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Making sense out of my personal March Madness

God Said Tell You

Photo caption: Vernon A. Williams

Living your best life, is grooving in your own space at your own pace. What might seem an exhausting grind for some is routine for others. We are all better off marching to the cadence of our different drummers and living in a way that comes most naturally to us as individuals. This lesson was driven home to me over the past month. Allow me to share.

For most, March Madness is a phrase reserved for the most exciting sports tournament on the planet, the showdown between 64 men’s college basketball teams that culminates with a place in the coveted Final Four and championship. This year did not disappoint with upset after upset keeping hoops’ faithful enthralled.

Exciting as the tournament was, on a personal note, I have a ‘take’ on March Madness that actually bears comparison. As I reflect, I can’t remember having a busier 31 days than March 2023. It was one of those months I was so busy that it takes this kind of reflection to put it into perspective.

Here was MY version of March Madness:

It started with the first Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists “Meet the Media Night” event in four years. The pandemic shut down the organization for three years. With the dubious distinction of being elected president after a few years of stagnation, it became my responsibility to help spearhead the rebound.

The media night was important because it is the signature fundraising activity of IABJ, which enables this nonprofit group of media professionals an opportunity to dole out scholarships to prospective journalists. It matters. Thank God we had a full house on March 7 and raised thousands of dollars for scholars.

That weekend, as writer and producer of the play, “The Price of Progress: The Indiana Avenue/IUPUI Story,” it was an honor to stage the production at the University of Evansville on March 11. The house was packed for the annual “Spirit of History” gala hosted by the Evansville African American Museum.

Three days later, it was a thrill for me to present excerpts from my book, “God Said Tell You…” to the prestigious Book Lovers Club of Gary. Invited by my sister Jenette Hodges, who is a member, the animated conversation with this distinguished group of literary, retired educators was invigorating.

Back in Indy a few days later, members of the Black theater community convened for an inaugural reveal of a new Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) festival inspired by the success of OnyxFest, the state’s first and only stage festival exclusively featuring works of Black playwrights.

Two days later, it was a joy to help convene the Africana Repertory Theatre of IUPUI’s (ARTI) first ever Advisory Council meeting, a seminal moment for the five-year old organization that was distinguished as one of the only sustainable sponsors of live theater throughout a pandemic period that shut down Broadway.

Arguably saving the best of my personal March Madness for last, it was a humbling honor to be invited to serve as keynote speaker for my Gary Roosevelt High School Class of 1969 annual Prayer Breakfast on March 25 at the Chateau Banquet Hall in Merrillville. The event sold out and my message was, “Living Your Best Life!”

The Lord led me to urge my dear friends, classmates, relatives and associates to let God order their steps. Sometimes that may bring a more hectic pace, at other times it may overcome you with the will to “chill” and just go wherever you find personal peace. As long as you walk in obedience, you won’t stray off your designated path.

At the end of day, it wasn’t about me. My interactions during the month were all opportunities to touch people. I give God all the praise and all the glory for navigating my “March Madness” and pray some impact was made on others along the way. If my experiences blessed anyone else in any way, then it was all worthwhile.

Vernon A. Williams
Vernon A. Williams

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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