I’m Gonna Change the WHAT?!

I think that maybe it’s part of being young, or maybe being an idealist – that part of your brain just keeps screaming I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD [if I just had the chance]. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how to change the world. Not in a become-a-Senator-and-make-new-laws kind of way or in a work-for-the-UN kind of way, or even a sell-everything-and-move-to-the-hood- kind of way, but in a different way; something that you can point to and say, “Look, we did that, and it mattered. It mattered to him.”

So, how to change the world? How do we address some of the biggest issues on the planet? Does a global issue need a global solution, or can a small group of individuals in the middle of nowhere change something a million miles away that will take a million dollars but has the potential to save a million lives? Do you launch a nationwide fundraising campaign, or do you go to your friends and members of your community and ask them to rise up to the challenge?

Deep vs Wide

I’ve recently realized something really amazing – I am where I am. For the first time in years, I am not touring or traveling. I’m stationary, I signed a lease, and I’m growing friendships. And there are some very cool advantages of being where I am, and it’s something that I overlooked for a long time – face time.

How does one person convince the entire state of Colorado to care about an issue when you live in Arkansas and will most likely never see them? Yes, there may be great people and established networks that exist there, but there is very little personal connection. They may be compelled to do work, but they also may not. The idea here is to hit up as many people as you can and hope that some of them care enough, work enough, and self-start enough to get it done.

When I moved back to Arkansas, I was BUMMED. I didn’t know the people, I didn’t like the people, there wasn’t anything here, and it’s so damn hot all the time (as I write it’s 70 degrees…in February!) But there’s something about launching several activism tours and screaming from stage that “If you look around and you don’t like what you see, you have the responsibility to change it.” I guess I began to take my own advice. And now, with community service clubs started in high schools in the area, and with the first show nearly booked at our new music venue, and with a radio interview on the use of FM stations in the Congo next week, I stand at a crossroads.

To continue building a nationwide network, or to invest here in my own community? There is merit to both, and I believe both can and should be done at the same time, but maybe the bigger question is, how do we define changing the world?

Through my work here in my own community I am beginning to see high school students realize that they MATTER. I am ready to see music give people hope and a creative outlet like it did for me when I was a kid and we are beginning to look at how we can address serious issues here within a ten mile radius of where I live.

Maybe to the empowered high school student, and to the drummer that belongs to a music community, and Emmanuel, the homeless man with the full belly that we sat with for hours two nights ago, the world has changed.

 And maybe they’re changing it.


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