4 Keys to Living your Best Wild and Precious Life

by Carjamin Scott on May 14, 2019 at 10:05 p.m. CST

Last week, Cindy Kent, Healthcare Executive and Philanthropist, posed the question, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” to an audience of professional business school graduates.

Kent began her commencement remarks with, “The world needs leaders interested in living lives of significance. The need for moral, ethical, and purpose driven leaders is at an all time high.” Then, she provided four keys to living your best wild and precious life.

Key # 1: Authenticity – “Your authenticity is your unique value proposition.”

Key # 2: Vulnerability – “There is power in vulnerability and admitting what you don’t know.

Key # 3: Learn from Failure – “Never let a good failure, heartbreak, or mistake, go to waste.”

Key # 4: Legacy – “Leave people places, and things better than you found them. Leave a legacy.”

She ended with, “The truth of the matter is all of us have something within us that is whispering and wanting more – to be more, to do more,” she said. “Some call it purpose. Others, vocation. I do not care what you call it […] just allow it; amplify it with intentionality, and in so doing, I would imagine that you will live a life that is bigger (and) better than anything you could have ever imagined.”

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie, instagram @carjiescott, and facebook at Dr. Carjie Scott.

Photo: L to R Cindy Kent and Lee Pierce

Photo Credit: Vanderbilt Owen Marcomm

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Four TN Activists to follow.

by Carjamin Scott on May 2, 2019 at 10:05 p.m. CST

People who campaign to bring about political or social change are activists. When most people think of activists, they probably picture the ones that we are taught about in history class like Rev. Dr. King and Rosa Parks. While that’s an accurate thought, it is important to recognize modern day activists. From holding state officials accountable, having courageous conversations, reforming gun laws, and encouraging voter participation, here are four modern day activists to follow.

Aftyn Behn is a Statewide Organizer for Indivisible Tennessee. She’s also a co-host of GRITS podcast, and former Engagement Manager for the Tennessee Justice Center. Most recently, she’s made headlines for urging Gov. Bill Lee to demand the resignation of Rep. David Byrd. She staged a multiple day sit in and was ultimately arrested.

Justin Jones, a Vanderbilt Divinity student and Fisk University graduate, is an outspoken young civil rights activist who went viral after posting a conversation regarding the public education budget.

Jones is currently banned from the TN Capitol. House Speaker, Glen Casada, his Chief of Staff, Cade Cothren, and other members of his team are under investigation by the District Attorney for allegedly framing Jones.

Kathryn McRichie is a lead at Mom’s Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans demanding reasonable solutions to address our nation’s culture of gun violence.

Timothy Hughes, Senior Project Manager at The Equity Alliance and volunteer with the TN Black Voter project works to increase the number of black and brown voters. He was interviewed by News Channel 5 and shared why he believes that HB1079 and SB971 are voter suppression laws.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

The Truth about Voter Suppression Bill #HB1079 and #SB971

by Carjamin Scott on April 19, 2019 at 10:05 p.m. CST

Tennessee has made national headlines for passing a bill in the state House last Monday that penalizes activist groups for submitting voter registration forms that have unintentional errors. Groups such as The Equity Alliance, the TN Black Voter Project, and the Memphis branch of the NAACP believe that this bill is retaliation for registering a record number of black and brown voters. Since 2016, 20 groups across the state organized in urban and rural areas, to register 90,000 new voters, most of these new voters are from poor and minority communities.

Link to article here.

Last October, the TN Black Voter Project and the Memphis branch of the NAACP filed a lawsuit against the Shelby County election commission. The commission rejected 10,000 voter applications from the TNBVP. The lawsuit requested that the election commission “adopt and implement procedures to ensure that eligible voters who submitted timely but incomplete or deficient registration forms can cure any deficiencies” and immediately afterward vote using a regular ballot. TNVBP won the lawsuit and the Shelby County Election Commission had to send letters to the registrants with errors on their forms and extend the voter registration deadline so that those errors could be fixed.

Link to article here.

Now, Secretary of State, Tre Hargett has introduced a voter suppression bill HB1079 and SB971 to combat activist groups that submit incomplete forms. Charlane Oliver, Co-Founder of The Equity Alliance says, ” The entire state is being punished with the most aggressive fines and penalties for doing voter registration drives. You must question the timing of this law and by their own admission is in result of forms they got from the TN Black Voter Project. Their motives for the law is driven by a fear of more people of color voting in elections.”

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

Stacey Abrams warns voter suppression threatens our democracy.

by Carjamin Scott on March 25, 2019, at 10:05 p.m. CST

I had the pleasure of attending a lecture featuring politician, author, and attorney Stacey Abrams. Abrams is best known for a complicated loss to the Governor’s race in Georgia where incumbent, Brian Kemp was accused of manipulating the votes since he served as Secretary of State during the race with Abrams. The Secretary of State position gave him oversight of the election of which he was a candidate.

Abrams, began the lecture saying, “I am here because I am not the Governor of Georgia.” Unlike most candidates, Abrams was contracted to write a book about the campaign while campaigning. Her book, ‘Lead from the Outside’ is a memoir on how to get power, access to resources, and overcome failure.

Abrams said, “People like us, (outsiders) are afraid of opportunity because we don’t want to mess it up. When we mess up, we fear that there is no recovery because we are so limited in many spaces. Oftentimes we are unwillingly representing an entire culture and community which brings upon unwanted pressure.”

When Abrams told her family and friends that she wanted to run for the Governor seat she faced much criticism. “I can’t invest in you because I don’t believe in you enough,” some alluded. “You’re qualified Stacey, but do you realize that you are a woman and you are black?” others said to her.

Abrams still ran and although her loss was controversial, she said, “My moment of darkness wasn’t for me. My book, ‘Lead from the Outside’ is important because that’s where a lot of folks are.”

As mentioned during the lecture and reported by the New York Times, Abrams received 25% of votes from whites and 38% of votes from republicans. Additionally, she was able to triple Latino voter turnout and increase youth and black voter turnout. She got more votes than any other democrat seeking the Governor position. “On Election Day, we knew we had done something unprecedented. Then, as the final counts were tallied scenario Z happened. There was a concern about the election; so, I had the every vote should count speech.”

At that moment, before the final results were tallied, Abrams believed that it was her responsibility to rally voters, especially those who felt the system failed them and the republican voters who believed in her enough to vote against their own party.

Then, Brian Kemp was announced as governor. She admitted that she was angry and sometimes still is. “Revenge is cathartic, I had to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I had to work towards changing the infrastructure that allowed this to happen.” Abrams continued. “You fix problems, you don’t wallow in them.”

Now, Abrams is working to change the voting system and has launched Fair Fight Action. Her organization works to end the systematic repression of voter access and to bring awareness to the public on necessary election reform.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

Great mentors don’t ‘give fish,’ they create relationships: Dr. Noble discusses mentorship.

by Carjamin Scott on March 9, 2019, at 4:05 a.m. CST

Many authors are credited for the old proverb, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” This simple phrase describes the importance of an experienced fisherman sharing his wisdom with a man who wants to catch a fish.

If the experienced fisherman simply gives his fish to the man who is fishing, he is not serving his neighbor at the fishing dock. The neighbor may be grateful for the fish given to him; however, every time he takes the fish from the fisherman he becomes more dependent on the fisherman and less likely to learn to fish on his own.

Great mentors do not ‘give fish,’ they create relationships. I had a conversation with Dr. Rosevelt Noble, a married father with many hats and a mentor to a number of students.

When asked to describe mentorship, he said, “Mentorship is providing advice, guidance, counsel, and support to help people through the development process. The development process can include becoming a man, becoming a CEO, or parenting a son.”

He believes that mentors can serve in different purposes. “They can be cheerleaders, fact checkers, or critics. What limits people is their narrow perception of what mentorship looks like.”

I asked Dr. Noble to share who his mentor is. “My closest mentor is a 70-year-old white female, I have been in contact with her for over 20 years. She was one of my favorite professors in college. We talk weekly about pressing issues.” Dr. Noble, a black man from a neighborhood outside of Chicago, and his mentor grew up in extreme poverty.

He said, “Although you may not be able to tell from appearances, our backgrounds lined up and she was just a good person.” I asked Dr. Noble, “How would you suggest that students find good mentors?” He responded, “You have to put yourself in places and in positions to be developed.” He continued. “You have to develop a relationship with the person and often times you have to ask them to be your mentor.”

I said to Dr. Noble, “What about the students who do not put themselves in a position to be developed?” I continued. “There are many students who need mentorship but are not aware of how to ask for it.” He replied, “There was a time when I made myself someone’s mentor.”

He shared the story of a male student who was basically written off by a ton of people. Dr. Noble was able to build a rapport with the student. He quickly learned that the student was dealing with depression. His mom had even lost contact with her son.

While cultivating a relationship with the student Dr. Noble was able to build a relationship with his mom. In conversations, they both began calling him, “Dr. Rosie.” Soon, he had influence over the student and was able to become a mentor to him. The student was able to overcome his situation and get back on the right track.

From my conversation with Dr. Noble, I learned a number of lessons.

  1. Dig deep, below the surface, when choosing a mentor.
  2. If someone chooses you to be their mentor, be prepared to develop others instead of just giving to others.
  3. Mentors have mentors too. In fact, you should have multiple mentors and each should serve a different purpose.
  4. If you have found a potential mentor, don’t be afraid to ask the person to be your mentor.
  5. If you want to be someone’s mentor that hasn’t asked for your help, that’s okay. When you have something to offer, you can and should make a difference in a person’s life.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.

Nobody’s Relationship Should Be Your Relationship Goals

by Carjamin Scott on March 6, 2019, at 4:05 a.m. CST

It’s 4:00 am and I’m having trouble sleeping. I look to my left and my husband is knocked out cold, I hear the sound of the heater and the rattle of the wind. I’m thinking about next week, our singles mixer, and trying to picture the event in my mind.

What will people expect? Since I was able to feature a ton of women, will that attract some men to come out? What kind of music will they play that night?

I hope that the singles mix and mingle is worth it. If nothing else, I hope that new networks and friendships begin. I hope the attendees recognize that this is their time to meet new people while celebrating their singleness.

I’m thinking about all of the comments I’ve received from singles saying, “Y’all are goals,” “I can’t wait to get married,” or “I’m tired of being single.” I’m thinking that I need to make sure they know the truth.

Marriage is definitely worthwhile and I’m grateful for mine. However, the truth is marriage isn’t glamorous. It is not a prize or an accomplishment. It’s literally a commitment to love someone in spite of differences, flaws, and broken promises. It is accepting someone as they are even when they don’t deserve it.

The best advice I can give a person wishing to no longer be single is to love yourself and recognize your value. Because marriage is work, and everyone’s relationship is different.

That’s what being single is all about, right? It is the best practice for marriage. It is being committed to yourself, learning from mistakes, forgiving yourself, healing, and growth. I mean, if you are unable to love yourself fully, how can you honestly love someone else, right? Perhaps, but that’s easier said than done.

If you get nothing else from this 4:00 am rant, please understand that your future partner isn’t going to rescue you from yourself. The same struggles, fears, and anxieties you had before you got married will resurface.

The only difference is you have someone witnessing it all. Hopefully that person is encouraging you, helping you get through your issues, and instructing you to get expert assistance when needed.

So when people say, “couple goals” or “relationship goals,” I’m going to continue to respond “nobody’s relationship should be your relationship goals.” It’s not a jab at my marriage because I think I have a great one; but, it’s an honest response to a compliment that no one deserves.

Until then, love yourself and love one another. I hope to see you at Minerva next week.

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Carjamin Scott can be reached at carjamin.scott@gmail.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.