SuperSpade Speechwriting: Impacting the Present

I have been asked to give a speech at my family reunion this July 4th holiday on the subject of “Impacting the Present.” My aunt had the great idea of posting my talking points here on the site and inviting your input, suggestions, criticism, additions, etc. on the material. So that is precisely what I will do. I have not completed an initial draft of my points yet. I will put something together this week/weekend, and I’ll put that up when it’s complete. In the meantime, I welcome any thoughts you have on the subject of “Impacting the Present” and how collective action can make a difference (the collective being a family or any other group). I am excited to heart your input.

We are going to record the talk as it’s given. If I don’t think that the speech is wack or corny, I’ll post the audio and/or transcript here on the site. I’m sure with your help, it will turn out great!

One Love. One II.



About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

6 responses to “SuperSpade Speechwriting: Impacting the Present”

  1. Raye says :

    “To keep our faces toward change… is strength undefeatable.” Thought it might be something to think about.

  2. Garlin II says :

    Thanks Raye, that’s a great quote? Is that one of your own or did you get that from someone else? I’d like to cite whoever said it first if I decide to include it.

    To me, this could be the beginning of a section of the talk focusing on the fact that there exists at all times (including the present) the opportunity to effect positive change in your own personal situation and in the lives of others. As we focus on this change, we can find strength in numbers. Since many of us have the same challenges, we can face them together (as a family or some other collective) as opposed to alone. We all can become stronger if we keep this in mind.

    Thanks for the great suggestion!

  3. Raye says :

    I’m glad I could contribute. As far as attributing the original speaker, I believe Helen Keller was the person who first uttered that quote. The full quote is, “To keep our faces toward change, and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate, is strength undefeatable.” That is one of two quotes that I hold very close, the other being my 91-year-old grandfather’s: “Stronger the wind, stronger the trees dem.”

    I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Much love, God bless!

  4. Anonymous says :

    Hi Garlin,

    Family Reunions are so very special because they allow us to see the past, present, and the future of our family as we fellowship together not because of a death, marriage, baby shower etc. these events are focused on helping individual celebrations – but we come together because we have a common connection through blood – God chose us to be a part of each other – we choose our friends and marriage partners etc. but God gifts each one of us with an individual family that nutures, supports, and encourages us to do our best and if someone in the family does not comply they are still a part of this group and can always come back and say that’s my brother, sister, aunt, uncle, mother, father. Sort of like the prodiecal son in the Bible. (Smile)
    So stay connected and I look forward to seeing your talking points and hearing your speech after your reunion.

    Much Love and Enjoy your family.

  5. Garlin II says :

    Anon, thank you for your thoughts on this subject. I have counted myself blessed and fortunate that I have been able to attend a family reunion every year since our reunions (both my mother’s and father’s sides) began in the late 80s (yes, I forgot the exact year). I agree and believe that these meetings are important, even in cases where family members may not get along so peacefully. I’m a bit of a pacifist, and I believe that in the midst of interested people that care for the well-being of all sides of a conflict, a solution can be reached. Well, what’s a more interested party than the family!?!?!? It is my goal to use this talk to talk about my family (and us as a collective) not only impacting the present but using it to deal confront and conquer the problems of the past. After all, today will be the past tomorrow.

    I’m putting together the points now (they’ve clearly been delayed :-)). If the speech is cool, then I will definitely put it up! Thank you for the love and support of our site!

  6. Garlin II says :

    You can see my rough draft here.

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