Leaving His Mark on His City

you asked for truth

But I don’t believe you really want it

Because more often than not when you ask for the truth they cant accept it 

They change the channel, ignore it, anything not to face it 

Three years ago, the team at Back2Back Cincinnati met a young man named Jay through Rising Leaders, a partner organization whose mission is to raise up leaders from the city, for the city. Back2Back Cincy provides care coordination for the students in Rising Leader programming, helping them build development plans and forming relationships.

Stephanie Powers, Back2Back Cincy staff and Care Coordinator, started working with Jay over a year ago. “He shared his love of art and expressing himself through it immediately,” shared Stephanie. Shortly after, Back2Back’s annual fundraising event was in planning phases. A local spoken word artist, Brent Billlingsley, was slated to perform, and Jay felt encouraged to write his own spoken word piece. “Jay wrote his piece, and it was monumental,” shared Chris Cox, Back2Back Cincy Director. “He performed it virtually as part of the A Night of Hope program and moved people to tears.”

Because they knew all along what the truth was 

and did nothing about it

They sat there complacent 

YOU sat there complacent 

I sat there complacent 

We disassociate 

We’re so scared of the life we so carefully build on pillars of sand collapsing we did nothing 

So we could keep the life filled with consistency and schedule

the nice things we’ve bought, and the friend that are more like acquaintance terrified of it all crashing in the waves and leaving nothing of our beautiful meticulously crafted sand castle

But it doesn’t matter in the end it’ll all be rubble anyway

Stephanie and his Rising Leader mentor worked with Jay, planning for his future. In spring of last year, summer program planning was underway, and staff decided to hire local students to help. Jay was one of the first to be called – he was quick to say yes to serving younger generations from similar backgrounds.

The waves are coming, so please sit as  comfortably as you can and watch the destruction 

They said the revolution will not be televised because they knew you’d change the channel

I don’t care how woke you say were all just as ignorant at the end of the day

I’ve noticed as of lately how I’ve become so comfortably numb to the sound of death from the wars of the world to the injustices on the street so common I began to accept it as part of my daily routine 

My lil daily 5 min tragedy bringing me to rage as I watch the new in the morning only to being forgotten 2 seconds after

We’ve become so over saturated we don’t have room in our heart to care anymore, we got a job and bills to pay

But we need to forget about ourselves for more than a day and look at the wold because the TRUTH is Gorge Floyd was just the beginning, a 100 year war is still going, Kids are starving, there concentration camps in foreign countries but we just change the channel because we want to see our sand castle growing

On Jay’s first day of summer programming, he stayed late because the boy he partnered with struggled to regulate throughout the day. Jay felt defeated, not being able to help him more. When he saw another staff member calm him down, he approached her after the children went home. “Can you teach me that skill, so I can connect with him and help him regulate in the future?” Jay asked. The staff member agreed and gave Jay the needed tools to help his young friend.

Jay didn’t stop there. He googled fidgets and sensory needs, and the next day, came with a plan. “After thinking about this behavior, if we order these fidgets, I think we can keep him calm during sessions,” Jay shared with Chris. They ordered them and a week after they arrived and were put to use, he approached Chris again.

“This one didn’t work, but these two helped a lot. Also, how do we feel about more bubble gum?  He’s asking for more gum.” Double Bubble is used often by staff as a calming technique. Studies have shown chewing helps with concentration and decreases stress levels. Jay was on a mission to serve a young boy with a similar story.

Capitalistims the biggest motivator till you find out it wasn’t made for you and all your ethnic attitude 

The TRUTH is we’ve been caged like chickens and like slaves building our own cage

The Truth is if its not happen

ning to us than we don’t care about it who cares if there sand castle gets washed away in sticky blood and forgotten in the waves

the TRUTH is we’d rather throw our brother or sister under the bus just because there not like us and we can’t understand the fear they hold in there hand, when they throw the first punch because they’ve had enough, and they got nothing to lose like Malcom X and Martin Luther, Watada,Thich Quang

And the sad thing is that you only know 2 of those names

The only time people bring true change is when they’re ready to lay down their life to better the sand where we all play..

“When I think of Jay, I think of loyalty, creativity, introspection, a love of learning, hard work, overcomer, and a leader. Jay has stepped up – volunteering to lead a virtual Bible study and faithfully serving his community. His senior year was not what he wanted it to be, but he persevered, asked for help, and overcame. I can’t wait to see how God works in Jay’s life, how he pursues his dreams, and leaves a lasting impact on his community,” shared Stephanie, at a recent graduation celebration for Jay. 

Jay has since completed his internship and has decided to pursue a career in Social Work. He’s also gotten his driver license and won a large scholarship for the spoken word piece woven throughout this  story. Jay is an 18-year old who has a heart for reconciliation and unity, and together we look forward to the many ways Jay will leave his mark on his city.