Written By Raymond D'ware Gauntt
Makin' Movez LLC
Photo courtesy of D'ware Photography
Words can't even begin to express how gratifying it was for myself to finally break the barrier & start that climb on the ladder that seems to be an endless one.
The one that has seemed so far out of reach, and usually only climbed successfully by the knowledgeable & determined.
For years since I was released from incarceration I've personally dealt with social anxiety which kept me from ever attending social gatherings & functions, leaving it very hard to network effectively.
So the last minute decision to "GO" to Georgia on a Friday evening when I received an e mail, only earlier that day, from Scott Budnick, was quite an overwhelming one, to say the least. He had invited me to tag along with him & his A.R.C. group at the Many Rivers To Cross Festival, right outside of Atlanta.
Without even so much of a hesitation I responded agreeing to the invitation letting him know that it would take me every bit of 9 hours to drive up, leaving it only plausible that I wouldn't make the festival until the later part of Saturday afternoon, a quick flight was out of the question.
So just like that...within a matter of minutes I went from being a home body, studying and researching all day everyday never having really gotten my hands involved in to many public activities, let alone ones that were relating towards helping the Youth and the injustice within our government.
I had participated in one STOP THE VIOLENCE campaign prior a few years back, but at the time I wasn't mentally aware that this was the process. To actually start seeing effectiveness, you have to do just that, be present and actually Be a part of the Change.
I've grown tremendously within the last year itself so I was mixed with so many different emotions from Excitement, Nervousness, Paranoia, Anxiousness, Happiness, Humbled, Frantic, etc. but I prevailed through it all, and was on the road within two hours.
After an all night drive, with just a single break, I arrived in the general area but instead of entering the festival I decided on scouting a hotel that was close.
I would come to regret this decision
I was able to find a motel about 20 mins east of Fairburn which put me almost 40 mins to Atlanta, but by the time I had freshened up and finally made it to the area of the farm it was complete chaos. I ended up not being able to access the gate....
It didn't matter that my access had already been taken care of, or that Scott had a booth there, admittance to will call was a NO GO...
So here I was after driving 9 hours I was forced to go back to the motel before 5 pm....with nothing to do in another state....
Whatever didn't make me pack up and just head back to the island I may never know but I am glad that I didn't.
The following morning I was up bright and early not really knowing what the day was to bring. Decided on riding over to the farm at the edge of daybreak just to make sure I knew the layout and maybe even find a shortcut to bypass all the nonsense that Id likely endure trying to get back to this place.
Fairburn, Georgia was an absolutely gorgeous small country town setting, that laid on the outskirts of western Atlanta.
By the time sun was on its unstoppable journey to the west the morning began to start passing quite quickly considering I had been awake since about 4 a.m.
Scott hit me up about 10:00a.m. and asked if I would like to meet at Mary Mac's Tea Room for breakfast before they headed to the festival. "ut, ooohhh"....
An outing with people I've never met!?! Sheesh...
I couldn't say no, but I almost created an opportunity for myself to escape by trying to consider traffic and that I hadn't stayed at a hotel near the airport district but in Douglas which was about 40 mins away...
Fought with my own self the whole time, it was irrelevant that I had no choice, it is just how my brain is wired...
Some would say I'm mentally challenged, while others would say that I am "Gifted" , so all that is really pointless to anything other than giving a small idea of the things I used to deal with when it comes to "making a decision"
Here I was on my way to Atlanta, to have breakfast with someone I have followed over the last 2 years as he has successfully made such an impact within the justice system over the last 5 years its almost unfathomable if you didn't have statistics to look up.
Not to mention the movies he was responsible for....
The man meant business and people took him serious.
Pulling up to Mary Mac's Tea Room, the infamous Tea House of Atlanta my nerves were through the roof to say the least, but I prevailed.
With sweaty palms the introduction finally happened. I had met Scott Budnick, & James Anderson, one of the many faces of who A.R.C. was, created by & represented through.
There were way to many names and faces to keep up with or remember so I apologize for not being able to give credit where its due.
I'd followed these guys and movement for quite some time now so it was truly an Inspirational moment for myself.
Nerves weren't even a comprehension during the introductions after Scott made it overly known that I had just randomly agreed to drive up 9 hours to show support for the movement.
Needless to say the breakfast & the rest of the day was as if I had been a part of the movement since its launch.
It was great listening to Scott explain everyone's story around the whole table.
Everyone had their own painful story of Inspiration.
Overcoming such tasks, and actually being taken serious by the people that have listened has and will continue to open up so many more positive platforms for our youth & young adults for generations to come.
The festival was an experience, definitely different than anything I had ever personally endured, so it was very much overwhelming at first.
I had made it that far , & was blessed to have even been considered to be a part of any of it let alone with the group that I was with.
Many details of the actual festival's purpose were so strong that through an energy & aura that was so positive & uplifting, the community based within the festival itself was amazing to witness & absorb. I truly believe there are no words that could justify the experience. Cant even imagine how it was the day prior.
I look forward to what the future holds for our youth, young adults & war veterans ; They're all trying to cope and make their way back into society.
Regardless of your beliefs and political views, this is about the youth, too injustice. Its about the next generation, our grand kid's kids. I am proud to be a fighter against this epidemic that is taking over the justice system, dictatorship, especially while all doing it within a positive manner.
Many Organizations across the Nation & World-wide are taking a stand & will not back down until proper Justice Reform is met & efficiently acted upon within a proper fashion.
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE YOUTH!
Please go out and Help become a part of the change!
For more information pertaining to how you can assist and what bills you can support please visit http://www.antirecidivism.org/
Thank you for your support.
Makin' Movez LLC (OUTSIDEthaBOX)
October 12th 2016
Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A.