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Michael Lewis Presents

V_E_R_S_U_S

Vocal Engagements Regarding Society Underlining Systemics

V_E_R_S_U_S_, is a platform designed for Vocal Engagement based here in New Orleans. It is organic conversations between myself, citizens, professionals & politicians to engaged thought & enlightenment to listeners and viewers. The goal is to have REVEALED information REGARDING subject matters RELEVANT to our communities viewpoint & ideology. RELIGIOUS & political indifferences has divided our community SOCIALLY for decades. SYSTEMIC policies created by the government in the past, have had lasting effects, still plaguing us today. STEREOTYPES & STIGMAS on our differences divide us more than unite us. UNDERSTANDABLE mistruths about one another thru open dialogue should UNCOVER, UNTRUTHS, UNDERLYING our city. Our URBAN communities have been handicapped from resources, such as proper education, healthcare, voting accessibility & policies created & enforced but yet not understood by its citizens. In order to combat this SOCIAL divide, dialogue must be had. Our SOCIETY has shown on many occasions we are capable of one heartbeat.

“Perseverance is coming out of the dark moments continuously.”

After the Presidential Election in 2016, similar to many Americans I felt frustrated. I was aggravated, filled with utter hate and disappointed with social media acquaintances who were ignorant to the importance of exercising their rights to vote. Not comprehending by not voting for either candidate and believing that by not voting it would not effect them nor their livelihood. So after several weeks of internet squabbling I decided to purge myself from many social media & physical affiliations that were counter productive to my life goal & peace of mind. With the management of the Algiers Auditorium, I started to find myself working along side local government, non-profits, schools & community organizations. For the last several years I have been the bridge between the community & assisting passionate people in their purpose here in the city. I would be the architect in some case of putting great people & organizations together to make a difference in the community and areas they served.

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On March 15, 2020, the first weekend of the quarantine, I found myself severely injured with a severe back injury and unable to get treatment until April 21st. During the first weeks of the pandemic, I was bed ridden. I was saddened. Though my injury was a blessing, I didn’t appreciate just then. But after a few days, I realized it was time to get silent. My injury allowed me to listen attentively, to the misinformation that was coming from the White House, it allowed me to rediscover my ideas from years past and reignite some passions that I had buried. As the virus plagued our country & devastated black and brown communities throughout U.S. I kept hearing the word systemic roar across the news channels. In a time of self isolation, the worlds ugly truths were also being revealed. People were observant because they were still, not distracted by technology, work, school, sports, nor vacations. The United States of America had become a tense pot of stress, fear, distrust and hate.

“I for one believe that if you give people a thorough understanding of what confronts them and the basic causes that produce it, they’ll create their own program, and when the people create a program, you get action.” — Malcolm X

We were living in moments of disbelief, the video footage of Ahmaud Aubrey killing while jogging, to Breonna Taylor shot in her home, to the killing of George Floyd. These killings weren’t new but in this new era of technology the Black community fears from unfair policies and police treatment had been aired for the world to see. In the weeks that followed the "systemic" word gained more traction behind the protests, behind the rioting and looting. I had now been receiving treatment for several weeks now and health and wellness was at the forefront of my agenda. But I was taken back one night in June, America's garage door was thrown open and the ground was dug up. More and more examples of systemic racism reared from the darkness but none as eloquent as that of CNN’s Chris Cuomo. What was revealed was multiple examples of systemic racism laid out in front of me, his closing argument was my awakening.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” President Barack Obama

Systemic Racism

Is that really a thing?

“I was silent not to be complicit but to formulate an impactful strategy of changing the narrative with my community.”

How does systemic racism affect our community:

  • Wealth Gap
  • Unemployment
  • Underemployment
  • Stock Market
  • Home Owership
  • Lending Practices
  • Infustructure
  • Investment
  • Child Care
  • School Funding
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Health & Wellness
  • Life Expectancy
  • Voter Suppression
  • Policing
“We live in a time with access to everything but unable to comprehend nothing.”

“We need to Plot, Plan, Strategize, Organize & Mobilize.” - Killer Mike

So what’s my plan

To give experts within our community with knowledge on these disparities a platform. I plan to host on the second Tuesday of each month a community forum of learning on a specific group of topics that affect us systemically. I wish to provide a safe space to the community and those seeking knowledge to empower themselves with the knowledge, tools and solutions for change. This will be free to the public and those interested in attending will only have to register because of limited seating.

"Teaching the illiterate to write so that they have the right to vote, a key component in the Black movement for integration, Virginia 1960"
Created By
Michael Lewis
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