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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Dear Hannah: LEarning (Honor Role - The Power Of Mentors (Tribute to Darryl Robinson) - EPILOGUE)

Dear Hannah,

Mentors are people who share their experiences.

Their wisdom is earned through lessons learned.

Then they pay it forward.



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"LEarning (Honor Role - The Power Of Mentors (Tribute to Darryl Robinson) - EPILOGUE)"
By Derrick Brown
Read Part 1

I was able to attend Brother Darryl Robinson's homegoing yesterday.

I drove down with Willie Frasier.

We met during the 1985 Clemson Career Workshop, too, and have been friends ever since.

He shared some great memories of "Cheese" during our ride.

He was Cheese's roommate for a while.

I never knew, but was not surprised ... not in the least.

Yesterday was amazing in more ways than I can recount here ... but I will stick to the highlights.

We arrived just after Omega Psi Phi's memorial service ended.

As we approached the venue, we saw hundreds of brothers in purple and gold ... all ages and stages ... talking and sharing memories.

I started to see faces of familiar classmates.

Facebook makes it easier to remember names, but nothing connects us more than face-to-face conversation.

This is a lost art.

So we started to catch up, introduce, reintroduce ... this went on for at least an hour.

We then entered the Arts Center.

The first thing I had to do was walk down to see Cheese.

I don't like to do this, but that's exactly why I do it.

I have to accept what has happened to move forward.

He looked at ease.

He looked like he was thinking.

He looked like the chief.

I still felt sad, but seeing him made me feel better.

This is how healing starts.

The venue was packed, but Willie and I sat in front of Cheese's math teacher - who introduced herself.

She was beaming with pride.

We also got to sit with Brother Terry Manning - another one of Cheese's former roommates ...

... but also a bad brother and mentor.

First African-American editor of Clemson's student newspaper, "The Tiger".

If you were at Clemson in the late 1980's, you understand the magnitude of that accomplishment.

This is a story that must be told, too ... but not today ... I digress.

Renaissance man - writer, visual artist, photographer.

30 years ago, I used to always peep his camera ... then say "one day I'm gonna get me one of those."

Yesterday, he was working with a Canon Powershot G7X.

Those who know, know.

That thing is nice - at a nice (reasonable) price.

It is a weapon, but does not look like a weapon ... small (pocket-sized), simply elegant, and elegantly simple.

Takes great indoor and outdoor shots - without the flash.

You can shoot selfies with it, or "traditional" shots.

It's the kind of camera a renaissance man would have.

This ends the commercial.

Anyway, the cool thing about watching a photographer work is that they are careful observers ... they anticipate key moments, and capture them more often than not because they tune in ... they engage.

So I stopped daydreaming, and focused on the moment.

The tributes to Cheese began, and each one lifted us a little higher.

I was particularly drawn to Brother Randy Vereen's remarks.

He displayed a pure, unadulterated love and humanity for Cheese that most of us - especially dudes - are afraid to show.

I introduced myself to him afterwards, and while we chatted he made one statement that just froze time.

He said "If Cheese had $40, and you needed $20 - he would give you $30."

That's a lyric that belongs in a song.

Brother Michael Fortune's remarks revealed that Cheese had drafted the framework for a formal mentoring program to connect older and younger Omegas according to professional and personal interests.

I'm not an Omega, but I am here for that all day ... and would love to get it off the ground.

Brother Fortune also announced a scholarship endowment in Cheese's name ... as well as an effort to visibly honor Cheese's legacy in one of Clemson's hallowed halls.

I'm here for both of these efforts, too ... all day.

I even think he should be honored in Freeman Hall ... but nobody asked me.

So the service ended, and as we filed out I scrambled to find a program.

These are important keepsakes ... historical documents.

Records of who, what, when, where, why, and how that we lose when we snooze.

I approached Brother Ernest Nicholson - whom I had not seen in-person since we were both students in the 1985 Clemson Career Workshop.

He acknowledged the Cheese tribute video I posted on Facebook last week.

I tried to play it cool, but I am always humbled, appreciative, and validated (and a little shy) when people acknowledge my work.

So thank you, too, to Sisters Wendy Coleman Blue, Lisa Wilson, Yolanda Gant (Upshaw), and Margie Pizarro - y'all make me blush, but keep me advancing in my calling.

I want to share hopeful, healing, transforming truth by sharing our stories in real time, then preserving them for posterity.

I digress.

Ernest let me borrow his program to scan it.

When I brought it back to him, he told me to keep it.

Now ain't that just what Cheese would have done?


About Derrick Brown (Standup Storyteller)

I am Keisha's husband, and Hannah's father.

I am a “standup storyteller.”

I fuse rap, spoken word (poetry), oration (traditional public speaking), singing, and teaching into messages of hope, healing, and change that I write, direct, and produce to help people who help people.

Everything must change - and stay changED.

Tradition begins and ends with change.

Change begins with me and the renewing of my mind ... then continues through efforts to effect small-group discipleship (equipping others to equip others) with audiences that respect and embrace mentoring, mediation, and problem solving as tools of change.

I am the product of my mentoring relationships, peacemaking (and peacekeeping), and problem-solving ability.

My education began when I finished school.

After school, I enrolled in a lifelong curriculum that includes classes in ministry, entrepreneurship, stewardship, literacy, numeracy, language, self-identity, self-expression, and analysis / synthesis.

My projects execute a ministry that has evolved from wisdom earned through lessons learned.

I want to share this wisdom to build teams of "triple threat" fellows - mentors, mediators, and problem solvers.

We will collaborate in simple, powerful ways that allow us to help people who help people.

I now know that power is work done efficiently (with wise and skillful use of resources, interests, communication, and expertise).

Copyright © 2018 Derrick  Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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