Born To Be Light, Inc is a non-profit organization that aims to create an international movement of people who will take a pledge against violence. We wear a special glow-in-the-dark BTBL wristband to signify our commitment to being a light in our homes and community.
From the creation of my very first song, "Save the Children," I have prayed to God to show me a way to help our youth say NO. The dream is to do something to touch the lives of others by sharing experiences, and lessons learned, and possibly keeping someone else from walking down the wrong path or through the wrong door.
Violence can only exist if we say yes! We say yes to the drugs by participating, directly or indirectly. We say yes to robbery by purchasing stolen goods. We say yes to the murders by not identifying the culprits. After a violent crime our mouths cry no, but our silence screams yes even as the tears roll down our face because we will not reveal what we know. I know, because I've been there.
With each murder, I re-experienced how I'd felt as the 16 year old sibling of a gunshot victim when my oldest sister, Cookie, was murdered. I write about crimes after effects in my book: Words Inspired by: Memoir of a Church Girl. More than thirty-five years later, I still feel the effect of that senseless crime. My sister was an innocent; we were innocent, and that one bullet destroyed my family and shook our entire community. The entire story was featured in the 2012 movie "The Line," produced by Emmy Award winning producer Linda Midgett.
In July 2010, I had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC for a summit of World Vision's Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). Young people from all over the country came together and met their state representatives, with bill proposals designed to help youth succeed. Their ideas were sound and creative. The focus was on their desired end, change. From all walks of life, YEP participants came together with one goal: "Make a difference." That experience both enlightened and inspired me to start a movement: Born To Be Light.
We are fighting a war in our own backyards. We must do something to get to the source of the violence epidemic. We must do it now! Government and police cannot do it alone. If each of us brings one person a message of nonviolence and hope, we can crack the invisible walls of fear that surround us and end the silence that helps protect violence. As Michael Jackson suggest, change starts with "the man in the mirror." That is why I have started the Be the Light movement—both for Chicago, and for the country as a whole. I am asking everyone I can reach to pledge nonviolence, and be the light in their home and community.
The vision is to have Born to Be Light wristbands become a symbol of our national commitment to nonviolence and change. The bands show that we each have the power to come together and be an example of peaceful coexistence, and to become advocates for change. When you take this pledge you are saying: "One light can light a home; a million lights can light an entire city."
Extended to you, is the invitation to pledge to Be the Light. Be an advocate for nonviolence in your home and community by wearing the glow-in-the-dark wristband. Purchase them for your family and friends, and explain what they mean. Tell them that they were born to be something positive, and they should always strive to be a positive light in this world.
All money donated is used to purchase glow-in-the-dark BTBL wristbands for distribution during non-violence programs and presentation in urban schools and community organization. I envision these pledge bands everywhere, from churches and schools to orphanages and prisons, any place that needs light. You can help make that possible, and it is a tax deductable donation.
The YEP youth have the right idea, don't just say you're tired of the violence, do something about it! Don't just say you want change, "Be the change!" Each of us does make a difference, and we start by changing ourselves first. Help make a difference. One light can light a home; millions lights can light an entire city. When our children, who are more at risk than we are, are not afraid to take a stand, the least we can do is stand with them. Take the pledge to be what you were born to be, light.
aka: just Sheila (www.justsheila.com)