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​​Excerpt from Dr. McCoy's book, Severing the Achievement Gap: Bridging the Gap of the Heart, Head, and Hand (Pg. 11), ​also printed in the Huffington Post on Feb. 17, 2015 and Dec. 6, 2017


WHO CAN I TURN TO (Poem)

I am this person lost in the world,
        And don’t know where to turn.
            ...Wanting to achieve in anything I do
                    I want to be treated like I exist. 
           I want to be seen for more than the outer me. 
                    I want to be seen for the person placed inside of me.
                             I feel like I’m alone in the World.
               I feel like there is no one out there in the world to run to when I feel like it’s the end of me.
                    Sometimes I want to run away to a place where no one can hurt me.
                            Sometimes I feel like life for me will never go right. As much as I try, it will never go right. 
                                         What should I do if the problems I face won’t come up from the deep, dark place inside me? 
                                             Who should I turn to if I can’t turn to the person that gave life to me?
                                         Then who can I turn to?

This existential expression rings with alarming truth in an awakening society. It speaks for countless children in a woeful whirlwind of life.  As a former superintendent of the deceased Michael Brown Jr., and also the youngest and first African-American in Ferguson-Florissant in that leadership role, I intimately know this sentiment represents millions of economically disadvantaged youth, especially African-American males.


Excerpt from The Real McCoys -  I AM A LITER (Pg. 24)


I am a Liter was birthed during a period of painful professional labor and frustration from not seeing much authentic leadership.  With each passing year, this expression of truth is undeniably timeless.  I was around the age of 24, and serving as a principal.  In various places, I witnessed many great errors.  This included deception, infidelity, a lack of knowledge and wisdom, abuse of power, especially among some public leaders.  

Note that many words are misused intentionally within this poem.  This poem is intended to be seen by listeners while being read aloud.  Like a mighty storm, the uniqueness of this poem can be seen from afar; and, when read thunderously, its truths fall on listeners like raindrops. 

I am a Liter (Poem)


I am a liter that all weighs influences others.
I am a liter that makes people sea things in a different lite. 
I am the first thing you have and the last thing you know,
I am a liter that at some time or another know one fails to follow. 
 
Look for my influence in school and I am always their.
My presence is all throughout malls, stores, and fares.
I am implicit and explicit within this expression; behold, I am omnipresent.


Also like the breath you can never catch
Or the end of all history which no one will ever see
Like Love, Faith and Hope I lead to bliss, utopia, and immortality, throughout eternity.
 
In churches, I prey on people, create and impede many saints.
I also cause many great eras.  Most people blame Satan, God, others, but rarely myself four my doings and affairs.
Who am I?  I am a means to an inn, often your id.
Who am I?  Increasingly haunting the egos of many intellectuals, I am clearly knot your friend.
Although I seam funny, I never kid. 

Enthroned as the mightiest among human race,
I am a liter beyond measure, I am Ignorance in this case.



Excerpt from The Real McCoys - Don't Look at Me Funny (Pg. 32)


No one is perfect.  We all have skeletons in our closet.  Nevertheless, the issue of sexual abuse is one of the heinous acts that many families experience and keep taboo.  There is so much violence in our silence.  We cannot remain quiet.  I will not.  I love my mother, sister, wife, daughter, children, all women and men, and myself too much to do so.   

Twenty percent of girls and five percent of boys are victims of child sexual abuse, and three out of four adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well.[1]  The pain is paralyzing and the shame is sickening.  It spreads to those who know, but do not help.  We all know someone somewhere affected by this issue: Don’t Look At Me Funny.  We must stand up, speak up, show up, and clean this up for our children.


Don’t Look at Me Funny (Poem)

When I was three we use to play peek-a-boo. 
I remember it was just me and you.
 
At four we played run and tackle until I did not like it any more
Like a blanket you would lie on me penning me to the floor.

Since five you would tell me to run and hide
Finding me in my bedroom half-smiling but afraid as I watched you pass by.
At first I thought that we were playing

Mommy left us home alone and you kept saying
“It’s okay to touch and tickle as we lay”
And because my mommy trusted you, I trusted that it was okay.
 
One time late at night I saw you tickle mommy the same way.
So I guessed it was okay.  It sure made mommy laugh and kiss you that day.

But after you touched me like that it didn’t feel nice and right away I wanted to say:
Stop now, stop please, stop or I’ll scream, stop or I’ll run away

Now I know that you could tell that I was scared, you stopped, and explained that it would seem a little crazy.
I thought maybe
But at school today it was shared that no one should be treated this way.  

You shouldn’t have tricked me, your touches should not bruise me,
And no bruises or touches should be kept in secrecy
Not by mommy, daddy, uncles, aunts, friends, teachers, strangers or enemies.

And when you learn that I shared the truth with my social worker, preacher, police officer, school teacher, or the entire community…Don’t look at me funny.  

____
[1] Finkelhor, David. The National Center for Victims of Crime. 2010.  http://www.victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics (accessed August 16, 2015).



Excerpt from The Real McCoys - Hard Times (Pg. 34)
 

While serving as superintendent in Ferguson, Missouri the hardest experience was losing eight students in one school year.  With every student and staff member, it was my personal commitment to attend every funeral, mourn with those who mourned, and show love to those who remained.  Yet, as the years went by, more suicides occurred in the 2000s; and it seemed like the rate among black children was increasing.  Research in May of 2015 confirmed this feeling and showed that the rate has doubled since when I was in high school in 1993.  Thankfully, the rate for white children has declined; but, something is seizing our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, from inside out as well as outside in.  Suicide rates have always been lower among blacks than whites of any age.   Now, a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in May of 2015 found, for the first time in any national study, a higher suicide rate for blacks than for whites among elementary school-aged children.[1]  These are Hard Times.

Hard Times (Poem)

Grandmomma just died
There is no other family nearby
Feeling like Godzilla’s bride
Because every two hours, one of us expires from acts of violence
All I do is hide
Empty inside

There’s no understanding these hard times
It doesn’t even help to get high
Go to school? Go to church? There’s too much pride
Call it fate, but hate helps me just get by

To my surprise
A new feeling has visited my mind
When alone late at night it seems justified
It is a suffocating feeling inside
It says, “I am your savior.” God? No! Suicide?” Yes! Suicide.

____
[1] Jeffrey A. Bridge, PhD;; Lindsey Asti, MPH; Lisa M. Horowitz, PhD, MPH; Joel B. Greenhouse, PhD. (2015). Suicide Trends Among Elementary School–Aged Children in the United States From 1993 to 2012. JAMA Pediatrics, E1-E4.

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