Tag Archives: www.justincarrwantsworldpeace.org

LOVE LIFE

IT’S BEEN A WHILE SO GRAB A SEAT…

Somehow, I learned that when Justin died it was the day that the world changed not just for us but for many. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years and counting that our precious son Justin – our young Renaissance man left this earth. We all remember what we were doing at the time kind of a similar shock to when the attacks of 9-11 hit or the assassinations of JFK and MLK— but this time it was my boy wonder who was a mere 16!! However, I must say that I smile sometimes because Justin’s character and mission for world peace ripples have crossed the waters.

“It was the 22 of February

The day I’ll always Remember

You see that was the day that my baby died.”


Over the years I have been able to put pieces of his last hours together. And now on this Mother’s Day I am happy to report that Justin was  indeed LOVING LIFE!

  • He called me about an hour before he actually died. He was happy he was seemingly healthy we did not know he had a heart condition. He was in his element. He told me he was bringing Molly to Pasadena so they could go to see her Moms production of Hair Spray. He had been campaigning for his school to do a  stage production more relevant and diverse. He often laughed out loud hearing his favorite Theatre teacher Reese Pugh — who was not as familiar with the show. He called “Hair Spray” “Hair Gel”. lol The next year with Reese at the helm, the high school cast lived out Justin’s dream.

So after Justin finished school that day…

  • His friend told me that they were in the theatre talking for a few hours . He told her that she should go ahead and write that children’s book she always dreamed of doing and that should not be a failure in the eyes of her parents!!! He assured her that it was possible she could live her life just the way she planned because “ My parents let me do the things I like to do.” Justin was living his best life and also encouraging his friends to do the same.
  • He had been secretly video recording Birthday greetings for Chanell with her with his school mates and teachers and choir director ” Rodger ” as the kids fondly called him behind his back
  • He was excited that he would be a guest dancer in 8  parts of the upcoming show.
  • Poolside he was singing one of his favorite Beyonce’s song with his girl Chanell “ End of Time”  OMG!!!!!

End of Time

Beyoncé

…“Take, you away, from here
It’s nothing between us but space, and time
I’ll be your own little star, let me shine you up
Or your own little universe make me your girl”…

He met his teammate Nina for the first time that day… She later found the words and shared her story to us and said that Justin taught her how to dance like nobody is watching…

He was happy.  He was “ Loving Life”

Justin’s littlest cousins were just 2, 2 ,7  and 12 at the time. In their own way, they carry their big cousin Juju with them. Kids grieve too you know so never discount them. They know when familiar things change.

  • JJ who at 8 years old now plays his sports like he is a Junior Olympic style athlete and he wants to wear Justin’s favorite number on his football jersey. My sisters say that JJ rolls his eyes and moves out furniture to flips cartwheels– just as Justin did… Justin was a Junior Olympic Swimmer you know…
Justin and his little cousins

  • Dashton is the builder- the Methodical thinker and the swimmer. He can still say Juju’s name with a BIG smile without any hesitation.
  • Mia ,the dancer, and artist is quiet and growing up fast. She still seems unsure of how to face the loss of her favorite cousin Juju who used to dance, sing , play and draw with her.
  • Dylan is making her mark taking care of business in high school and being a good friend. I’m sure she would allow only her cousin Justin to drive her fresh new car.
  • Justin’s older Cousins  Christianna, Burly, Cam, Pita, and Beina are all doing good by adding to the family tree, teaching and coaching others who need it the most, helping underserved students, and just being the best mentors that they could be.

I hope the two littlest cousins Bo and Hendrix whom he never got the chance to meet, learn a bit about their cousin Juju in the days and years to come. I see Hendrix knows all about the JCWWP luggage tags that have made their way around the world.


I think Justin made his mark and had spread his wings worldwide on so many levels. Some of his peers choose a different route besides college and that is perfectly ok because we are all not the same and everyone has their unique passions. I choose happiness vs. prestigue.

Post College Graduation Justin’s peers are doing their thing:

  • Working in the Visual & Performing Arts
  • Writing & Creating music and films
  • Working casual jobs, for non-profits, social justice, underserved populations, in all areas across the spectrum including teaching and working on Wall Street
  • In Graduate Schools
  • One of his” world traveler” friends continues to make her mark around the world helping others. She was the Rhode Scholar candidate for her university!!!! So proud of her!!
  • One young man who heard Justin’s story now is preparing himself to attend Medical School to become a cardiologist.
  • Another young lady is teaching 4th-grade students. She includes social justice in her curriculum- you see you are never too young to learn right from wrong we are the mirrors of the children.
  • His Best Friends are in law school
  • Butterflies are a part of my life the color turquoise will shield me in some way and my mothering instincts will never ever leave me. I recently read that Duchess Megan wore a turquoise necklace when the world met baby Archie for peace and tranquility. I like that choice!!

Photo by LUNAPEAKCOMPANY.COM


Justin’s absence does make the heart grief founder.

Darrell starts one project after another and continues to work in his garden.

Honoring his love of his only son through the art that he creates- art… especially what he gave me last night.

Today I played Natalie Coles Song ” I MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY” forJustin and some of the words I can definitely relate.



“I miss you like crazy, I miss you like crazy
Ever since you went away, every hour of every day
I miss you like crazy, I miss you like crazy
No matter what I say or do, there’s just no getting over you”

Love you the talented Darrell always Justin’s Dad and for taking thousands of pictures and as this collage shows every picture tells a story!

I was wondering what Darrell Carr was working on these past 4 days.Well last night he surprised me with his crown jewel piece of art. He told me “ I did not know what to get you so I made this… I cried many a night looking at all these pictures of our son we created. “ I was on the floor – again and not holding back any tears and neither was Darrell. He said” I wanted to blend Justin’s picture into his piece of art, that’s the butterfly that flew on your finger in Costa Rico and all of these are pictures I took over the years. You are Justin Carr World-Peace mom!”



OK I’M ALMOST DONE…

A few weeks ago my local style ” Marie Kondo- the organizer Connie who was introduced to me by Jeru (the connector) is a true delight as she helped me clear my brain. She is spunky, fast and non- judgemental. 

She held my hand when I found some hidden treasures tucked away. My heart skipped a beat when my eyes viewed the party drawer with the GI Joe and Harry Potter cake pans and the abundance of Bday cake candles, Easter egg kits, pumpkin carving tools, and Justin’s popcorn boxes from parties. But I hit the floor when I found a ceramic vase that Justin made I think in 8th grade because it profoundly said:

“ LOVE LIFE”

One thing I know for certain is that Justin did “ Love Life” this is the greatest gift of all. Remember- you should too. You never know what tomorrow will bring so, make that cake and be sure to eat it too!

I think that is what he would want me to do today is to “Love Life”

Happy Mother’s Day to any women with a heart who dare to love and help a child. My thoughts for the readers today…Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers.

Love Life, Love your Family and Friends and spend time with those who are important to you. And Don’t forget to teach the children well. You are the mirrors for how they learn and live.

Justin, I love you forever and will miss you always and I am glad I have been gifted the chance to be your Mother, Mom, and Crazy Over the Top Olivia (OTTO) Forever and Daddy and I will continue to fight on!

THE OTHER SIDE OF MOTHER’S DAY

A few weeks ago I was approached by Codie Oliver the Co-Founder of BlackLove.com. She wrote this piece and prepared this video of me as I speak my truth about being Justin’s Mom. Happy Mother’s Day to every woman. I know that in some way you have touched a child, young adult or adult in a mothering way. Please read Codie’s story and watch the videos. I’m good enough today as I honor and remember Justin 24/7 and so glad to be his Mom.

The Other Side of Motherhood



In addition, BlackLove.com sent out an Instagram post and over 38k people have viewed it as of this morning. Although I don’t recognize myself with makeup on I think my message is honest, loud and clear.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxVHgtTlgNC/

In addition, I am part of a project with Luna Peaks about living with loss. I was approached by a creative young woman Gracelyn who is with the sudden loss of her Dad and helping others who live with loss.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BxJkF0vBtz8/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=154omt50xuryn

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTIN- YOU ARE FOREVER YOUNG!

Well, the spirit has hit me on the eve of Justin’s Birthday, I had to put pen to paper as we celebrate a life we loved and honor and remember the love we lost— our pride and joy—Justin.

It was the 13th of September 1996. This day I always remember.  That was the day that Justin Eugene Carr was born!! Justin would be 22 years old today.  What would he look like?  How tall would he stand? Would he have a mustache like his Dad aka “Darnell” as Justin fondly called him? Would his hair be in the trending broccoli style, mini dreadlocks, big afro or buzz cut? 

MISSING THOSE  SIMPLE THINGS

Where would he be? What would he be doing? One  thing I know for sure is that he should have graduated from college this past June albeit that never happened— along with all those other “ings” like going to the prom with his bestie Chanell, driving, applying to colleges, graduating from high school, going away to college, collaborating, enjoying THAT college experience, working, talking, strategizing, studying, playing, designing, applauding, acting, voting, helping, protesting or arguing for right or arguing with Darrell and me (if we were wrong in his eyes,) drinking libations? – although,  I’m not so sure about that. The few times when he was in the presence of underage drinking he would tell people that he was allergic to alcohol. That stopped all enquires on the spot.  Justin would be encouraging, helping others who are fraught or out of sorts, or just staying in the mix, sitting at our table for shared meals, eating Thai food, playing and engaging with his littlest cousins and surrendering to his older cousins even though he would be looking down on them— he loved that he was the tallest of the cousins.  Justin would be building and creating with his Dad, rolling his eyes at his aunties, telling me  I am Over the Top Olivia (OTTO), shopping with his uncles, dancing, singing, swimming, crying, laughing, loving, grooving to Beyonce marrying, parenting, and of course smiling a whole lot as he was living his best life and of course celebrating many Birthdays in real time.  

Hanging With His Auntie


Spending time with Papa and the Cousins

Dancing and Singing with the little cousins

Hugging his cousin Coco

Easter Partying with his cousins

Styling with his Auntie












Test Driving with Dad

Measuring up to his Big Cousins

Sporting New Shoes that his cool Uncle Martel purchased

Hanging with his cousins Riko and Mako

 

Rolling his eyes before swimming

Justin loved celebrating his birthday. He had surprise parties, family gatherings and so many unique birthday parties themed to whatever occasion was the highlight in his life from Gymboree to Disneyland, slipping  and sliding with his “brothers” Sean and Miles, making volcanos that actually erupted, watching a marionette puppet show in the backyard to sleepovers, bowling, laser tag, sports  themes, magic mountain adventures. He often had two parties. One with his friends and one with family. Once he told Darrell that all he wanted for his birthday was for the family to come over and interface and talk and NOT TURN ON THE TV.  He hated it when the kids, women, and men were all interacting independently.  He wanted everyone to talk to each other without distractions – even though it was FOOTBALL SEASON.  It turned out really well and it was a beautiful gathering. Hours into it, Justin declared it was OK to turn on the TV.  I think he got tired of talking to everyone.

Blowing out Candles

Getting Surprised at his 16th Party With Chanell

Slip & Sliding with Sean and Miles

Slurping down icy’s

Wishing before Blowing






And of course, we never strayed far from our childhood family tradition of being able to have your favorite food and cake on your special day.  He had custom cakes. Justin loved the white on white famous Costco cake, and Violets custom cakes hit Pasadena. He had a swimmers cake and custom cupcakes he designed with Mickey Mouse hats. I even made a volcano cake that actually erupted (with dry ice). Once I made the mistake of putting his basketball ice cream cake in the freezer for so long that we could not cut it.  He said “ Mom it really did not look like a basketball so we don’t need it anymore…




Justin did not really ask for a lot of stuff.  He was grateful for the gifts and he was diligent about handwritten thank you cards for each thing he received.  

Do things get better 5 years later after losing a child?  In all honesty, the answer is No.  Grief is the natural response to a  change in the familiar. There is no timeline or method. What we had as a family, what Justin’s peers lost of having him in their lives on campus or just a phone call, text or Skype away, what a school community had or never had will never be realized beyond his last day on Earth. It was the day everything in the world changed.  Justin was a gift to our family, to his peers, teachers and even strangers. Because of the intermittent touch points,  we receive from people, the ripples of his goodness live on.

So will celebrate forever. Justin still lives with us.  We carry him with us where ever we go. He is in my backpack. People don’t know what we carry.  People carry Justin with them to places he will never go.  His message of world peace has traveled to all 7 continents through JCWWP t-shirts, luggage cards, artwork, and bracelets.

On the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Tanzania with JCWWP tag and his cousins

Some of his friends engraved his initials inside of their class rings, wrote their college essays about him, placed pictures of Justin on their dorm room walls or in the Western Wall in Jerusalem, near Pyramids in Peru or recent in Tanzania. They made bedspreads with the JCWWP logo and even framed the logo on their kitchen walls.  Justin also shows up in his friend’s good deeds when they help others struggling   — in similar ways that Justin would have helped.  And we were beyond thrilled when even during recent graduation ceremonies, his peers added their Justin” isms” on their graduation cap with butterflies, #JCWWP or the peace sign. Some added might and energy to the plight and fight for justice for others during their college days, some changed their majors in favor of what they wanted to be. Some of his friends wrote songs, poems, music, and others continue to put the power to pen,  write, communicate with us through letters, phone calls, thoughts of remembrance, hugs or with words that touched us to the core. One of his friends left her purse in an NYC taxi cab by mistake.  When the next passenger entered she looked in the bag and saw the JCWWP card and contacted me. I figured out who she was and the purse was returned in tack within a matter of hours!

Look at this amazing message that came when I needed it the most. A gift indeed!

So with each butterfly we see in flight dancing and floating in the air we pause for cause because we think of Justin our butterfly swimmer. 

 


These are meaningful gifts and THINGS  we truly love as we honor and remember, our son, your friend, cousin, nephew, student, teammate, classmate or even if you learned about him after he died.  Darrell and I are certainly proud that we allowed Justin to BE all that he wanted to be during his short life– and he was happy doing those things too.  So, parents, I hope you place “happy child” above all things as your children try and are their authentic selves.  Justin  will forever be remembered as he coined his personal phase for the class assignment when he had to describe himself in six words: 

“DARKEST IN THE WATER BRIGHTEST ON STAGE”

                         And for us,  Justin will be Forever Young!

Forever Young

Rod Stewart

May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam.

And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home.

And my you grow to be proud, dignified and true.

And do unto others as you’d have done to you.

Be courageous and be brave.

And in my heart, you’ll always stay

Forever young. (Forever young)

Forever young. (Forever young)

May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong,

Build a stairway to heaven with a prince or a vagabond.

And may you never love in vain.

And in my heart, you will remain

Forever young. (Forever young)

Forever young. (Forever young)

Forever young. Forever young

And when you fin’lly fly away, I’ll be hoping that I served you well.

For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell.

But whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you win or lose,

Forever young. (Forever young)

Forever young. (Forever young)

Forever young. Forever young

For forever young

HAPPY 22ND BIRTHDAY JUSTIN

You will be Forever Young and always in our hearts.

Love Mom & Dad

Life is Not Always a Cake Walk

Life is Not Always a Cake Walk

I remember the days when I would go to the Westridge Summer Camp Fair and find options for Justin to select for the summer. I must say that Justin was indeed aware and grateful that he was fortunate to be able to go places besides his front yard during the summer. I got there before the crowds and always managed to play my favorite childhood game.

Over the course of his life, Justin went to a slew of camps, many of which I found out about at this fair i.e. the NY Film Academy where he and his team made a movie about a boy getting bullied after school until he bounded with another boy and they became best friends. They stood up for each other when- others did not.

After his 4th-grade teacher told me “ I never call on Justin because I know he knows the answer- he will find his niche in college.” You know what I said back to her and what I did!!

I found the Institute for Educational advancement camp Yunasa (the Lakota Sioux word for “balance”). He went and he loved it. Yunasa supports the whole gifted child, encouraging growth and support of campers intellectually, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. They allowed Justin to go at age 9-even though he was shy of the 11 year age start.

 

And then there was the Catalina Island Camp where we went EVERY year as a family because the Horner’s hosted our church. Justin learned how to snorkel, kayak, rock climb, and compost.

 

Then he found Harvard-Westlake Summer programs and the rest is history. He fell in love with the program, the school, and his mom on campus- Ms. Simon.

Up until last year, I was unable to even step foot near this fair. I took a leap of faith and chaperoned my friends who were looking for camp options for their kids. I was shielded on all sides by my friend Jenn, her husband and kids. I survived.

One of the things I loved about this fair was getting the chance to play was the good old fashion Cake Walk game.

Every year I would stand on a number and step to the music with the hopes of my number being called for cake. when the music stopped. Today was no different. I went to the fair to get materials for my friend. After entering, I told my friend Rene that I needed to make a stop at the Cake Walk game first. I bought tickets. I was shocked that the price had increased from $1 to $2, and I made a comment. The parent running it said kindly: “Inflation”. The music played and when the music stopped my number was not called. One of the working parents rushed over to me and said: “ Any adult playing this game with all of these kids deserves a cake!” I laughed and then said: Really? She said: Yes! She led me into the room and of course, I selected the best one on the table. The one that resembled a ” Susie Cake” It was from Becker Bakery. Don’t worry I will be sharing it with all of my neighbors.I then told the mother why I was even there to begin with- I shared Justin’s Story. I told her to love her daughter, don’t get caught in all of the hype and competition and let your child be. ” She hugged me and said she will remember what I said.

We scurried through the various booths and I was able to:
Hug Maria from Catalina Island Camp
Embrace Betsy- one of the founders of IEA
See Coach Bible who was one of Justin’s Swim coaches at H-W.
Bump into my friend Stephanie whom I just met 2 years ago. She was a mere stranger who found the words to confront me and not run away like some “friends” did. She was touched to the core by Justin’s story. She came up to me and said: “ You don’t know me but I went to your sons funeral. I was taken aback by your unimaginable loss. I only have one child… She told me a just a few weeks ago: “ I am both inspired and shamed that you as a mother of a child in heaven are more mother than 100 of us put together. I want to step up my game because of your example. I want to get closer to God because of your life of giving. You lift me up.”

They all mentioned Justin’s name. It feels good when other people are not afraid to mention my baby’s name. I love it when they do. And everyone said to me: It’s good to see you!”

When we left my friend Rene said: “ I don’t know how you do it and come to something like this. How do you feel? I said: “Life is not always a cake walk, I’m taking baby steps, and I carry Justin with me everywhere I go. He is walking with me now. ”

P.S.  The cake was packaged and wrapped in plastic wrap so I really did not see the actual colors until I came home.  Really!!

 

Halloween’s Past: The Best Halloween Treat

Halloween’s Past: The Best Halloween Treat

Justin wrote this letter in 2004 when he was 8. He and his Dad always loved watching all things Star Wars.



So when Justin was 10,  he decided he wanted to be Mace Windu—the fictional character in the Star Wars franchise, portrayed by actor Samuel L. Jackson.

 

From Wikipedia

He would not settle for the usual over the counter costume so he commissioned our dear friend Sherrie Brooks (who sews very well) to make his authentic costume- and that she did. He went with her to get the best fabric close enough to the outfit worn by his idol.

He was so happy with Sherri finished product. The last request he had was for his Dad to shave his head bald so he really could look just like Samuel L. Jackson!!!

Justin Carr as Mace Windu Halloween 2010 Costume by Sherrie Brooks Photo by Darrell Carr

Fast forward to February 5, 2013 (2 weeks before Justin died) He and his dear friend Arielle Winfield spearheaded the Harvard Westlake Black Leadership and Cultural Club (BLACC) Event with the surprise guest Samuel L. Jackson. The room buzzed with joy when Samuel took to the stage. His story was profound. He opened up his heart beyond the big screen. He shared that he was a swimmer. His mother made him be on the swim team to keep him out of trouble.  He also wanted to be a marine biologist- just like Jacques-Yves Cousteau he said. Furthermore, he shared that he almost hit rock bottom with his drug consumption—it was from the unconditional love and support from his wife LaTanya that saved his life…

Justin, Arielle and Samuel L. Jackson at the H-W BLACC event 2/3/2013

Justin was so happy of the outcome of the event. It was a huge success.

 

The night before Justin’s Celebration of his life I looked in my Spam folder.  What a blessing I did because this letter was in it.  It made me smile. It is truly a gift in this circle of life.


See the video of Justin introducing  Samuel L. Jackson

Read the full story

Read Article

http://hwchronicle.com/samuel-l-jackson/

See video

http://hwchronicle.com/samuel-l-jackson-tells-story-of-career-at-black-history-month-assembly/

This is my story of Halloween Past. Finding these treasures was definitely a treat and worth sharing.

A Song For Justin By Jensen McRae ” Love in the Heartland” (Part 1 of 3: Art)

 

Art, Heart & Peace

We will continue to celebrate all things Justin today on his 21st Birthday  September 13, 2017.

This first part is his dedication to the Arts

Please listen to this incredible song that was written by Justin’s talented and compassionate friend Jensen McRae in his honor…  “Love in the Heartland”

 

 

 

Daddy’s Little Girl and the Wind Beneath Her Wings

Daddy’s Little Girl and the Wind Beneath Her Wings

“You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold,

You’re daddy’s little girl to have and to hold…

” Daddy’s Little Girl”  Lyrics by  Al Martino

Last week we went to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Awards Dinner. My friend Stayce Harris was honored.   It was on the wings of love and admiration for her that I somehow was able to muster the courage to attend. You see, this event was my re-emergence so to speak; I came out of my cocoon.

It has been over 4 years since I attended anything related to USC even though I am a Trojan for life. My husband Darrell became a Trojan by marriage and oh, my beloved son Justin had dreams of joining the USC student body through his legacy— but really from his own innate talents. As a family, we attended countless USC events through the years.   But when life threw us a curveball I had to protect myself from those broken dreams we had for Justin.

Justin, Susan & Darrell Carr at USC Homecoming 2004

It was a glorious night. This event was wonderful. It was welcoming and safe. A wave of nostalgia swept over me as the USC band played and as I watched my friend LIEUTENANT GENERAL STAYCE D. HARRIS —the first black woman to become an Air Force Lieutenant General, receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Over 500 people came to “her party” as she said during her acceptance speech.

 

 

 

Stayce and I were classmates in a few general engineering courses on the Monday –Wednesday-Friday track back in the day. We became fast friends. On one particular Thursday, I had to take a second look when I spotted her quickly racing across campus donning a crisp and orderly Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) uniform. I caught up with her and called out her name. She turned around. To my surprise, it was Stayce! I did not know she was in the ROTC. Together in sync, we both busted up laughing and I said: “ OMG is this you? She smiled and said proudly, “ Yes, it is!” I said: “I’m not mad at you. Right on girl! I am still honored to be your friend. “ Fight On!!

 

You see, on our usual college days, Stayce was dressed like the rest of us, civilian students. We frequently attended social and sporting events on campus. She wore jeans, sweatshirts, bell-bottom pants, leggings, mini skirts, and boots. She even had her fashionable ” Farrah Fawcett hair style too!

Pam , Cynthia and Stayce  at USC Homecoming

 

USC Rally in San Francisco before the USC vs. Cal Game    (Stayce, Susan,  Susan’s little sister Jeni , Sandra and Sharon)

 

Stayce was an all-inclusive student. She was involved in all aspects of student life. She also pledged the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. At our campus parties, she often was spotted on the dance floor. Yes, we danced at parties back in the day. She was also quite the dancer— and just as good as the Soul Train Dancers. She effortlessly was able to do the various dances i.e. the worm, the point, or the cowboy!! She was always in the mix with the crowd. Stayce was unassuming. She was a mentor and friend to all.

Image by Colourbox

As women in the engineering department, we were rare commodities. A woman in the ROTC was a surprising yet beautiful sight to see. She was committed from an early age. She was “Daddy’s girl”… She said:

“I was born in Los Angeles. My father was career enlisted in the Air Force, so I grew up as a military brat. Basically, I’ve been serving ever since I was born. In my mind, all I wanted to do is grow up to be just like him. When I was 8 years old, I’d watch my dad go to work every day in a light blue shirt and dark blue pants, but I didn’t have a clue about his actual job in the Air Force. All I knew is that every two years, we’d move to another exotic location. And that’s what I enjoyed — the ability to travel the world. It wasn’t until I entered high school and started taking Junior ROTC that I knew I had the propensity to serve and wanted to be an airman.”

Fast forward. We graduated and remained in contact. Following are a few of her humble accomplishments. She has always been passionate about her goals and mission in life. She kept her eyes on the prize.

She did the following without fanfare or accolades:

  • B.S. Industrial Engineering USC
  • Masters of Aviation Management
  • Flew C-141 Cargo planes
  • United Airlines Pilot
  • Wing Commander
  • Major General US Air Force
  • Lieutenant General US Air Force
  • Friend and Mentor to Many

 

As she graced the stage during her acceptance speech, she compared her love for her two families – USC and the US Air Force. She paid homage to her #1 role model her father. She also committed and dedicated her excellence in service to the Tuskegee Airmen (the first black servicemen to serve as military aviators in the U.S. armed forces, flying with distinction during World War II.) A group of Tuskegee Airmen also came to celebrate Stayce. They too got a standing ovation. The remaining few are now in their 80’s and 90’s. It was another honor to be in their presence.

Tuskeegee Airmen Image by History.com

“The Tuskegee airmen were the first black servicemen to serve as military aviators in the U.S. armed forces, flying with distinction during World War II. Though subject to racial discrimination both at home and abroad, the 996 pilots and more than 15,000 ground personnel who served with the all-black units would be credited with some 15,500 combat sorties and earn over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements. The highly publicized successes of the Tuskegee Airmen helped pave the way for the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces under President Harry Truman in 1948. (http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/tuskegee-airmen)”

Stayce with two Tuskeegee Airmen and  USC Classmate Lloyd Mckinney

Tuskeegee Airmen April 19, 2017

When Stacey’s Dad passed away the Tuskegee Airmen came to her rescue. They adopted her as their daughter. They told her: “ It’s ok Baby. We are your Daddies now…”

Hearing this gave me chills…

“Daddy’s girl, Daddy’s girl.

I’m the center, of Daddy’s world.

I know I’m Daddy’s number one,

For he loves me like I was his son.

Daddy’s girl.”

 

****So please watch this short 3-minute video of Stacey as we honor all of her goodness. See who has a cameo in it…

 

Watch Lt. Gen Harris Acceptance Speech at the USC Viterbi 2017 Awards

 

Trojan’s military career took flight from the start

Justin loved Stayce. Every time she would visit she responded to him. She was patient with his endless questions. She also was genuinely interested in the things he liked to do. He took pride in showing her is artwork and his design projects. Whenever we would fly on United Airlines he would ask the stewardess: “ Who is the pilot? Is Ms. Stacey flying the plane? He was so proud of her. It was a blessing that we all got to witness her pinning by the Tuskegee Airmen in 2009.

2009 Las Vegas 2 Star Pinning Ceremony with the Tuskeegee Airman

Susan, Stayce & Darrell 2017

“The best piece of advice Harris remembers came from ABC anchor Robin Roberts.

“I always tell people to find your passion and follow your passion with all of your drives and abandon, but most importantly, realize that God’s delays are not his denials. I went to a Black Enterprise women’s summit one year and [Robin Roberts] was the speaker. When she said that, it just resonated with me so well and I have used it in almost every single speech that I’ve given ever since,” Harris said. “I always try to give her credit for it, but it really means that in pursuing your goals, there may be stumbling blocks. I call it turbulence because I’m a pilot. There’s turbulence out there, but those stumbling blocks, in my opinion, really serve as building blocks to get you where you want to go. So don’t be deterred if there are delays in you achieving your goal. I think you become stronger for it.”

https://theundefeated.com/features/meet-stayce-harris-the-first-black-woman-to-become-an-air-force-lieutenant-general/

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero,

And everything I would like to be?

I can fly higher than an eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings…” Bette Midler

Well, all of this is confirmation of how one can have an extended family. I met most of my cherished friends today at USC. They came to the rescue when we needed them the most 4 years ago. My CIA agents (my best girls) all got their training through our forged friendships developed at USC.

 

Stayce and her USC gal pals

 

I have learned how sharing my life stories as I have emerged from this cocoon are the driving forces behind whom I have already started to become during this difficult journey from my chrysalis—a catalyst moving me toward finding my voice, and my wings, once again.

Justin, my butterfly,  is now the wind beneath my wings.

 

Congratulations LIEUTENANT GENERAL STAYCE D. HARRIS   You are our “Shero”. You can fly higher than an eagle with your Daddy as your constant wind beneath your wings.

 

Stayce my USC sister, keep flying high!!  I will try too!

Fight On!

P.S. William Wang another USC Alumnus was also honored that night. He was an immigrant student from China.  He attended USC as an Electrical Engineering student. He got his firs F grade ever in life in his EE 105 class. He did not know how to break the news to his mother.  He told her the F stood for FIGHT ON!! He said he failed the class 3 times, had a 2.4 GPA and he later launched VIZIO HDTV’s. As he mentioned you can get one at a Costco near you!!!

Justin building a House for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans 2012

Ceeds of Peace:Something So Strong Inside

Something so strong inside…

I first got wind of this incredible song “ Something So Strong Inside…” after our Producer, Joanne Morris introduced me to Pastor Kelvin Sauls and his famous church Holman United Methodist Church (HUMC). We were seeking a venue to host our annual JCWWP event. Joanne poignantly set the stage and introduced Justin Carr. His story resonated so deeply with Pastor Sauls.

At the completion of the meeting, I asked Pastor Sauls if he wanted any young members in his community to participate in our program? He thought for a second. He said yes! He then pulled up this song on the internet: “ Something So Strong inside”. He said we could get students from the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School to sing the song. As we watched the video, the words and music silenced us and brought tears to our eyes. We are grateful of the bond that has now been formed between JCWWP and HUMC.

Alas, our event was named! “ The Ceeds of Peace: Something so strong inside.” It was held on February 25, 2017.

Kcal 9 News interview before the event:

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/3623602-benefit-honors-teen-who-died-suddenly-of-heart-condition/

Our guest speaker Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng is the Co-Founder of the Ceeds of Peace (COP) Organization. COP encourages everyone to teach children the Ceeds (Compassion, Courage, Collaboration, Community, Critical Thinking and Conflict Resolution). COP instills the importance of having a 360-degree approach to raising children and how imperative it is to include parents, teachers, children and the community in the process. Darrell and I are satisfied that we actually raised Justin with the “Ceeds”

You have to listen to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcKoYGNj0BU

and read the following powerful words:

Something So Strong Inside

The higher you build your barriers

The taller I become

The further you take my rights away

The faster I will run

You can deny me, you can decide

To turn your face away

No matter ’cause there’s

Something inside so strong

I know that I can make it

Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong

You thought that my pride was gone, oh no

There’s something inside so strong

Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

The more you refuse to hear my voice (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)

The louder I will sing

You hide behind walls of Jericho (ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh ooh-weh)

Your lies will come tumbling

Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine

My light will shine so brightly it will blind you

Because there’s

Something inside so strong

I know that I can make it

Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong

You thought that my pride was gone, oh no

There’s something inside so strong

Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

Brothers and sisters, when they insist we’re just not good enough

Well we know better, just look him in his eyes and say

We’re gonna do it anyway, we’re gonna do it anyway

We’re gonna do it anyway, we’re gonna do it anyway

Because there’s

Something inside so strong

I know that I can make it

Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong

You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no

There’s something inside so strong

Something inside so strong

I know that I can make it

Though you’re doing me wrong, so wrong

You thought that my pride was gone, oh no, oh no

There’s something inside so strong

Oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

(Oh oh oh) oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

Oh oh-oh-oh-oh, something inside so strong

Writer: LABI SIFFRE Copyright: Lyrics © Universal Music

CBS 2 News just aired a segment of their interview with Maya.

Pat Harvey and Producer Ray Bell got a chance to meet this wonderful peace builder.

Click on the link below to see the interviewed that aired today on CBS2 LA.

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/video/category/news/3636360-half-sister-of-barack-obama-touts-message-of-nonviolence/

Maya graced our program with her words of intellectual and spiritual wisdom. She shared her thoughts on how to be peace builders. She said: “Justin was a transformative leader, she learned about grassroots community organizing from her brother and her mother taught them how to be intellectually and emotionally brave.”

Her book “ Ladder to the Moon” was inspired by the legacy of her own Mother, Ann Dunham. It is a magical tale that sings with the love that bonds a family together through generations. The artwork reminds us that loved ones lost are always with us and that sometimes we need only to look at the moon and remember.”

This is what Maya said about Justin’s Art:

Art is Eternal…It lasts forever!!

“Happy to See the Sun Come Up, Happy to See the Sun Go Down”

She also said that it is important to remember those who have passed. Their spirits linger and impact us greatly and move us.”

We will bravely remember Justin every day- it’s just something so strong inside…

Angie Daves Moving to the Beat of JCWWP

THE EVENT & THE FOUNDATION

1). Sister station CBS2 did an Emmy-winning news story on Justin in 2013, when the Foundation was first established, this is also a follow-up to that piece on where they are 4 years later — now holding the benefit in a nearly 1,000 seat historic church with President Obama’s sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng as the keynote speaker.

2). The Foundation was established in 2013 by Susan and Darrell Carr, when their only child and son, Justin, died from an undetected heart ailment, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), while in swim practice for his Harvard-Westlake Swim Team, and now supports at-risk/under-served youth in the arts & tutoring programs, and enrichment scholarships, as well as an HCM/heart awareness campaign.

FEBRUARY – BLACK HISTORY MONTH CONNECTION

February is Black History Month, and this one special benefit next Saturday connects 3 historic milestones:

1). It takes place at Holman United Methodist Church, only 1 of two churches in Los Angeles that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke at only weeks before his fateful trip to Memphis in 1968

2). Holman UMC is also the church home of civil rights legend, Rev. James Lawson, known as the architect of the non-violence protest training for the civil rights movement. Actor-activist, Jesse Williams, depicted him in the award-winning film The Butler.

3). The keynote speaker is peace advocate, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng of the acclaimed Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, she is also the sister of 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the 44th President of the U.S. Barack Obama, also the nation’s first Black president.

FEBRUARY – HEART HEALTH MONTH CONNECTION

Because Justin died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), another large part of the Foundation’s work is their awareness campaign for youth that may be suffering from HCM and isn’t aware.

“Just One Little Thing On this Day of Remembrance

 

JUST ONE LITTLE THING: ON THIS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE

During the aftermath of the unimaginable loss of losing our only child—Justin, a very dear friend Lynette, sent me a link to a story titled: How Grieving With Gratitude Changed Everything” from Maria Shriver’s blog: “Architecture of Change”. Reading it changed me… I quickly learned about Kelly Buckley and her movement: “ Just One Little Thing” (JOLT). I read about her unfathomable loss when her son Stephen died unexpectedly.   Despite this horrific loss, Kelly was still able to survive in the midst of misery. She found the lit candle in a room filled with darkness. Kelly has taught me (as I tuck away the pain everywhere I go, this companion and oxygen) how to “grieve with gratitude” and how to look for JOLT blessings every single day. For this, I am forever grateful.

“Just One Little Thing: Finding A Happy Life In An Imperfect World, One Moment At A Time”

The infinite trauma that Darrell and I  have endured has recently catapulted me to a higher understanding of how I am going to live my life in the days and years to come. I can’t imagine living this new life as anyone other than a determined, loving, and accepting mother as it is in sharing my story that I  have emerged with the reborn driving force behind whom I have already started to become. Also, even stronger than my own belief in myself, I have come to experience an indescribable “knowing” within my soul that I have many companions during this difficult journey from my chrysalis – a catalyst moving me toward finding my voice, and my wings, once again.

Justin’s 2nd Grade Butterfly Report Pictures drawn by Justin

Over these past 4 years I have become stronger, braver, more courageous, humble and very grateful. And I know that I am strong enough to take the first steps, brave enough to speak for those who can’t, courageous enough to take a leap of faith during this pivotal moment in my life, humble enough to say a sincere thanks to those for reinforcing my transformational journey by allowing me a chance for discovery of life beyond tragedy, and finding my voice through words so I can help others find theirs.

I will always be Justin’s Mom and Darrell will always be Justin’s Dad. Justin is the gift that keeps on giving.  We miss him every day and we will love and honor him forever with love.

I Gift from Felicia

Darrell & Susan at the American Heart Stroke Ball
Disney Concert Hall

 

Justin’s work in Kindergarten

Art, Heart, and Peace for Justin 2016

 

As 2016 comes to an end, we are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support and blessings that have kept us moving in the right direction and allowed the Justin Carr Wants World Peace (JCWWP) Foundation to follow Justin’s leads and support his dreams. Every picture on the front and back covers of this card tells a story of treasures uncovered, opportunities delivered and hope for better days ahead in our unpredictable and unstable world. Also worth sharing are a few notable responses that we received from Susan’s blog posts, JCWWP events, or from Justin’s many friends who reached out with their powerful words— once again revealing the ripples that continue to grow even wider from the impact of Justin’s gifts, life and legacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The JCWWP “Dare 2 Dream” Saturday program continues to provide invaluable math tutoring and visual and performing arts workshops for underserved elementary students. Art activities included some of Justin’s favorite projects i.e. designing masks out of palm fronds, (a symbol of victory, triumph, peace and eternal life), self-portraits, drawing to music and learning a choreographed dance routine.

 

 

 

 

 

On one occasion, Darrell witnessed an ecstatic girl running into the room clapping her hands and yelling:
“Goody, Justin Carr is here today!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
♡ S.A.F.E. did heart screening in honor of Justin. They extended the gift of life to three-dozen anxious students and their unassuming families who showed up to be tested. They used Cardea Screen—a new portable, hand-held ECG device developed for a 16-second screening of young athletes’ hearts. Physicians can quickly and accurately identify abnormal cardiac conditions that may lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or other quality of life limiting conditions. We were surprised when 13% of the test results revealed red flags. This meant that it was imperative for the parents to stop their children them from doing any exercise until further cardiology evaluation.

Jonathan and Laurel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Unfortunately sometimes blessings are birthed from tragedies. Your tragedy has given way to heart testing that Justin wasn’t afforded but is happy that in his honor, it is available to others.” Anonymous

 

 

 


For those who missed the JCWWP Martin Luther King Musical Tribute in February, this response sums it up:
“It was an extraordinary day! The butterfly release reminds us your baby has changed form but is still with you. And what an amazing soul he has to have the power to send you so many messages of his presence and your openness to receive his signals. I know nothing can take away the pain, but the way you and Darrell have taken your pain to help others is inspiring – the scholarship recipient who played the violin was wonderful! And the presentation by Freedom Rider, Helen Singleton, stirred my soul with the unbelievable JCWWP singers. Such talent! A wonderful day in celebration of your wonderful family.” Caroline S.

In the fall, we had the honor of speaking at the “Ceeds of Peace” conference in Hawaii. Their foundation http://www.ceedsofpeace.com/ is based on a 360º approach to raising peace-building leaders by building bridges between families, community leaders and educators and sharing resources, strengthening communities and improving our children’s lives. When you think about it, these are the things that really should matter. We spoke about how we raised Justin with those “Ceeds “of Compassion, Commitment, Courage, Conflict Resolution, Critical Thinking, Community, and Collaboration. We realized that we did a pretty good job raising Justin. Fortunately, we taught him all the “Ceeds” and implanted them in him as we cultivated and nurtured him. As we think back, nothing was ever easy and we did not always have glorious days if you know what we mean. But, the critical and important values transferred.

Ceeds of Peace 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The most beautiful part of Justin lives on—his heart, his values, the connections he created. If everyone shared those values (“Ceeds“) there would be no war, no murders so much less suffering. But it is in suffering that we grow the most, learn wisdom and find our purpose through our sons! “
Scarlett Lewis (Mom of 6-year-old Jesse—a Sandy Hook Elementary School victim)

 

 

Remembering Justin…

  •  “I remember being in kindergarten and summer camp with Justin, and I will never forget his sunny disposition or his caring heart. I don’t know why tragedies like this one happen to the best people in the world.

Love, Janna”  (Justin’s Kindergarten Classmate)

  •  “The week Justin passed was actually the same week I decided to get help. It made me realize how important we all are to one another and I realized that ending my life instead of turning it around and nurturing it is NOT the answer. Learning about Justin’s life made me really understand that I have one life to live and so much I can do for the world and for others and even for myself.”    (Justin’s good friend)
  •  “I realized that I can potentially impact any community by sharing my narrative with others so that we can establish connections and learn and grow from our shared experiences. I think this was also, for Justin, the most important thing in life—creating connections and relationships with others. Both of us created these dynamic relationships with people in other ways as well, one way is just by being a good friend.”    (Maya M. JCWWP 2016 Scholarship Recipient)
  • Hi Uncle and Auntie,

Attached you’ll find a photo of me and the JCWWP tag at the top of Machu Picchu. In this life, you carry on the burden of the unfulfilled dreams of those loved ones you’ve lost, simply hoping that you can live a life big enough for not only yourself but for their souls as well. Here’s to Justin!

I love you guys,

Mackenzie ( Justin’s Godsister)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • “There is no measurement between your hearts and the memories of Justin. We rise in death. We ascend. We float as purely and sweetly as the rare blue butterfly lingering on a camellia tree.”

Valerie M. (A wise Friend)

Happy Birthday Justin 2016

As I glance at the artwork on my office wall I think of the young man who keeps inspiring us all
World Peace is what he asked and wished for at the age of four
Not a toy or a game from the store
He waltzed through life with effortless joy
As he grew to be a giant in many ways from such a little baby boy

The detail of his work is truly evident with each and every stroke of his brush
And he did it all with without making a hush
Unmatched talent was displayed in everything he did
And we are so fortunate it has been shared and not hid
What an immense impact he has had from the start
And we can always see him through his immeasurable art
Happy Birthday Justin as we celebrate your excellence and your special day
And your wish will come true for that we all pray
Love Uncle Greg
9/13/2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Peace & Love,

Darrell and Susan Carr
Visit the website, make a donation . Donations accepted all year.

http://www.justincarrwantsworldpeace.org/tax-deductible-donations.html

Read Susan’s blog if you missed some of the 50 plus true stories

http://www.justincarrwantsworldpeace.org/wordpress/

or visit the website to get scholarship info and updates.

http://www.justincarrwantsworldpeace.org/

 

SAVE THE DATE: FEBRUARY 25, 2017 FOR THE JCWWP ANNUAL EVENT