Tag Archives: Love Trumps Hate

What Would Justin Do? Election 2016

What Would Justin Do?

Everyone knows that my pattern of writing is not scheduled weekly, daily or monthly. It is intermittent. When the feeling hits me I try and put pen to paper. So, today is the day. Honestly, with the state of affairs that our country is battling, I have been on edge for a few months as I think about this pending question: “What would Justin do? I think I was also triggered to write since I attended an event at the Duarte, California Teen Center this past Saturday. It was a Unity March and rally to promote peace and unity in the community. The keynote speaker, Lois Gaston—a community leader— spoke about Justin and his vision for peace. Through the tears, this event gave me hope and reinforced the importance of ” Teaching our Children” in the right direction as they watch us.

Initially, my mind was working on me to go, but my body was telling me otherwise. I am glad that I went. After the march, I watched the kids enter the park holding their peace signs high and donning tee shirts in a rainbow of colors. Their message was the same: “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Imagine All the People Living Life in PEACE”


screenshot-2016-11-07-12-47-54 screenshot-2016-11-07-12-47-41 screenshot-2016-11-07-12-47-30
There was poetry, dance, and songs such as: Imagine, What the World Needs Now, The Greatest Love of All, Teach your Children. If you ever listen to the lyrics of these songs, they all have the same theme- love and peace. They all moved me to the core. But when they played “Man in the Mirror,” I almost hit the floor because of the meaning of that song as it relates to Justin…

Justin’s school choir did a wonderful tribute to him a few months after he died.

This Election year would have been Justin’s first time voting.

Many of Justin’s friends constantly ask me a barrage of questions and I gladly welcome them all. “What do you think Justin would be saying about this election? Where do you think Justin would be going to college? What do you think his response would be to the “ Black Lives Matters Movement? What do you think he would handle how the hatred and bullying that is at the center of this election?”

I was actually touched when one of Justin’s friends sent me a picture of her. She was wearing Justin’s black Calvin Klein sweater (that I gave her to fight off the east coast chill) to a unity rally on her campus. She said, “ Justin was with me today as we marched for peace!”

Being a part of the process- when Justin can’t –keeps me grounded and connected and as I see and watch them grow, I can only visualize what would be Justin’s thoughts and perspective on these issues that plague our society.
Ceeds of Peace is a 360º approach to raising peace-building leaders. We support and build bridges between families, community leaders and educators to share resources and develop action plans to strengthen our communities and improve our children’s lives.

Critical Thinking, Courage, Compassion, Conflict Resolution, Commitment, Collaboration, Community…
Imagine if we were to plant these “Ceeds of Peace around children and youth, and cultivate these skills in the adults who interact with them at home, in schools, and in the community, wrapping them in the practice of these skills every day?

After we spoke recently at a “Ceeds of Peace” http://www.ceedsofpeace.com/ conference in Hawaii, I realized that Darrell and I did a pretty good job of raising Justin. We taught him with all the “Ceeds” and implanted in him as we raised and nurtured him. As I think back, nothing is ever easy and we did not always have glorious days if you know what I mean. But the critical and important values transferred.

Ceeds of Peace 2016
Ceeds of Peace 2016

I will never forget the story that one of Justin’s dear friends shared with me that she wrote about for her college essay. Like a lot of Justin’s friends the aftermath of losing him, in a flash still, rocks their minds to the core. However, I honestly think that they are now living their lives with purpose, following their dreams, as they choose passion vs. prestige, or as they change their majors to Art History (their passion) vs. Finance and Economic (their parents dream) or choose to work with children, a nonprofit or for a social justice cause for their life experience.

So ,Justin’s friend  Angie (who is of a multiracial background including African American) volunteered to tutor math at the Justin Carr Wants World Peace Saturday “ Dare 2 Dream” workshops.


On this particular day, she was paired up with a young  African American girl. Before she could start the lesson, the girl looked at the Angie a bit puzzled and sideways and said innocently: “Are you from the other side? “(Meaning you are not black why are you here?) She told me that even though she was shocked at the question, she had to quickly think: “What would Justin say?” It did not take long for her to respond from the heart and she said: “ No. I’m on the same side!”

Justin and Angie
Justin and Angie

So, I just went through my picture gallery and pulled out these photos of Justin. Every picture tells a story. Throughout his life, he truly loved his life. He was

Juju and his cousins
Juju and his cousins
Wedding Bells, Fun times with Justin and his god sisters
Wedding Bells, Fun times with Justin and his god-sisters

on top of this world as he embraced his peers anywhere he went- at the Montessori School, the Episcopal School, the Charter School, Public School and the Private School he attended.


Justin's Cousins
Justin’s Cousins

He had black, white, brown and Asian friends.  He had friends who had two mothers, two dads, traditional and nontraditional families, single parents, biracial, immigrants, Jewish, Catholic, Muslims, no faith, Episcopal, Christians. It really did not matter.

Justin’s Friends from High School
Justin helping his friend Mikala in 2nd grade
Justin’s image of his world in 5th Grade
Justin's Friends from Elementary School
Justin’s Friends from Elementary School
Justin’s World as he saw it with  his 2nd grade with his friends from all walks of life
Justin’s Pride 5th Grade



Justin's friends in High School
Justin’s friends in High School
Justin’s friends  Simone and Kelly in Kindergarten
Justin's friend Kelly in High School
Justin and his same  friend Kelly in High School
Justin’s friends Berrie and Lana  in 7th Grade

He had good friends that were boys and girls. He respected his elders. He tried to resolve conflicts. He helped his friends and stranger who needed a hand. He was bullied on a few occasions and he got the courage to stand up to them too! He loved his family, which was made up of cousins with African American, Filipina, Caucasian, Brazilian, heritage. He was proud of his country who was on top of this world and thought his America was great!
I have had butterflies in my stomach for many months now and on this election eve I just woke up with thoughts on my mind. This formative election goes beyond political persuasion. The unforeseen aftermath will either piggyback on the values like the “Ceeds of Peace” or destroy the core values that we should be instilling in our children who are the future. So as I think about “ What would Justin do? And how my baby would react to this election, I am proud to say that Darrell and I taught him the same way that our parents taught us and that was to “ treat people the way you want to be treated. Don’t let other people determine how you act. And Just Do the Right Thing!

Teach the Children

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.
And you, of tender years,
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.
Teach your parents well,
Their children’s hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.
Songwriters: Graham Nash
Teach Your Children lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Spirit Music Group



Justin’s cousin JJ and his friend he just met