inequities and insecurities. Wouldn’t it be nice to also get past the culture wars?

A shift to move past race, gender and equity social hangups might require an initial heavy-lift to forge #HometownStrong community partnerships in social change (see highlights at the end from SAICs Friday Night Flights and the Women in Public Service Panel). This involves change at the local level that’s less about a political agenda and more about a higher purpose of working together across organizational lines and roles for the benefit of those we serve.

#HometownStrong Partnerships

There’s also the need for change at the system level where things have become problematic. Whether it’s with a new approach to issues like the filibuster, voting rights, gun rights or other reforms, there comes a time when one has to reprogram the system. Think about how that might have happened in the telephone system when we were running out of ‘800 toll-free’ numbers. Biz/tech leaders came up with an expansion of the system with the addition of 877, 866, 855, etc.

Then they had to reprogram systems in the network to increase capabilities so the new numbers would work. SAIC helps us do just that by adding ‘smarts’ to civics the way biz/tech leaders do with systems and gadgets. But it’s also about how we pull together as a Dream Team, whether to beat a tough challenge, move a big obstacle or engage with a city of 2000, 220,000 or more people. According to the author of the book “Think Outside the Building,” we have to watchout for bureaucratic hurdles, ego roadblocks and process potholes that can cause things to derail or not prevail. Plus, from SAICs deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks, we found it also takes some:

City Birds-Eye View

1. Dreaming

This helps with “finding your fuel.” It’s how you power-thru those moments of fear, setbacks or when others might sell-you-out. Dr King understood this well because before he gave his famous March on Washington speech, he was already doing his part of ‘interpreting the dreams’ of Americans. That’s what his powerful refrain at the end of the speech was about. He had delivered bits and pieces in previous speeches. But it was Mahalia Jackson, who sang just before King spoke and later said to him “tell them about the Dream, Martin.” It’s the ‘I Have a Dream’ part of his speech that folks remember most.   

2. Hustling

Before Barack Obama became U.S. President he was an emerging author with the book “Dreams of My Father.” It’s been said that at his first book signing, only 10 people showed up. But he kept hustling his way to the top. Before Tyler Perry was the billionaire he is now, his first stage play was a disappointment where only a handful of people showed up. But he kept hustling his way to being a showbiz mogul today. Even a farmer knows that hustling is simply about sowing, watering and nurturing the seed and letting nature grant the increase. Well what SAIC has learned from Dr King and others in the game is that hustling is about sowing, watering and nurturing the concept and letting God grant the increase.     

Farm Hustling

3. Calling

With the David and Goliath story, Goliath had a combat assignment, but David had a calling. Long before we showed up in our work, we were given a calling. Think about how parents spend months coming up with the name for their child. It’s how that child will be ‘called’ by name and recognized. Well, that’s what your true calling means. It’s a way by which you’ll be ‘called’ by significance and recognized for valued service. Your calling might also give you ‘naming rights’ where you get to name stuff before they come into existence. SAIC represents a calling and as founder/creator, it comes with ‘naming rights.’

4. Impacting

We could list many names of those from history who expanded their capabilities and reprogrammed their skillset from assignment to calling. Some might not have realized at the time the impact they would have. Rosa Parks turned a bus seat into a movement. Harriet Tubman turned a social strategy into an underground railroad to freedom. They made an impact then to the point where we look back and say “what a change!” We can do our own impacting today to address voting rights or other areas of reform when we’re resolute in our conviction to the point of being “Ever Sure” as Parks and Tubman were.    

SAIC Cultural Impact Chart

So if you saw the NCAA basketball men’s semi-final or women’s final games you saw team play at its finest. If you read the story about the stuck ship you know that it took the coming together of the local workers to do something spectacular. Well, all this is possible when we up-tempo our diversity, equity, inclusion game and up-civics our campus, company and community. We get there by finding the fuel from dreaming, hustling, calling and impacting to the point where we feel it in our bones.  

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms List

Tracks: Beyoncé – I was Here – https://youtu.be/i41qWJ6QjPI 

Cynthia Erivo – Stand Up – https://youtu.be/sn19xvfoXvk

Featured

What We Learn from the Founding Fathers that Might Help us Deal with Cancel Culture and the Cultural Divide

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Well, Perseverance has landed! That’s one way to describe the news when the mars rover made it to the far-out planet. We saw a collective sigh of relief and at the same time exhilaration of accomplishment in the reaction of the mission control team. Ever wondered what that feeling must be like? Their work involves building a bridge to research and advances in life.

Mission Control

We had a taste of that with the recent launch of SAICs Friday Night Flights and the community panel. For that initial rollout it could also be said that perseverance has landed too. There’re other events planned in the series including a Business Panel, Education Panel, International Panel, Women in Public Service Panel, Hometown Best Panel and Super Citizens Panel. One way we’re hoping people see the strategy is like building a bridge to the future. That’s probably how the Founding Fathers approached the post Revolution period as they put in place some key documents for the republic.

The Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights served as that bridge. We know that some people didn’t get equal access to the privileges of that bridge. How else do you explain the fact that it was ok for some to be born free and others born to be sold? How do you explain the fact that some were treated as second-class while others seen as an afterthought? We have an opportunity to revisit lessons from the past to build a better bridge to the future. But we have to decide on whether it’s a bridge to “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” or a bridge to “…life, liberty and the pursuit of conspiracy theories.”

Cultural Bridge

It’s why SAIC includes the Declaration of Emergence (DOE) as an added improvement to the original bridge. The DOE says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all are created equal and are endowed by the Creator with certain basic rights, civic values and hidden assets to live your best life.” These improvements to the original bridge are like what you find with construction work on physical bridges today. They’re improvements in street signs, road surface and guard rails. The DOE brings improvements in how we reach a higher level of citizenship through a better picture of civic/social issues.

The Founding Fathers might not have had a full view for how technology, partisanship and media proliferation would collide in the modern age. But they themselves took some cues about the underpinnings of the nation from the Greeks and Romans as well as the Enlightenment period of the 17th and 18th centuries. We might be in a different kind of period today that goes back and forth between enlightenment and entertainment. But there’re timeless civic values from the early Greco-Roman times that show the importance of:

1. Virtue

The familiar use of this word is often associated with how we treat and esteem women. That’s something that wasn’t necessarily at the forefront in America back then. However, the more lasting view of the word relates to having a sense of public-spiritedness and concern for the common good. Nowadays that can seem to be in short supply. How else do you explain when public officials approach their service as if it’s supposed to be like an R-rated movie with certain extremes as opposed to being AAA rated like a financial investment that has strong value over time?          

2. Temperance

Founding Fathers

This speaks to the importance of self-restraint in the public space and especially among public officials. We raise our children to avoid bullying which shows a lack of restraint and meanness. While there’re times for spirited discussions on a subject as happened among the founding fathers, temperance is needed to get past sticking points and roadblocks to serving the common good. In terms of a lack of temperance, how else do you explain when an official says another official needs to be removed from office before they’re even in office?

3. Fortitude

It took a lot of fortitude to prevail during the Revolution. Yes, there was military strategy as well but the grievance with the British throne was turned into a sense of purpose. Back then it took fortitude to defeat a power greater than themselves and most other countries. Today it takes fortitude (courage) to confront inequity, injustice and insecurity. The difference between then and now is in how some folks only want to pursue having a sense of grievance but not a sense of purpose. How else do you explain when people would rather pursue the spreading of conspiracy theories than the spreading of happiness?

4. Justice

There’s a cloud of falsehood that has hung over America throughout history. It might have started with the three-fifths clause then, but it has grown into something even worst and contributes to the post-election drama. The cloud has grown to the point of blocking the light and enlightenment. This helps to explain the cultural divide in one sense and today’s battle cries for justice in another. Someone once said, “justice will not be served until the unaffected are just as outraged as those who are.” Plus, as Dr King once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”    

Cloud of Falsehood

So a response to the ‘cancel culture’ and cultural divide fervor these days might be found in civics education. Civics is to culture as truth is to the Declaration of Independence. Without ‘these truths’ things can go haywire which is where we find ourselves in some circles today. SAIC is here to switch it up by how we reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit. Civic/social virtues tend to feed off of truisms not ‘what-about-isms’. This way after the pandemic, protests and elections (PPE) we can not only be survivors, but we can also be deep-divers in civics education towards our future success individually and as a nation.  

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

Acronyms List

Tracks: Protoje Ft Koffee – Switch it Up – https://youtu.be/Z04PEg2QwNY

Skip Marley Ft Various Artists – Survival 76 Cypher – https://youtu.be/zTOYqfnSyuU

Featured

Getting to the Heart & Soul of Roots & Culture as a Nation

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Ever heard music on the radio or in a TV commercial that you wanted to know, “what’s that song?” You heard the song a time or two before but didn’t know the name of the artist. Well, ask any college student, high school teen or middle school tween and they might say “you gotta Shazam the song.” That’s social media talk for having an app that listens to the music and then names the song, artist and other details.

Black History Groove

Sometimes as citizen we find ourselves in a similar situation when listening to public figures. We hear them say something and wished we knew whether the message was true or filled with disinformation. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ‘Shazam their words’ to see if the message was on point? Well, in a sense that’s how we got to creating See America In Color (SAIC) as a social-edge campaign/platform. It’s like being able to ‘Shazam in civics’ by getting to the heart & soul of roots & culture as a classroom, company, community and country.

So you might wonder, how does this work? SAIC came about from a deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks. It was realized that part of the problem these days with separating ‘fact from fake’ is that mainstream news comes in different forms: reporting, analysis, opinion and what’s called “brand editorial.” It’s as if sometimes we have to parse and decipher by separating truth from fluff, wheat from chaff, ads from journalism.

Wheat & Chaff

One way to think about how this has played-out in our history is to go back to the Declaration of Independence. When you break it down the way a master preacher like Dr King would, you might get something like this: (1) We; (2) hold these truths; (3) to be self-evident; (4) that all men are created equal. Over the years we see how this has been interpreted by people differently:

  1. We – What/who is your ‘We’? Are you on the side of white supremacy or the side of ‘one indivisible nation under God?’ Your ‘We’ says something about your ‘I’… Identity, Importance, Inspiration, Impact.
  2. Hold these truths – the universal truths including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There’re those who ‘hold these lies’ and don’t think these truths should apply to everyone.
  3. To be self-evident – those obvious truths. For some people, truths may or may not be self-evident but they’re certainly not self-embraced. Folks build media ‘smoke screens’ around truth.
  4. That all men are created equal – in some corners this was taken literally to mean only (white) men. So blacks and women were initially left off the equality/equity train.    

When you break things down that way, it gives us a better way to ‘Shazam in civics’ from what we see, hear and learn. But SAIC doesn’t stop there. Since we were getting into the business of spreading the ‘see in color’ message, it made sense to appreciate what it’s like to ‘see in black & white.’ In other words, if this were a new business specializing in building/selling color TVs, it would make sense to know about the workings of black & white TVs, the shift to color and then ‘smart TV’. In so doing, we get a better picture for a higher level of citizenship as people who understand the:

Smart TV
  • Value Gap

According to Dr Eddie Glaude Jr, a Black Historian and Princeton University Chair of African-American Studies, the ‘value gap’ is where discrimination, dehumanization, and demonization all started. SAIC sees the ‘value gap’ like a spinoff from the Declaration of Independence, but as a ‘social issues flava’ to justify slavery. This flava went through updates which led to an ‘Imposter Syndrome’ dilemma in America, where some people are made to feel as if they don’t belong. Proclaiming ‘Black Lives Matter’ as a statement of truth then during the Three-fifths Clause debate and now during social protest marches, is a response to the value gap.          

  • Policy Gap

As the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights came about, America showed it was taking next steps beyond the Declaration of Independence. But what also happened in the law was an increasing policy gap. For example, the Fugitive Slave Act allowed those who were ‘plantation security’ to send out slave patrols to capture runaway slaves. After capture, some were tortured, like having toes cutoff as punishment. This second-class status was sealed into law with the 1857 Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott case which basically said black people didn’t have the rights of citizenship. It seems the Declaration of Independence took a backseat until we got to the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.              

Supreme Court
  • Equity Gap

Jump forward almost 100 years and we see how the policy gap evolved into the equity gap. When soldiers returned from World War II, the federal government passed a new law called the G.I. Bill. It gave veterans the chance to get new skills, access to capital, housing and job opportunities. But that wasn’t the case for returning black veterans. Then to add insult to injury later, there was the banking practice of ‘Redlining’ to intentionally suppress property values in black neighborhoods. Owning a home is a big way to build equity. But if it’s harder for some people to get a fair shot or increased property value then you get a widening equity gap.                  

  • Civics Gap

Today we find ourselves dealing with the civics gap. When history gets told, the truth sometimes depends on who’s doing the telling. The distortion or disinformation affects how we connect the dots between roots & culture. It’s why SAIC is focused on 4Rs for how we reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit. As we work on moving past the pandemic, social protests and post-elections drama, we have to find ways to make civics count if we want to return back to life better. Plus, if we can train ‘smart dogs’ to sniff-out Covid, don’t see why we can’t train the next generation by how we add ‘smarts’ to civics, to ‘sniff-out’ issues that feed the cultural divide.  

Fault Line

So who’s ready to ‘Shazam in civics’? Here’s a take-home assignment. Think about how geology helps with knowing the earth’s physical landscape, natural resources and hidden fault lines. Well, maybe SAICs approach to civics might be useful in how we nail down the social landscape, human resources/assets and ‘false lines’ in news, roots & culture. We make progress with equality and equity by how we operate in our greatness and treat one another with fairness. We must turn cultural despair built around 3Rs (racism, resentment, rage) into multi-cultural synergy built around universal truths of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.                

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms

Tracks: K Ci & JoJo – Life – https://youtu.be/JMGgLgmfg2w 

Kid Cudi ft MGMT – Pursuit of Happiness – https://youtu.be/7xzU9Qqdqww

Featured

A Shot of Hope for Change to Get Past the Pandemic, Social Protests and Post-Election Drama!

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Who’s ready to talk playoffs? Or maybe it’s the buzz around new TV shows that’s on some people’s minds? In college football the national championship game is set to be a kinda north vs south. In pro football, there’re a couple teams in the mix that hadn’t made the playoffs in years. Even with almost empty stadiums, die-hard fans will be cheering as players bring passion and mojo to the field.

Big Game

But there’s something else more pressing beyond first down and 10. It’s the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines. As the new year unfolds folks from rural towns to big cities are waiting to get their doses. After all we’ve gone through as a nation these past months, the rollout is being described as a shot of hope for many.

Covid-19 isn’t the only issue to have caused public alarm. We’ve basically had the triple-challenge of pandemic, social protests and the presidential elections. The overlap of these social/civic issues has tested our system of government, justice and healthcare. It’s why See America In Color (SAIC) represents a shot of hope for change to get past the pandemic, social protests and the post-election drama.

SAIC Solution Sweet Spot

As our public health officials ramp up messaging on the vaccines, we learn that it was made possible by years of research after the H1/N1 virus outbreak. The science behind the vaccines might not make sense to everybody, which is one reason people could hold doubts. Similarly, SAIC as a social-edge campaign/platform came out of a deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks. One way to make sense of it all is in SAICs snapshot of history.  

It was James Madison who, in describing the difference between the north and south said “the institution of slavery and its consequences formed the line of discrimination.” That was America’s original ‘fault line’ so to speak. As with the trauma of earthquakes and Tsunamis, our fault lines are where social grievances and political drama play out. So, with SAICs 2021 rollout and impact statement we say, “Dear America, it’s year 21 and century 21, which should mean a coming-of-age in how we respond to this triple-challenge.” It’ll take a model of civic excellence around equality, access, justice and unity:   

Snapshot of History

1. Equality

College football players have been wearing impact statements on their helmets. The ‘equality’ message connects with them when you consider the different types of surfaces they play on. Some stadiums have natural turf while others have artificial. In the case of artificial, those fields seem to come in different shades of green, grey, red and blue. But no matter the type of surface, the rules still provide for a ‘level playing field.’ In the same way, when it comes to the civic/social issues of our time, no matter what shades of color we are, equality should ensure a level playing field.           

Field of Dreams

2. Access

This year NJ changed its county office titles from Freeholder to County Commissioner. The old name was a holdover from when only the wealthy, those who owned property or those who were free got access to resources. Imagine if the nature gods decided to only allow some people access to oxygen (O2) based on wealth and the rest of us only got leftover oxygen as in one-part ‘O’ or none at all? In a sense that’s what happens when we limit access to resources based on a ‘grinch leader’ mentality. It’s been said that the most basic part of a democracy is access to voting. The ballot box is something to watch since in America’s history there’ve been repeated efforts at suppression and intimidation.           

3. Justice

Dr King once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” James Baldwin is quoted as saying “Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy of justice.” These quotes remind us that justice should be fair-minded and ‘smarts’-building. A simple way to think of justice is in the ‘targeting’ call in football. To play smart and avoid injury, a player cannot use the crown of the head to make a tackle. If ‘targeting’ is confirmed after video review, then there’s a penalty. So, in terms of social injustices or wrongful loss of life whether with law enforcement or other entity, if ‘biased targeting’ is confirmed there should be a penalty.               

4. Unity

The first principle in the Kwanzaa tradition is unity. The first part of USA is tied to unity. With SAIC we can achieve unity through features built around content for smart curriculum, a campaign for change, a platform for closing the ‘civics gap’ and a bridge to crossover the cultural divide. Plus, we can achieve unity like what happens in a holiday light display. We string-together a series of wires and flip the switch to get a beautiful array of bright lights. Well, with a model of civic excellence we can produce #CitizenShining moments from coast to coast in the biz world and throughout communities.  

Streaming Channels

So the TV networks or streaming channels aren’t the only ones doing a rollout of new shows or new season of current shows. We’re also doing a 2021 rollout of SAICs Essay Contest and Friday Night Flights to meet the triple-challenge of the day. These past months have been tough in many respects. We’ve had to adjust to a different kind of normal. But with our rollout rooted in reality and focused on returning back to life better we hope that this year brings not just a turnaround but also a feeling like we belong as you hold SAIC close.             

You can join the conversation and support our efforts with SAICs “Dear America 2021” Impact Statement at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.    

SAIC Acronyms

Tracks: Ciara Ft Ester Dean – Rooted – https://youtu.be/bUAxPG3GYi8 

X Ambassadors – Belong – https://youtu.be/KH6MwwKdTqY

Featured

(Part 2) After We Vote: How We Move on From the Elections and Bring Change Whether Win, Lose or Flaws.

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

The holiday season is here! It’s usually a time of fun moments and festive cheer. But as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on, there’re shifts and changes we’ve had to make when compared to past years. This is also a time that the ‘Year-in-Review’ news programs get rolled out. Some of us will do our best to handle the mental/emotional stressors while trying to make sense of the 2020 blur.  

Hometown Huddle

In the workplace some might use this time for a job performance recap, while with students it might call for a school-wide virtual conversation. But in the interest of civic ‘team spirit’ for the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign/platform, we’ll use this moment as an ‘After We Vote’ review and reality check. Whether win, lose or flaws in the system, we can move on from the elections and bring change based on lessons of the past in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and ‘Hometown Strong’ comebacks.

It’s been a few weeks since the presidential elections and what’s been happening can be summed-up from our history by actions of winners and losers. For example, the winners of the American Revolution spent time crafting an organizing document that begins with the words “We the people in order to form a more perfect union.” But history shows that with past losers in America’s unfolding story, they spent time doing three things: (1) Attacking democracy (2) Suppressing citizens’ rights and (3) Gaslighting social ills and the culture wars.

Suburban Voter

As a quick flashback following the Revolution, women and some blacks in New Jersey were allowed the right to vote. That was reversed in 1807 because one party felt it was losing the support of those groups and decided to disenfranchise them. They came up with a new push and then laws under the guise of “Fighting Fraud.” Another example is how after the Civil War the KKK was formed by six confederate war veterans who were college educated. They were supporters of the losing side who would intimidate, harass and then attack democracy which led to the Jim Crow era of culture wars. Sound familiar?

A better view of civic/social issues that is “powered by SAIC” might help to explain the following ideal: Celebrate a civic spirit in culture and community like a winning spirit in sports & biz. Think about the end of a football game when the coaches or the players meet in the middle of the field to shake hands. It’s not something they do as an executive order, but as a goodwill gesture after the game. Whether win, lose or draw, they move on and/or regroup for the next game or season. Moreover, when a player graduates from school or retires as a pro, they don’t try to hold their former teammates or the game hostage. So, taking a page from sports, we can do better as elected officials, public figures, media personalities, biz leaders and regular folks in ways that serve the country well by how we affect:                     

1. Civics

Between first and eight grades, students learn in science the difference between water as H2O and hydrogen peroxide as H2O2. Imagine during that time if little by little they’re led to believe that H2O2 is the same as H2O but is better for you because it has more oxygen? That would soon become a disaster in their health. Well, what we sometimes find in our public space can be similarly bad for issues beyond race. When people get fed a ‘drip drip drip’ of disinformation, over time they’re led to believe the wrong things. This might cause an addiction to disinformation, and as with most addictions, someone gets hurt. Plus, by the time they get to college and the real world, they’re likely to suffer with bouts of grievance, confusion and pain because they “lack information and are constantly liable to being misled.”          

2. Citizens

Organized Sports

From middle school through college, students can participate in the organized sport of their choosing. As they advance from the early stages maybe even through to the Olympics or pro ranks, practice sessions become harder and the goals steeper. As they grow in abilities and personal strengths the rewards are also greater. Well, that’s the mindset of SAICs Essay Contest and Friday Night Flights programs, in an effort to reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit. By the time we become voters or serve in other ways with a deeper sense of duty, we’ll all be working with a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship.        

3. Culture

Some of what we see today as ‘culture wars’ might be tied to a back-and-forth between White America and Black Culture. There’s even a spillover to other areas but it’s often experienced as ‘social humidity.’ It’s like those days when humidity in the air is heavy. The higher the humidity, the greater amount of water vapor is in the atmosphere. Things feel sticky, uncomfortable, maybe even unbearable as people try to find a ‘cool zone.’ Well when it comes to civic/social issues in America, we’ve always had to deal with social humidity due to ‘white supremacy vapors’ in the air making things uncomfortable. Plus, part of the culture wars might also be about whose ‘cool zone’ attracts more followers.              

4. Community

Some might remember the TV show from the 60s/70s called the ‘Mod Squad’ (Mod for modern). The theme was based around a group of young people who wanted to make a difference in the community. Their backgrounds could have caused them to be overlooked, but they came together to affect the social issues of their time. Maybe today across America we need a kind of ‘Pod Squad’ to help ‘protect our democracy’ or a ‘Civics Brigade’ to ‘put out disinformation’ hotspots that spread like wildfire. We kinda need parents, teachers, students and community members locked-in on a stronger, more secure future.

Hometown Recognition

If we want to “Make Team America an Awesome 10” we can look to sports as a guide. The players in the game learn to think ‘team’ before their own highlight ream. When you write the word aWEsoME, you gotta spell WE before ME. In the same way this might serve us well as we consider country, community and duty before political party, celebrity or cash money. It takes patriotic realism over selfish ambitions to achieve a greater good, higher purpose and bigger love that will have us all feeling good in the neighborhood throughout the holiday season and beyond. Then no one can top or stop us as a nation!              

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Surfaces – Sunday Best – https://youtu.be/_83KqwEEGw4

 John Legend – Bigger Love – https://youtu.be/rAxdO1j6oQI

Featured

After We Vote: Where is History, Civics & Culture Gonna Take us As the U.S.A.?

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

How do you know if someone represents you or your issues? That’s the sort of question citizens face every time they vote. We’re trying to make a decision based on a combination of factors of person, party, platform and policy proposals. Sometimes a candidate might get support from celebs or other public figures to help attract voters.

Politics At-a-Glance

In some cases, you hear certain words used to criticize that support: sellout, hypocrite, traitor, opportunist. The 2020 Presidential election season was no different. A few unexpected folks came out publicly in support of their candidate. While the answer to the question of who people vote for isn’t always logical or scientific, there’re those who probably have some strong feelings.

Well, on the days after we vote we should at least be asking ourselves, “Where is history, civics and culture gonna take us as the U.S.A. – United States of America?” Think about what happens when a student attends graduation, whether from middle school, high school or college. As they walk on that stage to receive the diploma, there is a collective consensus around them going to the next level. Family members gather to support the graduate and to celebrate what life has in-store for them going forward.

Similarly, after we vote we should want to have a collective consensus about the ideals that can take us to the next level as a nation. This consensus, if viewed as the United Stage of America (USA), is one way to appreciate why the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign/platform believes civics education is the next social frontier in America. It’s why we deliver content for ‘smart curriculum and smart programming’. If you quiz people to choose between “dumb, dumber, smart or smart-arse” they’d likely want to have ‘smarts’ in civics the way biz/tech leaders do with gadgets and students do with academics.

Civics Quiz

Throughout America’s history we’ve seen evolution and revolution. We’ve also seen people overcome struggles, hardships and pain. In the 80s and 90s we had the period of crack cocaine addiction. In the 90s and early 2000s we dealt with opioid addiction. Over the years when our national identity or personal security was at stake, we responded with a “war on poverty” or “war on drugs” or “war on terror.” These days it seems we’re dealing with a growing “addiction to disinformation” that is consumed as hope. It’s as if we need a “War on D.A.H. – Disinformation as Hope.” So, to watch out for this rising danger of WMDs (weapons of mass disinformation) we need to go from:     

1. Talking points to takeoff points – because culture needs context

You often hear ‘talking points’ used to explain support for a political candidate. The problem is the message can get missed or muffled especially when used out of context. As an example, in the context of living with passion, some have heard the phrase “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Without the proper context, someone could hear that and believe “love money to live fully.” But with context, it really means “when you love what you do, money/reward will flow through you.” In the same way, culture needs history to provide context to make sure that the message doesn’t get missed or muffled.        

2. Voter education to civics education – because civics brings content

Voting Checklist

The Covid-19 pandemic threw the campaign season into a frustrating loop. There was confusion about absentee ballots versus vote-by-mail. There was concern among seniors about voting in person or working the polls. As such, there was even greater need for voter education through media and printed materials. Well after we vote, we should embrace the need for civics education to help get us past the ‘isms and schisms’, biases and prejudices, divisions and suppressions to meet and conquer that next frontier.       

3. Transaction to transformation – because citizens get conscious

In watching the campaign ads, it can sometimes feel like the process is more of a political transaction. The candidate asks for our vote in exchange for promises to make certain options/services available to the public. There’s often cynicism about the political process because voters feel some candidates forget about the people once they’re in office. With civics education, the process can be transformational as citizens get conscious about the ‘ins & outs’ of who’s serving the people and who’s serving their pockets.         

4. Candidate endorsement to civic empowerment – because better means change

Over the summer, pro athletes and other public figures showed us what can happen when citizens become conscious. There were civic engagement projects that weren’t focused on candidate endorsement. No matter which campaign ad was most convincing for folks, after we vote we can reach new heights with civic empowerment in the next frontier because better means change, whether personally, professionally or socially.   

Civic Pride

So after we vote, will we see a nation as good as its promise or as bad as its worst instincts? That’s a question we might ponder in the weeks and months ahead. These days we see slogans like “Stop Hate! or End Racism!” Maybe one day we can celebrate civics education as the United Stage of America in a National Civics Day. But in the meantime, from Miami to Minnesota, let’s meet the future with the words of President Lincoln, by living-out the “better angels” of our nature.          

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: John Legend & The Roots – Wake Up Everybody – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc 

Will Smith – Miami – https://youtu.be/IwBS6QGsH_4

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The Ultimate Breakthrough in Next Gen Civics: When You’re Ready for Change and Realize America Can More Fully Live Up to Its Ideals

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

The countdown clock is off and running! Every four years the nation gets to vote for the highest office in the land. This time, it’s being billed as the most important decision in a generation, maybe even in our history. The conventions are done, the debates are ramping up along with the campaign ads to get out the vote.

Countdown Clock

There’s also another countdown clock that’s being watched by those who follow consumer technology. In a few months there’ll be an annual convention where the newest bells & whistles in tech gear & wear is showcased. It’s an event where major innovations over the past fifty years first got the light of day in the marketplace.

What if we were to merge the two clocks and reveal the ultimate breakthrough in next gen civics? It would feature new content and social innovations in how you add ‘smarts’ to civics the way biz/tech leaders do for gadgets. That’s what continues to inspire the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign & platform, in bringing a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship. It’s also what guides the expanded categories of Art & Science in the Essay Contest as well as the empowering insights with Friday Night Flights for taking civic engagement and career dreams to new heights.

The SAIC content came out of a deep dive in American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks. It’s built on 7 phases, 3 communities and 2 questions which together create this ‘new & improved’ look at what it means to perfect the Union. It also brings a new awareness to social impact and civic empowerment. In Hollywood we have superstars and superhero characters. In politics we have super pacs and super delegates. At the gas station we have ‘plus’ and super-unleaded. So in civics why can’t we have ‘super citizens’?

Frontline Worker

In developing the SAIC concept, we couldn’t rely on theology to ‘raise the civics game’ because religion has been used with bad intentions in our history. We couldn’t rely on ideology since it can sometimes cause ‘mindless actions’ in certain cases. But we realized that technology would work, considering how society has embraced changes in consumer products over the years. So, to understand how SAIC adds ‘smarts’ to making history fun, civics fresh and culture feel-good, think about:

1. TV picture & video projection

With TVs we’ve gone from black & white to color to 4K-smart. The improvements have come about because of how you ‘project light’ and combine three basic colors: red, green and blue. Well, in the case of SAIC, it’s about projecting light through those 7 phases, 3 communities and 2 questions as well as combining the three color-strands of American history, ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks. This reveals how we can achieve greater promise over power struggle in the next phase of America’s story. As the land of ‘milk & money’, part of that power struggle is between enriching the brand and expanding the tent, between what gets politicized versus humanized.

2. Car safety & driving perception

Backup Camera

Over the past 50 years we’ve seen major advances in car safety and driving perception. Two fav features are blind spot alerts and backup cameras. When changing lanes, you get a beep and flashing light if there’s a vehicle in your blind spot. When reversing you get a wide-angle view of what’s behind you, with guide-markers that show if you’re about to hit an object. With SAICs look-back, you get a wide-angle view of history, in a way that offers guide-markers of truth, blind spot alerts of reality and patriotism that regards humanity. Unfortunately, there’s no perception tech-remedy for hypocrisy and lies right before our eyes.

3. Pop culture & news selection

There’re lots of ways to get your pop culture fix and different places to get news of the day. Sometimes it’s hard to separate substance from the sensational or to see clearly ahead as citizens in making decisions for the future. Imagine driving in a rainstorm and not being able to see through your windscreen? You’d turn-up the speed selection on your wipers to clear the glass more quickly. Well SAIC helps to more quickly make things clearer on civic/social messaging, especially when the political rainstorm has our ‘wiper blades’ going from left to right and back.

4. Handheld device & personal direction

These days we have more power in handheld devices than in many products when they first came to market. A TV remote makes ‘flashback’ between channels a breeze. A smart phone’s app takes us to first-time places with ‘GPS Go.’  Well with SAICs Declaration of Emergence in hand, folks can experience ‘SAIC Flow’ by moving from where they are to first-time civics places. In addition, it will take them where their hopes, dreams and desires intend for them to be, to live their best life as engaged citizens and exceptional workers.

GPS Go

The news has been tough for the biz sector with word of closings like that of a major movie chain. In some areas there has been a rebirth of outdoor theaters. Not only from the impact of Covid-19 but also from the improvement in ‘screen gain.’ That’s a term for how much better a screen can reflect the light that’s projected onto it. Well, SAIC brings an improvement in ‘citizen gain’ by how we project history and civics onto the big screen called culture. This way folks will have more courage to change with a ‘holy commitment’ towards our future success as a nation.      

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Sia – Courage to Change – https://youtu.be/2E5SF06SZuc

Justin Bieber Ft Chance The Rapper – Holy – https://youtu.be/pvPsJFRGleA

Featured

From the Office of ‘Citizen America’: To Bring Change in Each Classroom, Company, Community and County/Parish Along the Way for a Better Nation

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Is the new school year gonna be cancelled? “Betta not” were the words from parents who’ve been dealing with the upheaval since Covid-19. “It needs to” were the words from those who feel 2020 gotta be cancelled. There’s been so much ups and downs, sad news and painful situations that they’ve had enough.

Ups & Downs

Those who’re just ‘sick & tired’ about the social reckoning, have taken to the streets with energized protests. Some are sick & tired of getting unequal treatment as citizens. Others are sick & tired of their businesses fighting to survive. And many others are sick & tired of being on lockdown due to Coronavirus.

But there’s an even deeper concern that you hear that’s been around for decades. People are just fed-up with fighting those dehumanizing aspects of discrimination and racism. They’d like to think that since we were able to move past slavery, that we need to figure-out as a nation how to have racism be “cancelled.”

How we achieve change depends on the concern at hand. In the context of ‘hometown rebound’ and returning “back to life better” we might take a page from events like the American Revolution and Civil Rights Movement. That’s the approach the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign/platform has developed in Project “Strong 2 Strong”. It includes, the Declaration of Emergence, the ‘ARISE’ public policy initiative/legislation and a new way for individuals to forge their American Dream.

Change Movements

What we’ve learned from American History, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks informs the SAIC Essay Contest and Friday Night Flights programs. Maybe you’re among those who’re sick & tired of marketing buzzwords or hashtag branding. You’re looking for social shifts or structural change the way tech companies went from black & white to color TV, DOS to Windows or flip phones to smart phones. We can apply those change lessons to social/civic issues to achieve:     

  1. Smart Blocks

Think about how traffic signals have improved over the years. They now can sense when a line of a cars is waiting, or you can squeeze a ‘button for change’ when waiting in the crosswalk. We can have smart blocks when protesters don’t get sucked into skirmishes and clashes that lead to violence. We can have smart blocks when residents consider whether they want a community fueled by crisis, cruelty and chaos or one served with calm, compassion and competence.   

2. Conscious Brands

With growing social awareness some companies are becoming more conscious brands. These days we may need a kind of double-consciousness that takes us back to W.E.B. Dubois. For blacks, double-consciousness means an awareness for how you see yourself as citizen and how the world sees you as black. For whites, they’ve never had to wrestle with a double-consciousness. They’ve been ‘privileged’ with seeing themselves as citizens, and as white by default. Whether you’re black or white, with SAIC folks get to develop the double-consciousness of social impact and civic empowerment.     

3. Strong Brass

Brass Touch

The metal brass is a combination of copper and zinc. The term ‘brass’ is used to describe the leadership ranks of a police force. It also provides a fine touch in homes and music. Well, to bring change as a nation, we need to have strong brass as a winning combination. In police departments we need to have strong leaders and good patrol officers. In sports that means strong starters and bench players. For biz that means strong executives and mainline workers. For schools that means strong teachers/staff and student body. For communities that means strong elected leaders and citizens. Add to this a fine touch and the combination makes us #HometownStrong.   

4. Great Beauty

A black & white TV works by projecting a stream of white light and varying the intensity of the light to get shades of black, white & gray. A color TV works by projecting three streams of colored light (red, green, blue) and combining those streams into the beautiful picture we see on the screen. Similarly, with SAIC we’re combining American History, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks into a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship. That’s how SAIC helps to advance social change in making a difference to bring great beauty!  

School Reopening

As schools reopen, they’ll offer the usual 3Rs of Reading wRiting and aRithmetic. We learn at an early age about multiplication and division. SAIC brings the 4Rs (reboot, refresh, reset, revive) for social change. Plus, when applied in a social/civic context with a little ‘smarts’ we’ll see that some folks want to divide and reverse change while others prefer to multiple and advance change. Whether it’s in the classroom, company or community we strive for a higher grade, higher earnings or higher service. While we’re only human (not machines), as citizens we should strive for a higher place towards a better nation.      

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.

Tracks: Jonas Brothers – Only Human – https://youtu.be/kBNt8hYvn8A 

Skip Marley Ft Bob Marley – Higher Place – https://youtu.be/EdkzJ9HBcyM

Featured

The Next Big Hometown Push from the Ground Up After Street Protests Fade

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

How would you describe the road to recovery after Covid-19, economic shutdown and civil unrest? Well, it depends if you’re giving the short answer, expert advice or political speak. For starters, it looks like pro sports is back (for now), while the debate about reopening schools stirs-up mixed feelings. This situation is new for all of us which means we should have great interest in how we return “Back to Life Better.”

Biz Stats Queen

As different parts of society work to rebound, we’re looking to our leaders for answers on the path forward. Over the past few months, the reports of Covid-related deaths, economic pain and social disparities are well documented. Moreover, a growing number of ‘Black-at-School’ social media sites have popped-up, with students sharing frustrations around ‘isms and schisms’ on campus and around town.

In response to the range of community concerns, we’ve seen street protests, social petitions and city council resolutions. Some might be wondering what’s the next big hometown push from the ground up. Are students, families and communities ready to make change happen through social impact and civic empowerment? In a sense, that’s part of the See America In Color (SAIC) social-edge campaign through Project “Strong 2 Strong.” It includes the Friday Night Flights feature for taking civic engagement and career dreams to new heights.

Every so often we learn that a product has been ‘manufacturer discontinued.’ It’s no longer available and has likely been dropped from the catalog or replaced for a ‘new & improved’ consumer rating. What if we could arrive at a point in the unfolding of America’s story where we get to ‘struggle discontinued?’ That might depend on our approach to closing the ‘civics gap’ and bridging cultural divides. It’s what inspires SAIC to present a better picture of civic & social issues for a higher level of citizenship.

Street Protests

Recently, we lost the beloved civil rights icon John Lewis who left us with marching orders. In his departing words he said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. He urged us to answer the highest calling of our heart for what we truly believe. Some people are impressed by companies making socially-conscious changes to their product line. Many others might feel motivated to move beyond the phrase Black Lives Matter, and have it become ‘manufacturer discontinued’ by how:

1. Review becomes shifts

Throughout history we’ve seen product shifts in various industries. In transportation we went from chariots to cars, but it isn’t always that dramatic. Whether in sports with coaches/players reviewing the video of past games or companies reviewing their production steps, this process can create shifts towards ‘new & improved.’ Similarly, SAIC took steps in reviewing American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks to help forge new shifts as a nation.

2. Talk becomes teamwork

Social Change Startup

When it comes to human development, change is made possible by pulling together folks with different talents and titles such that teamwork makes the dream work. Sometimes there may be bumps along the way, due to a testing of a team’s chemistry and commitment. However, the history of change movements reveals a similar value of teamwork where it’s not just about talking the talk but also walking the walk.

3. Truth becomes journey

It’s interesting that one of the founding documents begins with the words “We hold these truths.” At that point in our nation’s new journey there were some truths that were understood while others kept underground. The understood truths set us on a path to freedom from British rule. But Lewis’ journey as a Civil Rights ‘founding father’ was about elevating the underground truths to set us on a freeway to somewhere more just and inclusive that would make us an even better nation.

4. Striving becomes shining

Think about the grievances that led to the Declaration of Independence. They were turned into steps for creating the United States of America as a shining light. Think about a child who is always whining about things. That child can grow up either full of grievances or full of light. It depends on whether they spend their time whining or striving. So, to See America In Color for creating change and living our best life, it makes sense to spend less time whining and more time striving for a bigger better you.  

Bigger Better You

There’s lots of discussion on whether the return of sports is more successful by having players in a bubble. This limits their real-world interactions. It’s something school administrators would love to have as an option for students. But in reopening the economy and returning back to life better, Lewis would want us to move beyond the bubble of civic ignorance, cultural indifference and social injustices. His example leaves a model for how we might do something bigger together and take things higher.    

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here http://www.Facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Beyoncé – Bigger – https://youtu.be/2C05YhMgOUM 

Sia – Together – https://youtu.be/vnfGni4_RlI

Featured

Back to Life Better: Writing a New Chapter in History, Civics & Culture that Sets the Stage for America’s Rebirth in Social Enterprise

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

It was the announcement that shocked the sports world! The NFL Commissioner owned-up to the fact that the league wasn’t listening to its black players. Then came word not long after, that week one season opener games will feature the ‘Black National Anthem.’ It looks like the NFL wants to return “back to life better!” Maybe folks in the community too wanna have a Hometown Strong comeback on the block, boulevard, borough or boardroom? Well, gotta get through the hometown rebound pre-season.

Global Shift

In business circles this 180-degree flip by the NFL would be described as a paradigm shift. In social commentary you might hear terms like “watershed moment” or “tipping point.” Whatever folks might be comfortable calling it, many say we’re at an inflection point. We’re poised to write a new chapter in history, civics, sports and culture that sets the stage for America’s rebirth in social enterprise.

The story could jump off with words from the rapper Drake saying “started from the bottom, now we here. Started from the bottom now the whole team here.” If that wasn’t enough, a social scientist might take us back to the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson. These ideals reveal that we’re endowed by the Creator with certain basic rights, simple values and human assets. Using these factors as catalysts for change can move us towards becoming a more perfect Union and living our best life.

As we combine American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and #HometownStrong comebacks the way we combine the lyrics of Drake with the timeless words of Jefferson, it might give us a model to live our See America In Color (SAIC) Story, being mindful of how we emerged as a nation. It would also give us a roadmap to go from an old-school view of history and community to a new-school take on roots & culture. In making that shift, we’ll begin to close the ‘civics gap’ and better manage the culture clash in America.

Civics Gap’ Bridge

Take for example how freedoms, rights and privileges have been handled over the years. Separate from the Colonial period, it took from Independence in 1776 to Juneteenth in 1865 for blacks to get their ‘free card,’ in other words the freedom gap. It took from the 15th Amendment in 1870 to the Voting Rights Act in 1965 for blacks to have their vote respected, in other words the ‘rights gap.’ Of-course Covid-19 has shown us the health gap and there’s the wealth gap from 1619 to present.

These are some examples of what it means to See In Color the story of America. It’s about having a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship. It’s like the traffic intersection where the sign says ‘delayed green.’ This means the traffic on the opposite end gets the green before you do. When we ‘See In Color’ we’ll realize that for African Americans, it’s in part a story of ‘delayed green’ where folks on the opposite racial end get the green first.

The Broadway musical Hamilton reminds us first there was revolution, then revelation. Well SAICs Project “Strong 2 Strong” shows us first there was Independence, then Emergence. Back then, the country was emerging from battles with the British because of grievances with the throne. Today and in the months ahead, we’ll be emerging from Covid-19, economic shutdown and racial unrest with grievances as well. But since we’re endowed by the Creator with some simple values, no matter our race we can emerge by how we Love In Color.

Love In Color

The TV ad with those two boys (one black, one white) running towards each other is a good example for how we fulfill this as part of SAICs Declaration of Emergence. It’s also in how we work with those human assets, beyond the talents, abilities and gifts we show up with. When we handle dreams, calling, purpose and lifelong passions, it leads us to our destiny the way GPS leads us to our destination (no matter the color car). Dr King must have known no matter your race we can Lead In Color and reach a higher level of citizenship.

So back to the traffic light intersection and your signal change. The light went from red to green. That’s not only a change of color but also a Change In Color. The internal wiring and electronic smarts make that change possible. SAICs Project “Strong 2 Strong” believes if families, communities and the nation are ready to get moving with change or change what’s not moving there has to be a ‘Change In Color’ on the inside of regular citizens, political & civic leaders as well as systems. Changing a team name or a State’s flag is good but a ‘Change In Color’ allows us to squash biases, reform systems and live our best life which is a ‘go’ for the nation.   

Football Equipment

The full return of organized sports is still uncertain. Some pro players are opting out and some colleges are cancelling their fall sports season. But this is not the time to opt-out as citizens if we want to return “back to life better.” The SAIC campaign/platform positions us to strive towards a bigger love in embracing those wake-up moments and moving beyond obstacles, challenges and hassles by blazing a trail for a better America.

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here www.facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Brandy, Wyclef, Mary J Blige & Friends – Wake-up Everybody – https://youtu.be/3ZPusIeehQo 

Chalice Ft Wayne Armond – It’s Alright – https://youtu.be/BNCwdcKmaUw

Featured

The Chance to ‘See America In Color’ or ‘See America In Conflict’: Which Will Folks Choose for a Higher Level of Citizenship?

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

It’s midnight in America! What will folks see when the dust clears or at sunrise? That’s a question many are asking after events of the past few days and weeks. All this has been happening while dealing with the global Coronavirus pandemic. It’s also happening as the nation prepares to celebrate another Independence Day.

Red, White & Blue

People at home and abroad are trying to understand the trauma experienced by black men in America. Meantime, others are turning the peaceful protests into property damage and extreme agendas. Some aspects of these events might take us back to the Boston Tea Party protest, which led to the American Revolution. Back then many were unhappy with being treated as second-class citizens by the British Empire. This dissatisfaction included a list of grievances that led to the Declaration of Independence.

To bring a See America In Color view to the broader story, those fighting for the colonies saw this as a moment to establish a ‘new & improved’ country, aka the United States of America. However, many African-Americans have had mixed feelings about Independence Day because it celebrated fireworks before achieving their freedoms. Remember, Emancipation didn’t come until long after Independence. Fast-forward to what’s happening today, and it might shed light on whether we choose to ‘See America In Color’ or ‘See America In Conflict.’

To ‘See America In Color’ is to merge American history, the ‘Black to America’ story and Hometown Strong comebacks into a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship. In one sense, the upside of the Revolution was in creating a vision for America through the founding documents. But to ‘See America In Conflict’ is to not address legitimate issues and basically keep the ‘grievance train’ running from coast to coast. This might be what those with extreme ideologies want to see happen as a different kind of fireworks.

Fireworks Display

Why were the founding documents an important part of America’s beginnings? Well it spoke to aspirational ideals and timeless principles. But the recurring theme is whether those ideals keep falling short for African-Americans. They fell short right out the gate because Blacks were treated as second-class and of three-fifths human value. So, what can we learn from America’s upside and downside in going forward after the recent events of protest and unrest?

Well it’s been said “where there’s no vision the people perish.” It might also be said that “where there’s no vision, something else will move in and take its place.” Unfortunately, in the current political climate, less time is spent on providing us a vision. This has left a vacuum for disinformation to move in. It’s almost as if we’re not only dealing with Covid-19. We’re also dealing with a virus called ‘Disinfo-20’ that’s infecting citizens and institutions. We need a vision for America, communities, families and citizens to null the effects of the ‘Disinfo-20’ virus. If the founding documents are a guide, that vision needs to reflect the:       

  1. Rights of people

The Declaration of Independence reminds us, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (women) are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” George Floyd had a right to be treated as a human being, not as a ‘catch of prey.’ Hunting prey is often seen as sport. But if we say we’ve abolished slavery and slave catchers, then this can’t be the way we view human life in the 21st century.

  1. Role of government
U.S. Constitution

The U.S. Constitution begins with the words “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….” The role of government isn’t to divide us as a nation but to ensure the fulfillment of personhood, protection, promise and prosperity. The U.S. motto E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one) should be a kind of self-check done by public officials running for and serving in office towards advancing the greater good.

  1. Responsibility of citizens

In TV ads we’re reminded to complete the census, register to vote and actually go out and vote. These steps are important because rights without responsibility make a mockery of democracy. That’s what some people miss when emphasizing the ‘Bill of Rights’ Amendments. There should also be a sense of responsibility. Even Thomas Jefferson once said “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

  1. Results for humanity

Just think about how far we’ve come since the ‘60s in advancing color TV. We went from No-K to 4K picture quality. But with civic/social issues are we still stuck in the 60s and the idea of ‘no justice, no peace?’ That’s why if we choose to ‘See America In Color’ as opposed to ‘See America In Conflict’ it will help to advance results for humanity. This means turning grievances into goals for a higher level of citizenship.

Hometown Leader

Even with Coronavirus still a concern, we had protests in the east, protests in the west, protests up north and protests down south. The main outcry has been about justice for George Floyd and freedom from despair. It’s like the perfect storm of Covid-19 anxiety, ‘Disinfo-20’ distrust, unresolved tensions around social injustices and boiled-over rage/destruction. So, to move forward beyond these issues we can build-on SAIC’s Project “Strong 2 Strong” with a vision for better days as families, communities and citizens.

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here www.facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Beyoncé – Freedom – https://youtu.be/yh91lO-PU0o 

One Republic – Better Days – https://youtu.be/fnHlRQZZbbY

Featured

The Community Dance: Economic Restart, Hometown Rebound and the Road Back to Reopening Main Street

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

It’s been 50+ days without ‘live’ sports coverage on TV. During that time, networks have been showing old games from past tournaments like the NBA playoffs, NCAA Big Dance or Masters golf classics. So, what happens when there’s a drop-off in sports coverage? Well, fans make do as The Last Dance becomes the #1 documentary on television.

Golf Pro

The series reminds us of how ‘Be Like Mike’ was a catchy slogan back in the day when Michael Jordan dominated pro basketball. Unfortunately, the catchy slogans these days point to an infectious virus that has shutdown everyday life as we know it. With elected officials thinking about reopening for business, there is a delicate balance between public health and economic health that must be managed. They need to consider risks associated with losing lives and losing livelihoods.

Just think about some of the pain folks have already been through. In NY we lost essential workers on the frontlines, in some cases because they did not have protective gear. In Louisiana we lost a few members of a social club who were part of the last Mardi Gras parades. Authorities in Prince George’s county Maryland, one of the wealthiest black populations in the U.S., are dealing with a big outbreak of the virus. The push to reopen things cannot just be with slogans about ‘liberating’ communities. In the same way that a winning sports play is carefully thought-out on the sidelines and coach’s box, the next steps gotta be carefully thought-out when it comes to life and death.

It seems Governors are doing the heavy lifting. From New York to California, New Jersey to Maryland and points south, they have released 12-point plans, 4-phased rollouts and 6-step strategies for returning things to normal. They have announced distinguished leaders who will work as a reopening taskforce in each state and across regional lines. As to whether normal is what we knew of before, no one’s sure. Maybe we won’t know until sports events are back to their regular programming schedule.

What’s it gonna take to fully embrace these restart efforts? In addition, how are we gonna forge a hometown rebound that empowers families, communities and citizens near & far? Well it might mean looking back to early human history. Plus, there’s something we learn from companies that were started or thrived during economic depression, recession and deflation. This is a look-back to move forward that’s not simply stuck-in nostalgia. It’s why our See America In Color social impact campaign set out to reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit.  It’s why we’re currently developing a prototype for ‘Friday Night Flights’ to take civic engagement and career dreams to new heights.

Community Dance

The ‘community dance’ at the club, sports arena or block party might be on hold a while longer. For now, we get to do a little ‘tootsie slide and chill.’ But back in the days of plagues, floods and pestilence there was a period of 7-year abundance followed by a 7-year famine. How they recovered then gives us hope as our nation goes from a period of abundance with 10+ years of job growth and stock market climbs, to who knows how long a period of job loss and hard times we have yet to see. A ‘hometown rebound’ plan whether from government officials or at the family, community and citizen levels should be based on how we:

  1. Organize our strengths

A recent event streamed ‘live’ on ESPN showed ‘Game of Thrones’ star and weight-lifter setting a new world record for 1,104 pounds deadlift. That was an individual effort but organizing our strengths is also like a group effort of citizens lifting a SUV to save someone from a burning vehicle. As health officials solemnly report the death-toll, multiple Governors are working as a coalition to organize the strengths of their states. It’s what companies will have to do to make it through the downtime in order to bounce-back over time.

2. Mobilize our resources

Food Bank

News reports say farmers are dumping millions of gallons of milk, hundreds of thousands of eggs and putting-down farm animals because the food-processing chain has been disrupted by the shutdown. You would think that with Food Banks having a big increase in demand, that we’d be able to get them the resources that’s being thrown away. How we mobilize our resources will make a difference in turning what we have into what others don’t have and therefore being more than enough to fill the need.

3. Maximize our skills

In life we show up with divinely endowed gifts/skills as well as those we develop through education and training. Some skills are there to fulfill us financially, emotionally, intellectually, physically. Other skills are there to fulfill a larger calling, purpose and lifelong passions. In other words, we maximize our skills by how with grow in mind, body and spirit in a holistic way as individuals and in a civic way as families/communities working towards ‘unity of purpose.’

4. Realize our value

The value we bring to the table, block or marketplace is our collective efforts from work, play and mutual support towards having our best life experiences. Sometimes that means how we monetize our professional game. But it might also mean how we humanize things in the comings and goings of life. Our value can be seen in how we empower lives and livelihoods for lifestyle moments and legacy actions.

Main Street

So, in the coming weeks and months elected officials will be laser-focused on having the right timelines for reopening Main Street. School officials will be studying changes that have to be made for reopening schools. Company executives will be reviewing plans for employees returning to the workplace bit by bit. How we handle the climb out of this, even after each tear some may wipe away, depends on a ‘hometown rebound’ plan that also empowers families, communities and citizens everywhere.

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here www.facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Miley Cyrus – The Climb – https://youtu.be/NG2zyeVRcbs

Mary J. Blige ft Jay Sean – Each Tear – https://youtu.be/Xvash3C5G9c

Featured

America Pride Override: 3 Ways Where Civic Engagement Brings Change on the Soup Lines and Troop Lines

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Where were you when…? That’s a question often tied to major life moments. Whether on the local or national scene, there are social change markers when shifts happened in our day-to-day living. This may be where we find ourselves during the Coronavirus pandemic as cases spike and news of infections hit closer to home.

Social Change Markers

At times, people have asked that question to help them review prior events. Some millennials may have asked amongst friends or biz associates, “where were you when the housing bubble burst which led to the market crash of 2008, or when the first plane hit the twin towers in 2001?” With the Coronavirus outbreak, years from now folks might be asking “where were you when the world changed?”

If you’re looking at such historical, social and cultural events through the lens of the See America In Color (SAIC) civic engagement campaign, the backstory and takeaways point to a re-occurring theme. Yes, there was personal grief, economic pain and social challenges. In addition, you’ll also find a system issue that was somewhat a factor being overlooked initially but then changed eventually as a kind of ‘social override.’ This is an important reason why the SAIC Essay Contest for America’s students plays an important part for how we reboot civics education. Moreover, with teamwork among educators, administrators, parents and community leaders, we hope to add Arts, Science and Health categories to the contest.  

Store Checkout Line

We can think of this ‘social override’ like getting to the checkout line at the store and finding a price difference for an item. The price on the display may have been changed, but the price in the system was not. The clerk calls over the supervisor for an override. The consumer gets the benefit of the new lower price, not the old higher price. That’s how SAIC can foster change where civic engagement brings the override.

We can use this as a guide for how we bounce-back after the Coronavirus pandemic or how we spotlight Independence Day in a new way. Throughout history it’s been a kind of ‘America Pride Override’ (APO) that took us from colonial times to independence, slavery to abolition, segregation to civil rights. So, APO may be useful in taking us from “America Divide to E Pluribus Unum” (out of many one) and from public disinformation to civics reboot and engagement.

Even though the virus outbreak canceled NCAA March Madness and put the NBA season on hold, there’s something we can take from basketball to step-up our ‘civics game.’ In the same way that the 3-point shot changed the game with a new way of scoring, we can be #HometownStrong along three lanes in the community. In other words, we can add a 3-point shot to our civics game as a:

  • Roster player

Making a college or pro team is a big deal. You’re listed on the roster with a spot on the squad. When we complete the Census, we’re put on the civic roll. As citizens when we register to vote, we’re part of the election roll and get to have a seat at the table. Plus, people choose to serve on hometown projects in a selfless, give-themselves-away manner and score big. An engaged citizen is important to a great society as a roster player is to a champion team.

Hometown Project Team
  • Role player

Basketball has court positions of center, guard or forward. Those who become role players do more than just play their positions. They affect the game in ways that might not necessarily make the stat sheet. A citizen ‘role player’ shares their voice or scores high points beyond the stat sheet. Imagine, if the Empire State Building can shine a light for first responders and other frontline players, then we can be points-of-light for our fellow citizens in the community.

  • Franchise player

This is often the face-of-the-team or game leader who sees the big picture. It can be the go-to person in a close game or the key player at the buzzer. Citizens become franchise players when they see the big picture of a community vision for living their best life. They see what civics reboot and engagement mean for country.

So, will Coronavirus deepen disagreements and disinformation or help us move past ‘America Divide’? Even with empty streets, we look forward to a new day for how SAIC makes a difference and fulfills a larger purpose. The public will have more knowledge of the price we pay for not questioning elected officials or challenging those who shamelessly spread disinformation.

Empty Streets

In the past when America’s pride hinged on shameless policies (e.g. slavery, segregation) the civic response was an override to bring priceless change (e.g. abolition, civil rights). That’s why SAIC isn’t meant to be political, but instead aspirational towards our best life experiences. Throughout history it’s been civic engagement that brought change to the soup line, troop line and maybe even now for the soul train line at the virtual party next door.   

You can join the conversation and support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the Facebook ‘Hometown Chat’ Page here www.facebook.com/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Alicia Keys– New Day – https://youtu.be/yvZwSPhvjts 

Jill Scott – Golden – https://youtu.be/4QCXr79Rkcw

Featured

6 Categories of Scholarships, 17 Award Levels & Major Hometown Recognition for NJ Public School Students, Educators and Community Officials

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Of Social

The See America In Color (SAIC) civic engagement campaign hit a milestone on March 7th by handing out scholarships, awards and recognition to NJ students, educators and public officials. It was sort of a coming-out party for the project that’s been in the works for 7+ years to include an essay contest, ‘MVP Club’ (Many Valuable Parents) and hometown forums celebrating all-round citizen excellence.

This event happened on the heels of a special bulletin issued by the campaign in February which asked the question “Should National Civics Day be a thing?” The message behind ‘SAIC 2020’ is to reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit.

Civics Update

SAIC is about how we update our civics to advance roots & culture and make us better. This gives a clearer picture of history, family, culture, country, civic and social issues for a higher level of citizenship. It also means adding ‘smarts’ to civics the way tech leaders do for gadgets. The campaign isn’t political. It’s aspirational so that we can be #HometownStrong as ever!

Founder/Creator Douette ‘Doc’ Cunningham shared his excitement for the project and the support provided by those across education, business, media, government and community. In telling the project’s backstory which came out of national news from 2012 to 2015, he said “We hope to expand the essay contest with new categories to include Arts, Science & Health, as well as engaging schools and communities across the country. This will build on the support shown in NJ, for a fired-up future.”

Fired-up Future

The list of student, educator and community awards is impressive. This achievement involved careful planning and collaborative leadership. Big thanks to Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A for their donations in food/beverages. Those in attendance were reminded of Maya Angelou’s words who once said “A person is the product of their dreams. So make sure to dream great dreams. And then try to live your dreams.”

You can support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020″ Vision at the GoFundeMe crowdfunding page, search for ‘seeamericaincolor’  http://www.gofundme.com/f/seeamericaincolor

Student Awards

Middle School Level

  • Bayonne Vroom School
    • Oluwaseun Ilori (winner)
    • Mikayla Camacho-Reciek (runner-up)
  • Mt Holly Holbein School
    • Elizabeth Curillo (winner)
    • Chika Nlemigbo (runner-up)
  • Hoboken School
    • Jessida Urquiaga (winner)
    • Alexys Sayaan (runner-up)

High School Level

  • Franklin Township School (Somerset)
    • Akshay Gokul (winner)
    • Sam Gorczyca (runner-up)

South Jersey Middle School Rising Star

  • Mt Holly Holbein School
    • Elizabeth Curillo (winner)
    • Chika Nlemigbo (runner-up)

North Jersey Middle School Rising Star

  • Bayonne Vroom School
    • Oluwaseun Ilori (winner)
    • Mikayla Camacho-Reciek (runner-up)

Statewide Middle School Level

  • Hoboken School
    • Jessida Urquiaga (winner)
    • Alexys Sayaan (runner-up)

Statewide High School Level

  • Franklin Township School (Somerset)
    • Akshay Gokul (winner)
    • Sam Gorczyca (runner-up)

Educator ‘Civic Spirit Award’

  1. Giselle Torres: 6th Grade Social Studies, Bayonne Vroom School
  2. James E. DiDonato: Superintendent, Mt Holly Township School
  3. Dr. Tamika Pollins: Director, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Hoboken School
  4. Justin S. Miller: Supervisor, History & World Languages, Franklin Township School

Community Awards

  1. Super Citizen Award: Senator Cory Booker
  2. Public Servant Award: Kari Osmond, Deputy Chief-of-Staff, NJ 12th congressional district
  3. Civic Media Award: Nicole Carroll, USA Today Editor-in-Chief
  4. School Innovator Award: Dr John Ravally, Superintendent, Franklin Township School
  5. Dream Team Award: Frankie Lynne, SAIC volunteer
  6. Business Leader Award: Sophie Stein, Chick-fil-A Operator
  7. Hometown Leader Award: Franklin Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois

Tracks: Raleigh Ritchie – Stronger Than Ever – https://youtu.be/QoyMvE5g7f8 

Grace Carter – Fired Up – https://youtu.be/kOfCuVDXjI0                   

Featured

State of the Culture: What 5G Will Mean for the Next Big Thing in Civic Life

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

What was the big reveal from this year’s Oscar Awards or Superbowl game? Well the Oscars is still dealing with fallout from not having a host for the show over recent years. This time they called on past hosts Steve Martin and Chris Rock to do an opening bit. It had some folks thinking…heck they might as well have hosted the whole show.

Concert Performance

With the Superbowl, fans were buzzing about the halftime performance of showing more skin while sports commentators were breaking down how the Kansas City Chiefs pulled out a win. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira were the first-ever latin pair to perform on the big stage. Since then, they’ve had over 100 million views of their performance on a Youtube channel.

Maybe a takeaway from the game that’s just as big was about 5G phone networks coming to a boulevard near you. The wireless companies are all rolling out their version of 5G this year. The tech articles say that it’s a major speed boost for device-to-device communication. It’s also a plus for how gadgets will connect with each other over the Internet.

The See America In Color (SAIC) campaign is getting ready to make its 5G pitch at the upcoming Awards event. The Superbowl might have been a place for some firms to give theirs. Plus, by now we’ve had the State of the Game Report from the Commissioner. We’ve heard from public officials and biz execs with the State of the Union, State of the State, State of the City and State of the Brand. So with 5G on the minds of some regular citizens, who’s getting ready to give the State of the Culture Report?

5G Network

As we wait to see what 5G will mean for our social apps and digital maps, what will it mean for the next big thing in civic life? Will we choose between 5 Lanes of Grievance or 5 Lanes of Greatness? It’s like the old saying, ‘misery loves company.’ Well social division loves grievance. How we use 5G in civic life depends on whether we enrage or engage our citizen-to-citizen communication in business, media, education, government and community.

When we “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” and with a Black History Moment view along 5 Lanes of Greatness, we’ll have a better picture for how privilege gets masked as fear. This happened during the lead-up to the Civil War. Some still question whether it was about economics or race. The record shows that secession (breaking away from the USA) was about slavery and slavery was about economics. The State of the Culture back then was fear of losing the privileged position others had from slavery, which brought States to war.

After the war ended the nation entered a phase of Reconstruction. It was a time of mixed feelings as some saw it as a chance to re-unite while others used it to incite. We’re seeing some of that in the State of the Culture today. It reminds us that there’re times when ignorance gets masked as cute. One example from back then was how name-calling occurred among public officials.

Segregation Sign

Words like “scalawags and carpetbaggers” were used by those wanting to maintain the privileged status-quo against those pushing for Emancipation reforms. We also saw during Segregation there were ‘Colored’ signs in towns and cities. In today’s State of the Culture, a different set of terms are being used where hate gets dressed up as personal/political conviction. This pollutes the social atmosphere and makes the civic environment toxic.

There’re different ways that hate might show-up on the hometown front. But the root of the matter is when prejudice gets dressed up as black & white. Some like to say they don’t see color. Upon further review, it’s really a question of whether we’re dealing with bias at the edges of the screen or racism at the core of the picture. When we See America In Color, we can move from being ‘color narrow’ to being ‘civic smart.’ That’s like what has happened in TVs going from black & white to ‘HD smart’.

Civic Engagement Speech

With the SAIC essay contest and civics programs being rolled out, we’re not waiting for the next incident of bias/bullying, violence, hate or tragedy to be trending on social media for us to See America In Color. What if we waited for #BrushYourTeeth or #TakeABath or #BuyGasNow to be trending before doing what we should? We’d have lots of stopped cars on the road, missing teeth among friends and ‘smelly tragedies’ in public spaces. SAIC is where we believe that civics isn’t supposed to be political. It’s meant to be aspirational as citizens, workers and students connect with one another and get the ‘W’ for next-level goals and dreams.

You can support our efforts to “See America In Color: With 2020 Vision” at the crowdfunding page here www.gofundme.com/f/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Meek Mill Ft Justin Timberlake – Believe – https://youtu.be/4rNo-UuGDfA 

Koffee Ft Gunna – ‘W’ – https://youtu.be/XQF69A3oGjM

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Your American Story: 4 Reasonable Goals for a Nation That’s Working on Being Clear-Eyed and Civic-Smart as Citizens

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan are getting ready to split! Not from each other but from their official role and Royal standing. After making the announcement, there were some interesting reactions from the Palace, media outlets and across social platforms. It seems the next steps are a little more ‘complicated’ than issuing a public statement.

Royal Duties

While the Queen has come out in full support of their decision, there’re some details yet to iron-out. The message is that Harry & Meghan are trying to forge a new sense of independence from the Royal family. They want to be clear-eyed in the decision on their future but still be civic-smart in their ongoing duty.

That isn’t exactly like the American story, but one can relate it with the split forged at our Independence. Here we are over 200+ years later and there’re still some issues for which things get ‘complicated.’ It’s as if the next best thing we need now is how we See America In Color With 2020 Vision to be more clear-eyed and civic-smart as citizens.

Thankfully we’re off to a nice start with the See America In Color (SAIC) Essay Contest that’s supported by New Jersey’s educators, administrators, students and public officials. As the contest prepares to hand-out awards and special recognition, the finalists have been narrowed down to frontrunners or “The Front Four” schools.

The Frontrunners

Beyond celebrating these schools/students, SAIC also has four reasonable goals for achieving “smart blocks, woke civics, strong citizens.” It starts by how we reboot civics education. After some recent troubling incidents of social conflict in the NY tri-state area, a public official said, “We can’t ‘police’ our way out of this problem.” That’s a point of agreement shared by SAIC which is why our focus is to help us ‘school’ our way out in a literal and cultural sense.

It takes spreading a message of understanding that moves our dialogue from the broken record of “Thoughts & Naysayers” to a 2020 vision of “Hope & Trailblazers.” What these current events teach our children in human relation terms gets carried forward into their lives as adults in the future. We prepare for what the next generation will do in sports performance, so why not in civics education. That’s why another SAIC goal is to focus on how we refresh civic engagement.

Windshield Wiper Effect

The cultural space can be a mixed-message mashup of opposing themes. The points of information go back and forth, from left to right, from clear to unclear, from truth to untruth. It’s like the windshield wiper effect. When visibility gets very bad during a rainstorm, we might pull off the road until the downpour eases. With our current social climate, the downpour of back-and-forth versions of a story might lead to such confusion causing citizens to pull-away from civic engagement.

This means we need to reset cultural messaging in the social space. Think about it this way: imagine if we were constantly arguing about the days of the week? Imagine if we couldn’t decide on whether Monday was Monday, or Wednesday was Wednesday? Since we operate on a standard calendar of days, weeks, months and year, we’re able to avoid such confusion. SAIC offers a new program standard for connecting the dots between history, family, culture, country and civic/social issues.

As a nation we’re at a point where we must consider what’s needed to revive social spirit. We can’t keep seeing stories of harm, injury, insult and sometimes hometown tragedy and think that’s the new normal. Take as an example when a player goes down on the football gridiron. The training staff might help them off the field into the pop-up medical tent on the sideline. Then depending on how the staff resolves the injury or revives the player, we’ll see their return to the game.

Football Gridiron

Well ‘SAIC 2020’ isn’t some magic fix for all the social challenges of our nation. But it is an effort to reboot civics education, refresh civic engagement, reset cultural messaging and revive social spirit. As with Duchess Meghan, sometimes we find ourselves feeling under pressure to certain traditions or outdated methods. In the case of Prince Harry, he may feel as if he wants a breakaway from Royals-controlled ‘city life’ to a more freestyle arrangement. In a sense, SAIC is about the things we do to return to the game to make an impression, an imprint or an impact towards a higher level of citizenship.

You can help tackle these issues or support SAIC’s part in a massive social response at our crowdfunding page here www.gofundme.com/f/seeamericaincolor.   

  Tracks: Leslie Odom Jr. – Under Pressure – https://youtu.be/cSDKD94K6TM 

Rebelution – City Life – https://youtu.be/GKj5WNm5oDE

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Hey America, Listen Up! What It’s Gonna Take for us to See the Problem, Adjust the Picture and Update the Set of Social Tools for a New Reality

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Long before we had color TVs with remote control and a DVR box there was the black & white picture tube. Those days we had to turn a knob on the TV to change channels. After a while things began to get shaky when turning the knob where the picture became fuzzy or had lines across the screen. You would soon need a new TV set.

Old-School TV

Those times are long gone in the age of handheld clickers and QLED sets. With the press of a button you can change channels and with the pre-installed factory settings you can select a picture view for different types of shows. That has become the new reality for how we experience in-home entertainment.

These days as we watch breaking news stories or trending hashtags on social media you may wonder what needs to change. One report might be about an incident of hate. Another revolves around an outburst of violence. And maybe even another points to issues of bias and bullying. In many cases, the events cause a massive police response or social media outburst.

Hey America, listen up! What we need as a response to these incidents might not be just another press conference or trending topic. It’s going to take a gameplan with a massive social response for us to see the problem, adjust the picture and update the set of social tools for a new reality. That’s the gameplan of the “See America In Color” (SAIC) essay contest and civic engagement campaign.

This massive social response needs to cover areas of purpose learning and civics education. As we prepare the next generation for the job skills of the marketplace, we must also prepare them with the life-smarts of the 21st century. When you read the ‘last notes’ or manifestos or social media footprint around some of these incidents, they send a message that’s less of a shoutout and more of a cry-out to America.

Civics Education

As it relates to civics education, we may have arrived at a point where some might prefer to vote for a reality show contestant than for a candidate running for public office. Nowadays it’s so much easier to be connected to your favorite singer than it is to be connected to a sense of civic duty.

There may even be a social disconnect that’s less about ‘likes & clicks’ and more about connecting history, family, culture, country and civic/social issues. In other words, we find ourselves needing a reboot in civics education so that citizens can download some new information for social awareness.

Civics Reboot

This would help to relieve the lost, lonely, leader-less feeling that drives people towards hate by default instead of towards hope by desire. In the old days when the TV picture became fuzzy, we’d jostle the knob or change the channel hoping things cleared-up. These days a ‘jostling solution’ might not be enough to improve the social picture. We’ll need to make some system-wide changes to create a better picture and better sense for living their best life.  

When the Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence it spoke to a higher vision for the greatness of a nation. The pre-amble states “We holds these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they’re endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Well the SAIC ‘Declaration of Emergence’ speaks to a kind of service vision for a higher level of citizenship.

A Better Picture

As we see the problem, adjust the picture and update the social tools with the help of SAIC we begin to restore light to America. We’ll begin to experience a ‘lights up’ (vs a flare up) feeling from the images we see. We’ll have a better picture of civic/social issues for greatness in service as citizens of the world. This might be the new way to be down, get down or step into the light of #CitizenShining moments.

You can help tackle these issues or support SAIC’s part in the massive social response at our crowdfunding page here www.gofundme.com/f/seeamericaincolor.     

Tracks: Brandy ft. MC Lyte, Yo-Yo & Queen Latifah – I Wanna be Down  – https://youtu.be/MTl_y-Nq1yo

  Harry Styles – Lights Up – https://youtu.be/9NZvM1918_E

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The Culture Challenge: What Can Friends, Family, Fans Do to Help Us Blaze a Trail in Streets, Towns & Cities?

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

These days it seems as if singing competition shows are everywhere. There’s The Voice and The Masked Singer that keep getting lots of buzz. There’s even a new show around ‘Musical Family.’ During the judging phase of these singing contests, fans have a chance to play along. They’ll vote for their favorite act or share a comment about some aspect of the performance.

Singing Star

The SAIC campaign and Essay Contest is in a new phase doing something similar called the Culture Challenge. It’s a way to ‘play along’ before crowning the winners. It’s a response to the question: “What can friends, family & fans do as Hometown MVPs to blaze a trail in streets, towns and cities?”

So here’s the deal on the Culture Challenge and its main points around how we celebrate ‘smart blocks, woke civics, strong citizens:’

  • Brag: The social part with ‘humble brag’ posts on Twitter (Mondays 4-5pm).

It’s about posting pictures or social notes (using hashtag #CultureChallenge) on how we might See America In Color at school, work, in business and the community. You can put the spotlight on things you’re already doing to blaze a trail in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. If you play along, it’s like being a ‘Culture Ambassador’ which adds to street cred.

  • Brains: The educational part as we learn about and talk about making things better.
Brain Power

Initially, Facebook was an idea for guys talking about the dating scene. Twitter was first about friends sharing notes on their ‘party’ status. The Internet started as an effort to have two computer systems talk to each other. With some brain power in the tech space we went from ‘dah to wow.’ Maybe SAIC can have a similar impact in the social space even if it didn’t set out to fix race relations. If our civics can be a ‘level playing field’ then how we learn about and talk about ‘roots & culture’ may help address a fractured nation.

  • Breakout: The developmental part as we ‘shake, rattle and roll’ our coins and dollars.

We plan to add Arts, Science and Health features to the essay contest in the future. Your donations to our Crowdfunding efforts will go a long way. You can participate as a school, social organization, association or employee/corporation to earn points and win. Folks, this is a chance to spread the word, breakout the checkbook, click the money app and celebrate the score among friends, family and fans. You’ll find more using Go-Fund-Me search keyword ‘seeamericaincolor.’ Wanna make a difference? www.gofundme.com/f/seeamericaincolor

Money App

Whether you first got word about SAIC by text, email, one-on-one or social media post, this is not a ‘me’ project but a ‘we’ project. With as many people being a ‘gust of wind’ beneath the wings of this effort, we’ll work together for a larger purpose. The SAIC campaign is ready for a new level so we can’t stop the feeling now. Just gotta keep imagining and dancing because in sports playoffs there’s the ‘bracket challenge’ but in the social space there’s the Culture Challenge.

Tracks: Swing out Sister – Breakout – https://youtu.be/IIOJdMdS56k 

Justin Timberlake – Cant Stop the Feeling – https://youtu.be/p5RobDomh5U

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The Next Big Move in Culture: Where Communities Aren’t Relying on National Optics but Building Hometown Civics

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

Every major sports league has a time in its schedule where things shift to a higher level of play. Oftentimes there’s more at stake and team chemistry is a must. For baseball, the game considered as America’s pastime, that point in the fall calendar starts with the playoffs and ends with the World Series.

Not to suggest that the See America In Color campaign is on par with that kind of excitement, but we’re working with administrators, teachers and parents to spotlight some breakout performances too. It’s the kind where the essay contest will remind us that Kids Say the Deepest (and sometimes Dopest) Things.

World Series Excitement

As the essay contest ramps up at the regional level before selecting statewide winners, it has its own ‘playoffs.’ There may even come a time as new features are added in the future where SAIC has its own Essay Contest World Series to deliver a better picture of civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship.

How we get there represents the next big move in culture where communities aren’t relying on national optics but building on hometown civics. It’s where there’s a willingness to fight for the greater good. It’s where ‘looking out only for #1’ isn’t seen as the social contract that drives America’s cultural endgame.

A winning spirit in biz and sports reveals something about a civic spirit in community and culture. Think about how teams enter the playoffs with the goal to win the big prize. How they get there is by having a system of practice, games and film study to improve their chances and raise their inner beliefs. Well SAIC came out of a system and is inspired by a dream, some tragic events and the study of modern history.

U.S. Constitution

So for SAIC to raise our inner beliefs and achieve its goals depends on how we boost our civic faith. It’s in having a citizen’s vision bigger than self where our ‘juices’ flow. Back in the 60s President John F. Kennedy declared we’d put a man on the moon. This made ‘citizens juices’ flow at all levels of society.

Go back even farther when the Founders described in the Constitution’s Preamble “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union.” That was a statement of Ideals that paved the way for having a civic purpose. It gave us a kind of social landmark and civic reason for being.

These days we use GPS to get to new places or see historic landmarks. Sometimes the route is obvious, other times it takes ‘seeing ahead’ towards the destination. That’s how SAIC as a system is a civic guide for directions. If we miss a turn or go off track, we can count on the system for re-calculating.

SAIC Civic Guide

The magic of having a system in sports is it gives players a framework for practice and games. The system also serves as a glue to keep the different parts on the field working together as a team. With SAIC we hope it will be a kind of civic glue as hometown teamwork makes the ‘I Have a Dream’ work.

So as the contest moves through its stages, we hope to select winners and plan a Campus Block Party. Some see SAIC as having a sort of ‘man on a mission’ vibe like in JFK’s time. But it’s possible there’re Hometown MVPs out there (Most Valuable Parents, Professionals, Pupils, People) who hold the keys to the kingdom in making SAIC bigger than just selfies.   

Tracks: Oh The Larceny (Suits Music) – Man on a Mission  – https://youtu.be/bF8B7wjizlA 

Beyoncé ft Tiwa Savage, Mr. Eazi – Keys to the Kingdom – https://youtu.be/QvHCdROc4Jk

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Four Ways to Update Things in the Social/Cultural Space on the Block, in Civics, with Citizens & Community

Doc Cunningham
Sounding Off Social

The word is out after recent announcements to media and local e-broadcast channels. One is the new smart phone that has ‘pro’ in its name. The other is the See America In Color Essay Contest that has ‘smarts’ in its game. Folks are ready to put the new features to work in the classroom and the marketplace.

See America In Color in a Hometown Near You!

While not a tech gadget, the essay contest gives a glimpse for how we might update and celebrate ‘smart blocks, woke civics and strong citizens’ in the community. Take for example that more and more smartphone makers have devices with three back-facing cameras. You can now take wide-angle selfies and slow-motion video. When working with the app they deliver ‘triple-vision’ to the device.

The essay contest with the help of administrators, teachers and parents works with middle, high and college students. It will help deliver a 21st century vision to blaze a trail in roots and culture. It might be exciting to have three cameras in your phone or to engage students in the essay contest, but that’s not all to getting the most out of them in the classroom or the real world. A smart phone doesn’t work only as a phone. It has other important functions for the consumer.  

Some people are old enough to remember ‘black & white’ TVs before color, or the DOS operating system before Windows, or flip phones before smart phones. These technologies got us to where we are today with 5G networks and 8K TVs. Along the way, steps were taken to update things in the tech space where they operate. So how do we update our civics in the social/cultural space?

Well, think about how smart devices get a new look, feel and purpose. This gives a sense for how we update things the way tech firms do with gadgets. With each new school year there are curriculum objectives and student assignments. So, the first way we add ‘smarts’ to our Civics in the community, Social/American Studies in the classroom or Social Issues in the public space is to educate the present.

‘Read This First’

There’s often a 1-page sheet with new devices that says ‘read this first’ before using. Similarly, the See America In Color (SAIC) campaign and essay contest are about how we understand those ‘read this first’ aspects of American History, the Black to America story or Hometown Strong comebacks. We rarely read the whole manual of a new device or the full account of American history. But there’s some ‘read this first’ info from the campaign that help put the stories in context and connect the dots.

This campaign also has a kind of ‘throwback mode’ for looking to the past not to return to the past but to create the future. Consider some of the features in today’s cars like backup camera or blindspot alert. How did we function without them? We got by not having them but now they’re becoming a new standard. The campaign and essay contest offer a new standard in how we look back to create the future. Plus, there may be some ‘blindspot alerts’ that could get flagged in our civic/social space.

In the months ahead there’ll be many new and amazing picture/video postings on social media. The three-camera feature will give views of people, places and projects that are ‘out of this world.’ That’s the idea behind SAIC and the essay contest. It’s a project for how we elevate the game in civic/social issues for a higher level of citizenship. When we See America In Color, we will better understand the ‘black & white’ issues that started in the past and the multi-cultural view geared towards the future.

‘New Updates Available Now’

Lastly, this campaign is about how we update the now. Every so often we get a message on our phone or computer that says, ‘new updates available now.’ That usually means there are ‘bug’ fixes or improved features that have been made to the system. When we select ‘yes’ the phone or computer goes through some changes where it ‘updates the now.’ This gives us the latest version of the ‘bells & whistles’ with the device functions. Similarly, SAIC is about having the latest versions in ‘civic ideals & functions’ along with some new & improved changes to the system. We’ll get to move even closer to what the founding fathers called “a more perfect union.”

We all try to live our lives as ‘pros’ in some way. Whether in school, business, sports or civic duty we look to each new season or new device as a time to be better, do better and live better. SAIC and the essay contest aren’t just about how we See America In Color. They’re also about how we Do America In Color. More people will become a ‘believer’ as we reach higher for a better a nation and breath-in fresh ‘American Oxygen.’   

Tracks: Imagine Dragons – Believer  – https://youtu.be/7wtfhZwyrcc

Rihanna – American Oxygen – https://youtu.be/Ao8cGLIMtvg

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