We can no longer make the mistake of letting our efforts lose
efficiency because our leaders are no longer able to do
efficient work. We, Black people, must start thinking more
critically about the strategies and tactics that will carry us into
a more elevated and conscious space. If we are not preparing
those after us to become powerful, well-equipped and
assertive leaders then we are setting them up to fight the
same battles we are fighting today.
Cheryl Morrow, SDMnews Publisher, wants to use this platform
as a space to lead by example. In this insightful dialogue,
Tamiel Mckee Bey, SDMnews Editor – in – Chief clarifies why
we must let the leaders of tomorrow LEAD!
Conversations with Tamiel McKee Bey
SDM: What experiences in your life called you to lead?
TMB: My first inclination to lead came from being a caretaker
at a very young age. I am my mother’s eldest child and
growing up it was only us- my mom, my two brothers and
myself. I helped my mother raise our family, and that called
for me to take on certain responsibilities at a very early age.
Those responsibilities conditioned me to take initiative
naturally. I believe that is one of the great qualities of being a
SDM: What other qualities do you believe a strong leader
TMB: I believe strong leaders are firm but gentle. I say that
because it takes a firm person to push you to challenge yourself,
to hold you accountable and not submit to your ego or you
wanting to remain comfortable in a stagnant place. Great leaders
inspire others to become great leaders, not because they are
forceful tyrants but because they are open, vulnerable and
assertive. Great leaders exude confidence and that makes other
people want to be great, it really does.
I believe another great quality is the ability to be honest with
oneself. Sometimes being in leadership positions can create a
defense that makes people feel like leaders are not receptive to
feedback or criticism on how they can be better leaders. When
we create space to be honest with ourselves were recognizing
that there is always room to grow and become a stronger more
SDM: That is a very powerful response. Why do you believe it is
important for great leaders to inspire others to become great
TMB: The movement, the work, everything that is being
cultivated today cannot be done by one person. It never has. If
we are going to make real progress, we must make real
adjustments in our approach to leadership. We do not have to
put one person in a position to carry our whole community on
their back. We are all able, and we will all lead.
Also I think for a long time I felt like because
I was dedicated to change or influencing some type of change
in my community that I would eventually have to risk my life
fighting for freedom. I do not want anyone in our community
to feel like we must die to be free. We can live and be free.
When we put all that responsibility on one person, or at least
create that illusion, then it steers people away from doing the
work that they are very well capable of doing without that kind
SDM: I like that you brought up sacrifice, what kind of sacrifices
do you believe are necessary for us to make space for the next
generation of leaders to lead?
TMB: I want to say it as simple as asking the current generation
of leaders to take initiative, develop relationships with the next
generation, ensure that we are all functioning in alignment
with each other. If we were in a different place spiritually,
physically and emotionally we probably could achieve that type
of collaboration and cooperation. I believe we are deeply hurt
as a people; we need some deep healing and that influences
how we see our lives moving forward.
The greatest sacrifice that needs to be made is our need to feel
validated by anything other than ourselves. I feel like we want
the world to tell us sorry or that we matter, the problem is that
we do not understand that we are already validated in our own
existence. In just being who we are.
When we relieve ourselves of this idea that
we need to get to a certain place or obtain a certain amount of
things to have value, then can we truly understand why it’s
important to let everyone play their role. It will become natural.
SDM: Interesting, very thoughtful response. Speaking of spiritual
well-being or collective alignment, what does it feel like to be around other leaders who practice leadership from a value-
TMB: It makes you feel in alignment with something greater than
yourself. Something that I cherish most is my ability to be just as
comfortable in a room full of elders as I am in a room full of my
friends or mentees. I want there to be a common ground
between us, even is we think differently. I always appreciate the
diverse opinions because it really does enhance our thinking and
conversations around our lives.
Leaders who practice leadership from a value-centered space
are consistent. Not predictable but you know that they have a
firm foundation from which they make their decisions and it
provides you a sense of security. I like trusting people on my
team to make decisions with their own judgement. Being around
leaders who have values helps you stay grounded in your work
no matter what frustrations or challenges may arise.
Additionally, these leaders recognize when its time to fallback
and follow. That is a quality that is comes from a certain inner
peace and contentedness.
The San Diego Monitor-News has been serving Black San Diego since 1986