This post is part of an ongoing Black History Month series written by Marcus Harden, a pillar of the South Seattle community and a truly unsung hero, as he honors the living legacy of Black history in his neighborhood and beyond, and recognizes the people who are shaping the future.
“We are all gifted, but we have to discover the gift, uncover the gift, nurture and develop the gift and use it for the glory of God and the liberation and struggle of our people”
- Louis Farrakhan
By Marcus Harden
One of the greatest gifts, if not the greatest, is walking alongside someone else and encouraging them as they uncover their own gift. Then finding another and another to walk beside, giving the gift of being a gift, in service to others.
To do this with people is work, but very doable. To do this and begin to create systemic and institutional change, that is a gift in and within itself. When I think about people who hold that gift, brotha Chris Chatmon comes to mind.
Chris and his team (family) of powerful brothas and sistas have helped to transform Oakland Public Schools and begun to change the conversation nationally about what it means to support, educate, empower and put young Black men at the center of the conversation. Going beyond changing the narrative, his leadership and work have helped rewrite the books!
His true gift has been in spotlighting those he serves and those he serves with. When you meet him, you’re most impressed about his passion for the work, but also the deference he shows his family, his children and his wife, whom he promotes in front of himself as the heart and soul behind his work.
He has now led the way to transform work not only for Kings (black males), but for Queens (black women) as well, and he is blazing the trail for other cultures and identites to follow the blueprint he’s helped create — which has now spread to San Francisco and Seattle.
On this weekend in which we honor Wakanda's cousin city, Oakland, we honor this King who’s doing the work to transform and change lives, using his gift to be a gift in service. That is why Brother Chris Chatmon is Black history, today.