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Author Archives: WSS News

Brains Before Bullets, Think It Out, Don’t Shoot it Out!

CoverChess Front (1)By Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson, Founder and President of Be Someone, Inc.

Several years ago I found myself at a crossroads in my life.  If not for a helping hand at just the right time, I might not be here to offer these words of advice and encouragement.  I definitely fit the description of an “at risk” youngster.

I was an inner-city tough guy.  That was my life, my culture.  It defined me.  I wasn’t worried about my future.  Future? Ha!  My future was today, tonight.  Tomorrow was never a sure thing.

So what happened?  How did I escape?  Why am I now preaching against the life that once looked so “cool”?  For this column, let’s just say a very special teacher saw something in me that I didn’t even see.  He taught me the game of chess and with that simple act, he saved my life.  I owe him so much and one way I’m paying him back is by living every day to save other young people who are in trouble or potentially stand to make poor decisions.

We are surrounded by so much pain and heartache.  You can’t turn on the news without being faced with a litany of domestic violence, carjacking, robberies, and kidnappings.  Violence is something that has always plagued this world. It is so important to learn that hostility gains you nothing in life. Peaceful compromises are the way to solve your dilemmas. Why is the world so angry? Perhaps we will never know the answer to that.

Using the game of chess, I founded an organization several years ago based upon a simple premise:  Be someone, not something. Your actions speak louder than your words, and that is often forgotten. There is no reason in this world why two people cannot sit down with a game of chess or something similar and use their mind power to put hostility and sore feelings behind them. Use creativity and your mind in a unique way to solve your differences. Violence gets you nowhere but behind bars.

Taking someone else’s life is one of the most unholy sins a person can commit. Consider what that family has to go through and what yours will go through knowing that you did this. Did you see the recent story in Chicago?  A beautiful young lady who had recently performed at President Obama’s inauguration in Washington was shot and killed by gang members firing weapons indiscriminately.  Think of the pain and heartbreak.

Remember this simple statement, “Brains before bullets, think it out, don’t shoot it out!”  I teach this and my students are hearing me but I need to reach more young people than those I’m able to meet in my classes.

Everyday lives are taken for no reason at all or for something menial. No matter what it is, a gun is never the answer to solving your problems.

I have dedicated my life to teaching young people that they can succeed.  They can make the right choices that will lead them places they have only dreamed of going if someone can reach them.  I believe God gave me that ability and capability.

This is my message to young people:  Learn how to take charge of your life.  I want to help you do that. I have guided and mentored many young people who others have given up on.  I offer a calm voice and a steady hand that has weathered numerous tests.

I believe every child has the potential to succeed.  That’s what guides my presentations and my classes.  Take my instruction and use it constructively in your everyday life to become that upstanding citizen that you desire to be. Be a success, not a casualty. You can be productive in life, you can go places, and you do have support to help you get there.

So many young people forget that life is beautiful and if your chance to take advantage of all it has to offer is taken away either by your own hand or another’s; you will live with many regrets. Let’s have more successes and challenge your mind, put the guns away!


 

Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson was an at-risk young person growing up in Birmingham, AL, when a teacher taught him the game of chess demonstrating to him that for every move – either on the game board or in the game of life – there are consequences.  It changed his life.  He went on to become an Alabama State Trooper and later founded Be Someone, Inc., an organization devoted to teaching young people there are consequences for their actions and that they can choose to succeed in life.  He not only teaches classes but delivers motivational speeches around the country. Please invite international speaker Orrin Checkmate Hudson to energize your next event by visiting www.besomeone.org.

 

San Bernardino County Diversion Program Only Helps Rancho Cucamonga Offenders

By Renea Wickman

Last Tuesday, the Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches held a community forum with the San Bernardino County Public Defender and District Attorney’s office. The topic of discussion was the diversion program for non-violent misdemeanor offenders. It was implemented as an effort to reduce the case loads of misdemeanors by upwards as 25 percent.

The diversion programs is a four month program at a cost of $400 run by the private company Corrective Solutions. To qualify for the program you must be charged with a misdemeanor, have no prior record, live in Rancho Cucamonga, pay $400 for the Corrective Solutions program and volunteer for the program.  The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved the program last month.

The issue that concerned the African American community included a number of things. The issues at hand are the program’s cost of $400 run by a private corporation; other possible costs could be incurred for drug testing, alcohol and drug classes, anger management classes and other classes if suggested by the Judge, DA or Public Defender to complete the program.  The DA says the cost of $400 to low income families is on a sliding scale, but not the additional classes that may be required. In addition, concerns that the program only applies to Rancho Cucamonga residents and those who have no prior criminal record were also raised because the African American community has a disproportionate number of community members with prior convictions. The DA also mentioned that it is at the discretion of the DA and Public Defender if a person with a non violent record can be allowed to voluntarily enter the program. For this reason the concern was that fair discretion is rarely given to an African American in the criminal court system. Lastly, the concern was that the community members of the City of San Bernardino would best benefit from such a program. However, the DA stated that Rancho Cucamonga had the most misdemeanors of any city in San Bernardino County. The IECAAC asked the Public Defender and District Attorney’s representatives to include racial stats of all qualified cited individuals weather they volunteered for the program or not.

If the program is completed the individual would not have any record of the charge what so ever on their record. The DA added that the program is a pilot program and reviewed every six months and will last 3 years. If you have more questions or concerns about the Diversion Program you can contact the San Bernardino County Public Defender and District Attorney’s Offices.

Letter to the Editor: My Condolences to San Bernardino From China

Penny Li

Penny Li

By Penny Li, 李盼

My condolences go out to the victims’ family of the December 2, 2015 horrific incident.  I am from China and I have come to San Bernardino for two weeks for the purposes of requesting for the City of San Bernardino to Re-instate the Sister City program for China.  This trip was planned much before the horrific incident.

The December 2 act of cowardice could not deter our motivation to build a bridge between our two cultures.  We propose for the city to reinstate the Sister City Program for China, allow international exchange participants to volunteer for the city of San Bernardino to help share the language and culture, and for San Bernardino to support the newly created International Business Expo, which has been initiated by Keith McCarter of McCarter University for the purposes of encouraging cooperation between our Chinese company participants and your local businesses.

I and a few of my colleagues will be speaking at the December 21 city council meeting to request for the city to place these items on the agenda.  These plans were submitted to the city far before December 2 and we believe that now, more than ever, is a good time for the city to consider making positive international connections to create positive international programs to enhance the future prospect of success for the companies and citizenry here within.

We wish to invite all members of the public to come listen to our short presentation and feel free to offer your support of our plans and project.  Lastly, unlike many other proposed programs, this program will not cost the city one red cent, but it has the potential of bringing elevated profits to the city directly, indirectly and to its businesses.  We will appreciate your support and again, we wish to offer our condolences to the victims of December 2.