After a long day of planning and strategizing, I literally walked out of my office in search of a story on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. So often, I find myself –this strategic thinker–always trying to solve my client’s problems…Well, of course, that’s what they pay me to do. Yet, it can, at times, leave me drained and pushing aside my creativity that makes me who I am. Now, I do realize that my creative juices are flowing even when I am critically thinking and planning but it is just a different type of creativity. My search for a story was to just use my artistic background in digital media for a purpose beyond strategy.
As I went out into the community with my camera a.k.a. (lens) by my side, I was led to my old stomping grounds in the Buckeye community where I grew up. It always amazes me to see how the community has been enhanced with brand new schools, businesses, and health clinics. Well, it would seem that my lens was intrigued by the enhancements too, and we began to document the beauty of the community. After capturing the sun as it was beginning to set over the lines and edges of the new Harvey Rice Elementary School, we drove to the community park near the Buckeye-Shaker Community Development Corporation. To our surprise, there was a community safety meeting in progress that already started to tantalize us with intrigue!
I could see my lens with its hungry eyes just waiting to snap and capture every moment. But, I knew we were there for a purpose beyond just taking pictures. Looking for the pivotal moments of emotion and the thirst for change, we waited. Unable to wait any longer, we captured the cries for help to take a stand and to my surprise…even the creation of a plan.
I could not believe it. Even though I was there capturing this monumental story, all I kept hearing was the need to have a plan. The most prolific statement made by a resident was, “I am not marching anymore. I am not getting in anybody’s parade or anything and march for peace. When you [the police commander] get down to the table and you start making plans on how we can actively get rid of this ‘crud…’ Call me; I’ll be the first one at the table making those plans […]. The time for marching is over!” I was blown away. The very thing I was running from was right in my face–Planning.
If you do not see it now, there is a moral to this story:
No matter where you are in life, strategic planning is always the crucial piece that fits everything together. ~Valerie C. Smart
It is obvious that I cannot escape being a strategist because even in the midst of just hangin’ out with my lens; I was in the midst of a strategic plan. Some might say that I was in the right place at the right time…but I say that I was led there as a reminder to embrace who I am –my grassroots, my artistic expression, and my strategic mind.
Take a look at the video Cleveland Ward 4: Taking Back Our Streets that documents a community who has the willingness to take a stand but also knows there needs to be a plan.
I look forward to the next story on this adventure called life because I know there will be a plan…