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GREATNESS: Not always met with KINDNESS



When there are too many negative opinions about you, something must be right. And, when there is no comment about your good deeds and endeavors, it means you have left them speechless.

A movement is not about a man, but could a man be meant for a movement? It’s ironic that after the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the next uprising against Police Brutality would be in Baltimore. The cause of the uprising was the death of 22 year old Freddie Gray. The case received enormous attention because it involved several police officers accused of tazing Freddie Gray 10 times, and giving him a “rough ride”, which ultimately led to him having seizures, and his spine being fractured. But realistically, the case probably received so much scrutiny because it was recorded on a cell phone by onlooker, Kevin Moore. Watching the video of Freddie Gray be pushed into a wagon by Police Officers because he could no longer move on his own, and hearing him howl in pain still gives me chills. The results of the incident has caused distrust in the police department on all levels which has led to under policing, and a surge of crime in the city of Baltimore. Leaving the people with little to no confidence in city government, and on the edge of our seats until the officers are eventually found guilty or not guilty in the killing of Freddy Gray. Now, the hope for change is being placed on the shoulders of the church and it’s leaders. Amongst church leaders, one in particular happens to be extremely influential when it comes to fighting for civil liberties, Pastor Jamal Bryant.



With the attention the Freddy Gray case received it also has given Pastor Bryant a bigger platform to be seen as an advocate for injustice. I knew he wasn’t a favorite of everyone’s in his home town of Baltimore, but it wasn’t until he received national attention, and became one of the first leaders to make statements on the news about the Freddy Gray case and organizers of the protest, that peoples anger about his influence, success, and popularity was too obvious to overlook. Oddly, it wasn’t the typical citizen of Baltimore that would start, write, and provoke conversation regarding the lack of sincerity about Pastor Bryant’s intentions, it was his peers. And of course, the not as successful ones. Lately, I’ve been able to observe how much adversity, jealousy, and hatred some of the most accomplished people have to endure. Especially, when you break the “rules”, and have the knowledge that to cause change you actually don’t need anyone’s permission. That can be a freeing, yet dangerous realization.

I’ll tell you a few other reasons why Pastor Bryant might have the confidence to not ask. After attending Morehouse College, and Duke University, he founded Empowerment Temple, an A.M.E. church in Baltimore, MD with over 7,500 members. He is a successful, renown, and highly sought after author and speaker. While they may be at odds currently, come election time all of the politicians make it a point to stop at his church to show their face and get support from his congregation. Pastor Bryant’s congregation paid for the funeral of Freddie Gray, offered non- violent civil disobedience training to protestors, and has helped to spread awareness of the #onebaltimore campaign to increase the support of unity in Baltimore, an often divided city.


Empowerment Temple Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant speaks in protest of the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, in front of City Hall in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2015.       AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Empowerment Temple Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant speaks in protest of the death Freddie Gray, an African American man who died of spinal cord injuries in police custody, in front of City Hall in Baltimore, Maryland, April 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO/JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Yep, it seems Pastor Bryant’s biggest problem with his rivals is that he’s chosen not to go through the ranks. He didn’t ask permission to be successful, and where he’s not welcomed, he doesn’t go. He actually found out that he can be welcomed at other places, and those that feel negatively about him will not limit his impact. I’m sure he’s also discovered that having this kind of influence comes with a heavy price. People will bring up your past, judge you when they don’t know you, blame you for their shortcomings, and never let you out grow your mistakes, or acknowledge that you grew stronger in a weak area. No, they won’t give you credit at all, even if they need your help, even if you are helping them. And, if by chance you benefit in any way, in their eyes you are an opportunist. Yet with all of this, he’s managed to keep moving forward.

Just like him, a lot of us can relate to our biggest antagonist being those who are the most similar to us. It would be easy to justify someone being envious that had less and knew less. But someone with the same resources, talent, level of attractiveness, education, and connections to the same people is questionable? It serves as a great diversion from anyone being able to accuse them of being jealous. Instead of supporting or collaborating with him they would rather compete, criticize, and discredit. Instead of humbling themselves to find out how he has been successful, they would rather be prideful and connect with other people that resent his success. In my book, that is definitely jealousy, but feel free to disguise it as whatever you wish. However, what I cannot comprehend is how calculated the attack is on Pastor Bryant by many who claim to be about progression, and even hold public office? How can they not see that their antics towards him only achieve the opposite? How can business men and women not be able to separate personal differences, and realize there is a greater good that should be focused on? If anyone thought that success always greets you with support, think again.

jamal bryant 2


There are many other leaders who are just as passionate about the community of Baltimore, and the little attention given to improve the quality of living for it’s residents. So, this post is not meant to pick sides, or denounce the efforts of others in any way. I only hope to shed light on the fact that politics is a very tricky business that is controlled by a few factors that can be both predictable with the use of money, and unpredictable with the influence of a person. Whether we would want a single individual representing what we stand for or not shouldn’t be the issue. There needs to be someone at the center that is able to not only articulate themselves on a global platform, but also garner interest from the media by way of their accomplishments, and ability to leverage alliances with experienced community leaders. It’s that simple.

He said it best, “If people don’t know what you are doing they assume you are doing nothing, and if you broadcast it, you’re a camera hog.” You can not please everyone, but that reality shouldn’t stop you from accomplishing what you know must be done. God works through people, so I will never say Pastor Bryant isn’t flawed, and logically I don’t expect him not to be. No matter your personal feelings about him, he certainly is called, and when it comes down to the people, he is chosen.
This is the first of several articles I will be writing about the Sandtown- Winchester neighborhood, police and prison brutality, politics in Baltimore City, and the outcome of the Freddie Gray murder trial.

Stay tuned.

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Rachel Bryant Lundy


no change


This is the most excited and peaceful I’ve ever felt about a year coming to an end, with a new one beginning. It is probably because I don’t want to radically transform my life. I’m only interested in progress connected to what I’ve already started, and growth from lessons learned. When put that way, there is a lot less pressure I feel on becoming the person that I will eventually be. While there is never a more opportune time than a new year to give us motivation to let go of what has proven to not be beneficial, there are plenty of valuable experiences from 2014 that I am taking with me.

It’s true that planning what you want to be different in 2015 is a practical approach to having this year be better than the last. But, I also want to encourage you to equally reflect on what you have made improvement in that is helping you at this very moment. It is important to acknowledge how much we have evolved and that we are on the right track. Many of us have developed the ability to thrive in dysfunction and survive major setbacks that could have broken weaker people, and that should be recognized.

There will always be room for improvement in one area or another, so I’m not concerned with the symbolism of getting a clean slate or a fresh start. It may be a new year, but I am simply picking up where 2014 left off.

That makes me happier than any resolution I could make.



Happy New Year!

Rachel Bryant Lundy

Put on your “THINKING CAP”: Consider some facts to Discover your Truths

thinking cap


In head start when my teacher really wanted to get a class of 3 to 4 year olds to focus and answer a question, she would calmly remind us to put on our “thinking caps”. This one instruction caused us to immediately stop the business of being a kid, and give our full attention to the matter at hand. Sometimes we even did the movement of reaching above our heads and grabbing a “make believe” hat out the sky, then securely placing it on our heads. Suddenly we had power to tap into the part of our mind that was not easily accessible before, and this was all because of the use of an invisible “thinking cap”, otherwise known as the brain. All our teacher wanted us to do was to simply think. But stopping what your doing just to think is very hard for preschoolers, and can pose as a bigger challenge to adults.

The phrase “thinking cap” which was originally called a “considering cap”, means to take time for consideration of some question, and goes back as far as the early 19th century. Recently, I have found that carefully analyzing your experiences and seeing how they can tie into each other will prove to be advantageous in most situations, especially professionally. How many instances have we denied ourselves something because we didn’t think we met the requirements, or had what it took to go after and maintain it? When in actuality, we did. Yet, it was only after we stopped and took time to think about what we’ve done previously, and in what way it relates to want we want now, that it was found out.

No doubt about it, thinking can take a while. Real thought process requires you to go beyond the surface, beyond the quick answers, and maybe even face the possibility of bringing up bad memories. But thinking is a major requirement for progression, and so is being able to articulate your thoughts. When it comes to going after a job, a relationship, or a client you have to be comfortable explaining how what you have to offer benefits them. And to be able to do this effectively, you have to be the one that fully understands it the most.

So, do a bit of research on yourself, and connect the dots. This will prepare you for opportunities, especially unexpected ones that present themselves. You may even find that you have another skill set you never acknowledged, which could open up a world that you previously did not have admission to.

As much as thinking about one self is viewed negatively, on occasion, doing so is necessary to propel you from settling for a life of mediocrity and into the big leagues.

Have a great weekend!

Rachel Bryant Lundy

The Irrational- Rationalization of Change

image of bird getting kicked out the nest

I need to leave, want to leave, but I’m not going to. Sound familiar? Oh how we love holding on to things we know we should be done with. That is why people often have to let us go, or something happens that leaves us feeling so disgusted that we decide to run away from it. Our attachments could be to a hairstyle, furniture, relationship, or a job. Typically, people don’t embrace change until they have to.

A lot of times we are waiting for someone else to go first before we are willing to make a move. This is particularly seen in the work place. Normally, there are numerous people unhappy with their job, and unwilling to do anything about it. These same people root for, yet resent someone that is equally dissatisfied, but taking the necessary steps to move forward. It’s not that they are invested in the next person’s future, they are just aware that when one person moves on it causes others to try and do the same. It brings hope, courage, and triggers a small revolution, eventually causing not just one person to leave but potentially a small gang.

Why is change so hard for us to do on our own? Because being comfortable is just plain yummy, and going into the unknown is scary. You cannot predict what will happen, but comfortable situations you know like the back of your hand. So much, that the so called surprises aren’t even real surprises. Although, a harsher reality could be that we are afraid of our own growth. Admitting that it is time for a change also means that it’s time for a challenge, and time to demand more from ourselves. Not to mention, change for the better takes work and effort. It will be hard updating resumes, cover letters, applying, and interviewing for a better position. It will be hard researching neighborhoods, school systems, and learning how to get financing to live in a better neighborhood. Nonetheless, the only option we have by avoiding this work is still being at the same place years from now.

We need to remember that our past and present experiences prepare us for our next ones. They are not meant to make us stagnant. We are predestined to rise to greater levels. To ensure you keep moving towards higher altitudes, try starting the following:

  • Take action by spending time everyday doing something that will help you come closer to your goals. This could be looking up business plans or finding a school you may want to attend.
  • Give yourself a dead line for when you have to meet the goal.
  • Stay consistent with your efforts. You won’t go very far being “some timey” about what you want to achieve for yourself.

I hope I have helped you to begin to force yourself up and out!


Remember….Stay a Busy Bee and Share with a Bride to Be

Rachel Bryant Lundy