Real Talk with Judge Dawson

Real Talk with Judge Dawson Week of June 18, 2014

When are we going to stop hustling?

At the East Cleveland Municipal Court we are Cycle Breakers. To define what a “Cycle Breaker” is I have been breaking down the elements and strategies of how to live your best life, avoid negative interaction with the legal system and become cycle breakers. Part of the process is recognizing cycles in your life, your family or community that must be broken. A cycle that we must break is the “Hustle Mentality.” It was during one of my life skills workshops at the East Cleveland Public Library where I informed the men and women that I developed a workshop to help people get out of the negative hustle mentality. The negative hustle mentally includes selling drugs, stealing, boosting as well as all other activities that have the possibility of a jail sentence. The challenge is that many people wear the hustle mentality as a badge of honor. People walk around and proclaim with pride, “I’m a hustler.” I understand that not all hustling is bad. For instance, if you are working two jobs to take care of your family, that is not a bad hustle. If you are going to school while taking care of your family, that is not a bad hustle. However, when your focus on hustling causes you to cross the line of illegal activity, that is bad or negative hustling. So what is the answer to getting people to think above the hustle mentality? Next week I will give the tools when I present: Hustle Rehab, “How to turn your hood swag into good swag!” The workshop will take place at the East Cleveland Public Library on June 23, 2014 at 5pm.
Part of getting out of the hustle mentality is to change the definition of what’s cool. That’s why my title includes the term “Swag.” If you don’t know, “Swag” is the current day “cool.” Everyone wants to have it, but they don’t see how “Swag” can limit their possibilities. I will address how to be cool and employable at the same time. I see men and women in my court who are stuck in the hustle mentality cycle. I spoke to a childhood friend who, despite his wife having a good job, is always starting a new hustle, many of which are on the boarder of illegal. This is a prime example of being caught in the hustle mentality. Even though he doesn’t have a financial hardship to make him “have to hustle,” he continues the activity. Another example is a person who sells drugs. When people in our community enter the drug game at a young age they cut off other possibilities of employment and legal careers. They go full steam ahead selling drugs and then find themselves in a head on collision with the legal system. The old saying is worth repeating, when you sell drugs the road leads to death or jail.
Why should you attend the “Hustle Rehab” workshop? The answer is simple, illegal hustling is bad for the future, all of our futures. In order to enrich our community, come hear the pitfall of, and learn the tools to break, the hustle mentality. It’s all about advancement and moving to the next level. Instead of excepting jail as the destiny, instead of living below your best potential lets transform our lives into being Cycle Breakers! For more discussion on this subject or others, join Judge Dawson’s Cycle Breaker/Finish First program on June 23, 2014 at the East Cleveland Municipal Court at 5pm. East Cleveland Municipal Court’s Judge William L. Dawson is on a mission to help people to Finish First, live their best lives and be Cycle Breakers!
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