This episode is all about the importance a father makes in the life of a child. Today's guest grew up on the streets of Wilmington, Delaware. I'm excited to introduce Rashod Coleman, a policeman from Maryland, author of the book, "Fatherless Son," and an activist who works tirelessly to help exonerate those who have been wrongfully accused of crimes.
Author Rashod's autobiography about his father's imprisonment is eerily similar to one most of us might already be familiar with from Bryan Stevenson's book, "Just Mercy." It's heartbreaking, unfair, and cruel...but imagine being the child who had to live through it. This is Rashod's story...
Rashod has such a tender heart for helping people. He also brings a unique perspective….that of an African American police officer. He sees and can speak to both sides of the equation with knowledge, compassion, and understanding. He is purposeful about building positive relationships with those living in tougher neighborhoods. He seeks out kids that used to be like him as a youth and tries to give them attention, kindness, and wisdom because he knows what they lack and need since he was one of those kids.
One thing his mom taught him was to never be a victim of his environment nor to be a victim of who you are. This advice was taken to heart and lived out even though terrible things happened to their family. I'm in awe of how they stayed focused and continued being the best people they could be in society. All of us need to take Rashod's Mom's wisdom to heart: "Understand the history, but don't use it as a victim card. Be cautious in this society, but don't let that hinder you from being happy."
I had quite the "aha moment" when Rashod said, "White people will never understand what it feels like...that trauma is passed down through generations." I desperately want to understand, I want to empathize, I want to show I care….but he's right. I'll never feel it, the best I can do is imagine the pain. Trauma passed down through generations takes time to heal, and if circumstances keep that trauma raw and at the surface, it takes even longer to heal. I think as white people, we would do good to remember this and extend more grace, patience, and mercy since we can't pretend to understand or know the depth of this feeling.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to read Rashod's story in his own words from his book, "Fatherless Son." I'm actually going to make it easier for one of you wonderful listeners by giving you a chance to get his book for free. All you need to do is send an email to email@example.com and tell me your favorite quote from Officer Coleman's episode. I will draw a winner at random on March 28th, 2021 and notify the lucky reader via email. Author Rashod also has a 7 part series on YouTube that describes in detail everything he went through to exonerate his father. I've watched all of them and am impressed with all the time, research, and energy it took to help free his Father from all charges. You can find all of Author Rashod's social media and website links in the show notes.
I'd like to end with Officer Coleman's tip for making the world a better place: "Take care of the person next to you." It really is that simple. And he is a shining example of what that looks like. He answers Martin Luther King Jr's question of: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?" May we all find the answer to that question for our own lives, just as Rashod has.
From his mom and Maya Angelou: "When people show you who they are, believe them."