Community Voices: The quest for continual societal improvement

For me, the answer to solving our racial and cultural differences and issues is a fairly simple proposition. However, one's ability to do so requires a desire to want an improvement for their situation or for themselves.

The first step forward, as opposed to maintaining one's present status quo, is to believe that there is a problem or that there is potential for improvement.

You can determine if there is a problem or state of difference by honestly asking yourself: Is everyone treated like me in my life scenarios? 

If you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to that question, we must then assume that there is not a problem -- or that you cannot put yourself in a position to see the landscape of life beyond yourself.

If you believe that there truly are gains to be made, you will find a way to gain a level of empathy.

To do so, one needs only to engage in conversation with a person or persons adversely affected. Both participants must understand each other’s motives and look upon the intended dialog as an opportunity to strive to gain total understanding. In doing so, both parties must be able to listen and hear each other's truths, which may be in conflict with their own.

Once one is convinced that there are opportunities for improvement, they need to continually listen, dialog, and act on their dialog while sharing their feelings, questions, and concerns with a person of trust.

Life is not a static event and the quest to keep up and improve is continual.

This opinion column was written by Stanley Gray, a South Tampa businessman and U.S. Marine, who helps lead the Urban League of Hillsborough County. The Urban League's mission is to bring about and assist with the attainment of economic equity for the African American and Minority communities of Hillsborough County through direct, collaborative, and Hands Up means and programs.