SuperSpade Speechwriting: Impacting the Present One at a Time, v0.5

Thank you for your input on the subject of this speech on Family and Impacting the Present. Now, as promised, here is a draft of my outline/talking points.

I. Intro
  a. Why do we have reunions?
    i. Reunions Magazine: Purposes of Reunions
      1. 57% to keep in touch
      2. 28% to teach kids about family heritage
      3. Other reasons: Get together before an elder passes on, Mark special birthday, holiday, or other occasion
  b. How do they start?
    i. Innocent comments, like “We should celebrate more often.”
    ii. Any other positive action starts the same way…
  c. Acknowledgments & Thank You’s
  d. The Point
    i. Ephesians 4.4-6: There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
    ii. Impact the present ‘one at a time.’ One person. One family. One vision. One dream. One thought. One purpose. One action.

II. Content
  a. Helen Keller paraphrase: “To keep our faces toward change… is strength undefeatable.” (Thanks Raye!)
    i. There exists at all times (especially the present) the opportunity to effect positive change in your own personal situation and in the lives of others…
      1. Everybody can benefit somebody…
      2. I can help people while being helped; don’t think you have to wait “until you’re ready…”
    ii. As we focus on change, we can find strength in numbers. One can become many.
      1. 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…
      2. Basic Shared struggles
        a. Personal examples
          i. Finding my purpose
          ii. Managing relationships
            1. Familial
            2. Friendships
            3. Romantic interactions
          iii.Managing time
            1. Giving everyone the time they need/deserve
            2. Getting ‘Me’ Time
            3. Work-Life Balance
        b. Ask the audience
      3. More complex shared struggles
        a. Money
          i. Lack thereof
          ii. Not knowing what to do with it
        b. Jobs
          i. Unemployment
          ii. Underemployment
        c. Politics
          i. Not caring
          ii. Not understanding on a personal, practical level
    iii. I believe that in the midst of interested people with one vision that care for the well-being of all, solutions can be reached. Well, what’s a more interested party than the family!?!?!? (Thanks Anon!)
      1. We can play the role of encouragers and mentors to family members and strangers alike…
      2. We are blessed to be such a strong, close-knit family…
      3. Let this family impact the present in a positive way and be an example of what one family united with one vision can do…
  b. Old African proverb – “It takes a village to raise a child”
    i. The family can and should be the beginning of that village
    ii. Family is important in making sure that a child is prepared to live in the future…
      1. Two types of family: Related by Blood vs. Related by Choice
        a. Blood
          i. What most think of when they say family
          ii. The easy one to define…
        b. Choice
          i. “Friends are your chosen family.”
          ii. Important to me as an only child…
      2. Both are necessary for future generational success.
        a. We can strengthen both at the same time…
          i. Be a father and a mentor to someone who is not your son or daughter
          ii. Be an auntie and a friend to the young man/woman you work with
        b. We are valuable and dynamic people, who can do more than one thing at once and more than one thing well. One person can affect many people in a positive way.
      3. What are we doing to prepare the Jackson family and our collective Black family for the future?
        a. “Strengthening Black Families today in order to get them ready for tomorrow…”
  c. When we fall we have to get back up – losing today does not guarantee losing tomorrow.
    i. There has been a lot in the news lately about the terrible state of the Black family and the seemingly too-far-gone-to-salvage state of the Black man
    ii. We have many examples in this family from the past and the present that buck this trend
      1. (List of names omitted)…
    iii.Those of us today have a responsibility to change the state of the Black man one mentee at a time. We have a responsibility as a family to change the state of the Black family one family at a time

  a. Problems typically look worse than they actually are. If we are committed to working together as one, we can overcome any and everything that we encounter.
    i. 2 Timothy 1.7: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
    ii. Let’s remember our shared experiences and our shared interests in the future. We can use these to build a solid foundation that the future, which will be talked about by the next speaker, can be as positive as possible.
  b. This is bigger than the present. We need to use it to confront and conquer the problems of the past and lay foundation for the coming days. After all, today will be the past tomorrow. Every day, we can make tomorrow better, one day at a time, one action at a time, one person at a time.

Some pieces are more clearly fleshed out than others, but this is what we’ve got so far. I need help pretty much everywhere, but especially the conclusion.

I thank you all in advance for all of the criticism, suggestions, and encouragement you give me on these points.

One Love. One II.


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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.

2 responses to “SuperSpade Speechwriting: Impacting the Present One at a Time, v0.5”

  1. Anonymous says :


    When reading you wonderful draft I had the following thoughts – we are only as strong a family as our weakest link – supporting each other to reach our goals and acheive higher asperations. We can be the CEO, the principal, the owner of our own businesses. God does not give us the spirit of fear (name some fears – rejection, love, not living up to expectations of others, failling a class etc.) Also, I love the part about today’s failures not turning into a life time of failure (we fall down but we get up – and the family is there to help us up – with time, money (yes money), kindness, encouragement, and networking etc. Also I would like to hear a bit of humor, a joke, or a personal story to add more of yourself. (smile)
    Much Love

  2. Garlin II says :

    Thank you Anon.

    I purposely excluded the humor that I’ll add. That’s because that’s usually better when it comes off the top; I’m not much of a comedic writer (smile).

    As for the personal story, I plan to insert a bit about some of the things I’m doing and have done, but I don’t want to turn this into a resume recital. The personal allusions will likely be in part II.a.i, II.a.ii.2, and part II.b.ii.2, and possibly some others.

    Listing common fears is a great idea. I will add that to part III.a.i.

    Part II.b.ii.3 is the best place to add something about family supporting each other to reach our goals.

    I appreciate the feedback and input, and will include these updates in v0.6, which will be out later today. Thanks again!

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