John Hope Bryant

Today I received comments suggesting (asking) that I appear on the morning talk shows, all of which appear to be focused on the Trayvon Martin tragedy, and the associated Zimmerman trial.

It dawned on me that I had not said much about this crisis, publicly, and that maybe I should. What I have to say is that this is a tragedy for Trayvon's family, and a son they will never get a chance to see grow up into a man; to accomplish things, to grow out of his youth and youthful ways. A young man who will never be able to fulfill his God-given potential on this earth, and to make a contribution to society. A young man whose life was senselessly cut short before his time. For this I grieve for his family, and send them my love, respect and my prayers. I also grieve for Trayvon himself.

Trayvon reminds me of my best friend growing up in Compton, California, whose name was George. George, who was 18 when I was 10, was my childhood role model, and my best friend. He got excellent grades, while I got average ones. I wanted to be just like George. I admired George. Unfortunately, George did not admire himself enough, didn't value his amazing straight A grades, as much as I and others did. George did not have the benefit of the role models that I did either growing up.

So while I started a business when I was 10 (the Neighborhood Candy House chronicled in my book Love Leadership: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World), George started hanging out with all the wrong people, and doing a lot of the wrong things. But make no mistake about it, George was smarter than me growing up, and I am sure would have done great things — had his life not been cut short at 18 years of age.

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