As I watch the race for the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustee seat in District 9, I am enthralled (and disappointed) at the race between incumbent Bernadette Nuttal and her opponent, Damarcus Offord.
I’m drawn to this race in particular because Mr. Offord is taking a stance for what he believes in (something that I love to see in Young African American men). Damarcus is a man (not a boy) who wants to make an impact in his community and make a name for him. He has a goal, a mission, direction to do something positive in South Dallas and does not mind illuminating that to the mainstream; something that needs to be done to show that not all black men are negative contributors to society. This excites me because these are the precursors to a great leader, not just in his South Dallas community, but potentially in America.
His energy and enthusiasm, however, is over shattered by his naiveté. He lacks preparation in debates, knowledge in district matters (inside and out of District 9), and the ability to clearly articulate his ideas (an area where I feel WE failed him). It’s one thing to be a voice of an unheard population, but once you have the microphone, you need to be able to say something. That’s when prior proper studying, preparation, review, and counsel from mentors are very important.
I remember times in high school and college when my parents would either attend a performance or hear me speak at a function, my father (greatest critic) would say, “Matt, you need more seasoning.” This would frustrate me and irritate me until I realized of what he meant years later. He didn’t tell me to quit because I was no good, he just noticed I wasn’t at a point of proficiency and instructed me to increase my ceiling of learning so I can study more, refine, and improve on a product so it can be the best.
I like Damarcus Offord’s energy and enthusiasm to make an impact in his community. Those are characteristics that are needed to serve people. However, I feel that he needs more time to sharpen some skills in order to be a more effective leader. He needs people in his camp to push him academically as well as politically and civically. Like me after a performance in high school or college, Damarcus is doing the right things, he just needs to get better, and be willing to work on those skills. I’m willing to assist him with what he needs.