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What it truly means to be a leader

DAYTONA TIMES — According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word leader is defined as one who commands a country, organization or group. Growing up, it was crucial to have positive role models and community leaders to keep us on track and to make our communities safer and more efficient. As the Executive Director of Community Healing Project Inc, I truly believe being a leader and a positive force in your community should be an obligation for every able-bodied citizen. As well as influencing the youth to gain knowledge, self-respect and self-worth. 

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By Rell Black

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word leader is defined as one who commands a country, organization or group. Growing up, it was crucial to have positive role models and community leaders to keep us on track and to make our communities safer and more efficient. As the Executive Director of Community Healing Project Inc, I truly believe being a leader and a positive force in your community should be an obligation for every able-bodied citizen. As well as influencing the youth to gain knowledge, self-respect and self-worth.

Being a leader is an enormous amount of pressure and it takes a person with dedication, compassion, empathy and a very forgiving heart to be great at it. After collaborating with some of the most influential activists and politicians around the nation, I’ve finally discovered the key and cracked the code of not only being a true boss but also being an influential and motivational leader.

Remember your roots

Understanding your community and the families who live there are the most important part of becoming the best leader you can be. In every city in America there is a low-income, urban and minority-focused set of apartments and complexes who truly struggle every single day. Take a second of your time to get to know and understand those that are suffering the most around you.

With poverty and illiteracy rates in urban communities resurfacing to an all-time high, its truly time to invest not only economically but spiritually and physically as well. Putting the love back into the community with programs, events, and cookouts promote positivity and unity and gives us a chance to discuss serious issues that plague our communities. No matter how far you make it, never forget your roots!

Never compromise

Staying grounded and humble will maximize your influence and the way others respect you. When it comes to fighting for a cause or movement you must know when to “hold em and when to fold em”. Sometimes it’s best to analyze a situation before instantly reacting and making things even worse. I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with this way too many times as I was so eager to make a difference.

I was so focused on getting results and seeing action, that I would act on my emotions instead of my logic. Once you get the hang of voicing your opinions in a respectable and impactful way, you’ll attain a level of balance and peace of mind that will only improve your skills as a leader and boss. Stay true to yourself and never compromise your morality for the benefits.

While the attention and success will always captivate you, you must always remember that not everyone will be a fan of what you do. And as history has shown, some of our greatest and most influential leaders were strangely taken before their time, due to mysterious circumstances.

By any means necessary

Being a social activist, you must understand that an open target is always on your head and sometimes it’s better to silence someone than to try and understand their truth. You should always prepare yourself mentally before you strive for greatness. Great leaders make sacrifices, and you must truly be ready to fight to keep your integrity, by any means necessary.

For centuries, we’ve been told our heroes wore capes and hide behind masks. These heroes are fearless, brave and would give their life to prove their integrity. From the radical efforts of Malcolm X, to the psychotic world of Charles Manson, we’ve always been able to identify powerful leaders in society, whether they had positive or negative influences on the culture. Ironically, these men not only dominated culture in the 1960s, but they influenced a whole new generation of followers who would emulate their footsteps.

No matter which side of history these leaders decided to stand on, they all had one very powerful trait in common. They were natural-born leaders, and they truly changed the world, one community at a time. Being a great leader takes patience, understanding, passion and a true heart for the greater good. The world needs more incredible, positive, intelligent leaders and it’s time to seize that moment more than ever before.


Rell Black is an award-winning activist, blogger and the founder of Community Healing Project Inc.

This article originally appeared in the Daytona Times.

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