New Year, New You, New Story
On January 21, 2019 at the East Cleveland Public Library, 1:00pm there will be a panel of intelligent, relatable and relevant people to have a discussion about the problem of negative community and police relations. As the host of this panel discussion I feel that its important for all of us to consider a few questions as we enter the year 2019.
WILL THE NEW YEAR BRING A CHANGE IN COMMUNITY VS. POLICE RELATIONS?
Here is the answer:
NO, if we as the community and police officers individually decide that holding on to our pre-set mentality about each other is more important than change.
YES, if we all understand the power of our minds and use that power to change our thoughts, which will change our behavior, which will change our lives.
I believe that we all must make the decision in favor of change because otherwise we will continue to suffer from negative interaction with police and negativity in our personal lives.
HOW CAN WE MAKE 2019 A BETTER YEAR THAN 2018?
One definite way to make this new year better than the last year is by planning to make it better. I’ve found that too many of you sit back and let life happen to you. You live the exact same life every day without any planning. The unfortunate result is that many of you are finding yourselves in legal situations, bad relationships, destructive environments and you are depressed about it all. If you would take just a little time to plan and map out your future many of those situations will be avoided. I am an obsessive planner. Though I know that I can not control every possible situation that life throws at me, I am committed to controlling the things that I can. Here is a short list of the things that you can control.
1. Your friends
2. Your conversations
3. The places that you go
4. The things that you do in public
5. The effort you give on the daily basis
6. The attitude that you reflect
I could continue with this list but I believe you get the point. Plan how you want your year to be and live each day making the decisions that will lead you to completion of your plan.
HOW WILL PLANNING MY FUTURE HELP WITH THINGS LIKE AVOIDING NEGATIVE INTERACTION WITH POLICE?
Please understand that I don’t believe that you can avoid every single bad situation. You may encounter a bad teller at the bank. You may encounter a bad worker at McDonalds. You may encounter a bad police officer. I am not suggesting that by planning your life will be perfect, I am suggesting that when you choose to plan your life you will make “close to perfect” decisions or at least decisions that are right for you. For example, you can avoid many bad tellers by going to a different bank. The same holds true for a bad worker at McDonalds, go spend your money somewhere else. Now to avoid negative interactions with police officers, especially those who are considered “bad” these are my suggestions.
1. Never argue with a police officer who pulls you over. Think about it, are you going to argue yourself out of a ticket?
2. Never run from the police. You know what they say, if the police have to chase you they are bringing a butt whooping with them. Well that may not be the case most of the time but how do you think your interaction will be when they catch you.
3. If you don’t have a license don’t drive.
Social Media: @judgedawson
CAN I REALLY CHANGE?
Every New Year we all proclaim that it’s going to be “the best year ever”. We make plans, talk about being a new person and even declare that we are cutting people off who have been unproductive or even toxic in our lives. The truth is that the will power that is necessary to make real change in your life does not have a clock. That will power doesn’t magically appear on January 1st. Instead, real change can be found inside the word itself and inside you.
CHANGE: C - Courage
There will never be real change until you develop the Courage to change. Courage comes from many sources but at the very least it comes from the realization that what you have been doing is not working. The relationship that you love so much doesn’t love you. The drugs and drinking that you enjoy don’t help you achieve your goals. Whatever the issue may be, until you take a long, honest look at it you won’t develop the Courage to change it.
CHANGE: H - Honest
The look that you take at your life has to be Honest. You can not sugar coat it. Look at:
1. Your friends - are they positive? DO they have things to offer your life and your advancement other than fun?
2. Your home - Is it livable? Should you be there? Is it even safe?
3. Your relationships - that man or woman that is laying up with you at your house, are they helping pay bills? Do they respond when something is wrong? Are they contributing to the wellbeing of the situation or have they become childlike in the way that you take care of them?
4. Your job - is it providing for you financially? Are you adding value to the job that you are taking from financially?
These questions and hundreds more are needed so that you can be Honest about the change that you want to make.
CHANGE: A - Attitude
This is the sleeper part to positive change. I call it a sleeper, because you will never change until you develop the Attitude that is different than the one you have right now. Your current Attitude is why you are not achieving at your highest level in school. Your current Attitude is the reason why you aren’t getting the raise or the opportunities that you want at work. Your current Attitude is the reason that you are okay with staying in a relationship that is destructive, violent, and all around terrible. You can not make change when your Attitude remains the same.
Through my experiences as a Municipal Court Judge, I have witnessed people come into my courtroom over and over again for the same things or same offenses. They stand before me talking about a better life, talking about change and asking for a second chance and as sure as the day comes, they end up right back in my court or another court without breaking any negative, unproductive cycles.
The reason that this happens is because they have not mastered the first three elements of this change model. For example let’s look at a domestic violence offender.
C - This person lacks all Courage because they feel that the only way to gain respect is to obtain power in a relationship through abuse.
H - This person is not Honest about the fact that a person committing domestic violence turns into a monster.
A - The Attitude that they are right or justified in their actions is a barrier to any real meaningful change.
Stay with me so we can complete this change model in the next segment.
For more information about the Cycle Breaker Conference contact the East Cleveland Public Library or visit JudgeDawson.com.
Judge William L. Dawson
East Cleveland Municipal Court
Social Media: @judgedawson