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Hasan Says

On Meeting Dr. Maya Angelou

by Hasan Davis on 05/29/14

I met Dr. Maya Angelou once. In the Spring of 1988, I was a student at Berea College and Dr. Maya Angelou was scheduled to be our Thursday Convocation Speaker.  To this day I do not know how or why, out of the 1,500 hard-working, well deserving students attending Berea, I was given the honor of welcoming Dr. Angelou to campus.  Thinking back, I may have just appointed myself. Just a few weeks into my first semester back after being expelled from Berea College, I was struggling. But, today I was to meet Maya Angelou and Alex Haley in the green room at Phelps Stokes Chapel and visit with them until it was time for Convocation to begin.

I skipped my afternoon class to arrive almost an hour before convocation, afraid that I might get distracted and miss my appointed task.  Sitting nervously, I coached myself through the best way to introduce myself to two living Icons.  About 20 minutes into my rehearsal, the door to the green room creaked open.  Without fanfare or entourage, in walked the two. 

I stumbled over to the door hand extended. Maya all but caught me as I rushed forward.  She grasped my hand and I immediately calmed.  As I stood silent, she gave me a considerate look and whispered, you have quite a story to share with the world young man.  I was frozen in fear.  I could not imagine how she could have learned of my challenges and failures in such a short time on campus.  For a second I returned to feeling like an imposter and a lifetime of failing suddenly surfaced. Do not worry, she continued, still holding my hand firmly in both of hers. You just have to finish writing the ending.  With that her smile broadened and my calm returned. 

She introduced me to Mr. Alex Haley; then directed me to sit with them and tell them about me.  About me? Shocked, I sat there with the two of them staring intently at me, patient for me to begin.  Only God can remember what I actually shared with my new confidants on that day. I am not sure how long we talked.

We talked until someone knocked on the door and announced that we were close to our 3:00 start time.  I rose and shook hands with Mr. Haley and thanked him for his time and his work.  I turned as Dr. Angelou stood, raising my head to follow the rise of her calm face.  She again took me by the hand and whispered, I am waiting for you to finish your story. She smiled, handed me a piece of paper from her notebook and walked out the door toward the stage and the packed auditorium of students, faculty, staff and community folks.

Because of the audacity of fearless champions of hope like Dr. Maya Angelou, unafraid to speak light into dark places, I continue to find the courage to keep writing my story. 

Hasan

The Beginning

by Hasan Davis on 05/21/14

Yesterday, I was witness to the most important moment in any revolution, the beginning.  In South East Colorado Springs, a low-income, predominantly Spanish speaking community, a small but determined group of champions gathered at a police substation. It sits just blocks from what has been deemed the deadliest intersection in the state of Colorado. Another young man was found dead there just this weekend.

Around the room they introduced themselves as school teachers and administrators, police officers and former offenders, honestly working class and obviously affluent, elite athletes and coaches.  Regardless of their stories everyone shared a sense of urgency to serve the young people that too many were writing off.

Yesterday, in this corner of Colorado Springs, the seed was sewn for a field of dreams -- soccer fields, actually football as one of the lifelong players was quick to correct.  They talked of creating football fields in an abandoned lot to engage youth and reclaim their community. Listening there as they talked passionately about football, I realized they talked life:

Success is about working hard, finding the hustle deep inside to get past your belligerent blockers, over your obvious obstacles and around your determined detractors. When you muster the discipline to be patient, your training and commitment will pay off with a shot at the goal.  The good players will strike the net without much effort or doubt.  The great players, well, the great ones will be the ones who have learned to reset their team at midfield, take another good look at the target, and then charge again and again until they finally get what they came for   GOOOOOOAAAALLLLLLL!

According to the research of Peter A. Witt and Linda L. Caldwell every child needs:

  • to establish a pattern of autonomy and to experience being responsible for self and to others.
  • to find success and accomplishment in their own hard work and disciplined effort.
  • to develop a sense of acceptable behaviors and responses in a supportive  environment.

Yesterday a promise was made that the needs of the children in South East Colorado Springs would be met. I was honored to bear witness to that promise.

Hasan Davis, the former Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, was visiting Colorado Springs this week to work with and organizations, including the Arc of the Pikes Peak Region and the Local SB94 Coordinating council. Hasan lives in Kentucky with his wife and two sons.

Momma Said I Could

by Hasan Davis on 05/12/14

Today I celebrate the courageous caller, the word wizard, the truth sayer.
Today I recognize the one who set my gaze as sure as she set my path.
Through the darkest days when they warned her away saying "you may have to sacrifice this one for many." When she feigned deaf to their enlightened advice.
Through my stumbling and fits to be more than disappointment she convinced me that I was anything but.
"Inevitable Victory for Hasan with Love Mom," She said
"As long as you are brave enough to try, the world cannot prevent your doing!"
And with that, I dried my eyes and raised my head and invited her light to fill me. Together we began my journey out of darkness into Light...

Thank you Alice Lovelace. You are and always will be my Greatest Inspiration!

Hasan

(Mother's Day 2014)