Doing something like this gap year (although it is really not a year) is hard enough no matter what your background is but there is also another reason why I wanted to make the trip. Self-Worth. How does America see me? Yes me, a black man. Well, as you can imagine, it aint pretty (this trip was happening in 2015). I am likely going to end up in jail or dead, right? Oh my, you graduated from Georgia Tech, did you play a sport? I am also extremely prone to violence, you didn’t get the memo?
The rhetoric that America is spewing when I was getting ready to take this trip in particular with police brutality was on different level, the worst that I have seen in my lifetime. Even despite what I was able to accomplish at my firm (I mean I flew on a private jet for client work for goodness sake), all the tragic events with Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown etc and seeing it over and over again eventually lead me for the first time in my life to wish I was born a different color.
I really just wished I wasn’t black. I remember I would just tear up sometimes (as manly as I could) and wonder why they just hate us. Eventually I came back to my senses and realized my black is beautiful but this ish is real. So doing this gap-year was giving me a break from such a contentious environment, doing my small part in hopefully changing the story-line of what black men are able to accomplish, and motivating people that look like me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I just put my mind on something for 6 years and prepped for it. You can too!