Who should be the Person of the Year for 2021?
Who decides and what is the criteria?
Looking back at previous Persons of the Year featured in Texas Metro News, there was a common thread.
They were all change agents. They were fearless, focused and led by their faith!
Texas Metro News wants to recognize people who are game changers, history makers; folks whose life’s works are on the right side of history.
Do you know anyone who fits the bill?
Are the ones previously chosen controversial? Possibly.
Rev. Yvette Blair Lavallais tackled the issue of abuses in the church.
Not only did she speak up, when folks tried to silence her; she wrote about the issue.
Now you know, at a time when there are still those who frown on women in the pulpit or having a voice in the building unless that voice is reading announcements or singing selection A, B, or C; to have someone addressing a long-standing problem in the church was a bit much. It was huge.
Still with support from the really righteous, conscious and conscientious; Rev. Yvette went public and shared what was definitely a painful experience.
It was even more painful because some men and sadly women wanted her silenced. And she wasn’t malicious in her disclosure of wrongdoings. Instead she was factual and focused, hoping that the assaults from the perpetrator and his silent conspirators would never surface again.
Yes, Rev. Yvette felt the wrath of religious, not spiritual advisors, who shirked their responsibility to her as well as other ”victims.”
But she remained vigilant and she’s standing even taller today — a shining example!
Then there was Judge Tam- my Kemp, who is fair and tough even though there are defense attorneys who resent her toughness when she is dealing with their clients. And then she presided over a case where after the verdict and sentencing she is addressing the family of Botham Jean and the convicted murderer, Amber Guyger, speaks to her and asks for a hug. You would have thought all hell broke loose, and mostly from people who go to church every Sunday and constantly say, “have a blessed day,” or “I’m saved .”
Ironically there were judges saying that Judge Kemp could have given a tougher sentence —although the verdict and sentence came from the jury and she couldn’t change either. Still you had all of the Facebook School of Law grads commenting. Sadly some were calling for her removal from the bench when prior to the “hug” folks were ready to put her on the Supreme Court! She started getting hate mail and threats.
But Judge Kemp stood in her truth and while she has been vilified by people who can’t recall the name of one of the many judges who have made BAD rulings to the detriment of Black people; she has been praised internationally by folks, including Mr. Jean’s mother!
Then there’s Roland Martin, who for all of his adult life, has used his platforms to be a voice for the voiceless, a beacon of light where there was only darkness. He was the light at the end of the tunnel that could be daylight, or a train coming straight at you!
In 2020 we saw the best-selling author and multi-media journalist reach newer heights with the growth of his digital program that he had launched, nurtured and grew into a respected news and information source that proved that people of all ages, persuasions, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, etc., were thirsting for truth and you could find it by tuning in to Roland Martin Unfiltered. Thousands were tuning in daily to hear from experts, Black experts; who somehow the so-called mainstream media could not find! His analytics were impressive and he was changing the game, leveling the playing field. Not only did he bring the experts, he brought the funk. And that’s a good thing!
Which brings me to my truth.
If you can’t stand up for people or things you believe in, what good are you?
And, if you have an opportunity, a bully pulpit, or a platform that can be used for good and you don’t do the right thing; you’ve wasted a precious gift.
Despite some disagreeing, I believe that journalists are historians and Texas Metro News wants to be on the right side of history. Then too, for far too long, there were those times of dancing to someone else’s drum beat.
It’s this griot’s time to set the pace by making those bold decisions that would make our ancestors and generations to come proud. We are naming the special person in the first issue of 2022.
I’d love to hear who you think the Person of 2021 should be. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You’d better come strong tho!
Remembering my father, Joseph Smith March 2, 1927 - December 8, 2004, who has been “that person” since I entered this world!