By Hedi Rudd

Goodman Community Center held the Ready 4 Change Social Justice
Conference for youth ages 13-20, at the center’s campus on April 26,
which was also a no school day for Madison public schools.  The event
kicked off with a performance from Drum Power.

The event was a pairing of hip-hop and African culture as it sought to
bring the youth a sense of their cultural roots and strengths. Local hip-hop
artist K Sankofa performed to youth excited by his positive storytelling of
his life experience and religious message.

Community organizer and activist Brandi Grayson spoke directly to the
youth, sharing a quote from Carter G. Woodson’s the Miseducation of the

“If you can control a man's thinking, you do not have to worry about his
action. When you determine what a man shall think, you do not have to
concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is
inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he
will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast,
you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being
told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.”

Grayson explained, “If someone controls your thinking and tells you that
your future will look like drugs and jail and they can get you to think that
and believe that, guess what…. you will be that.”

“If I got you thinking that you’re not smart enough to do well in school, I
don’t have to order you to skip class because you will do that on your
own. If I convince you that math is too hard and algebra is not your thing
and not applicable to your life or your future, then I don’t have to do
anything about you going to math class and being successful because
guess what, you are not going to go because you were conditioned to
thinking you are incapable of success.”

“I use this quote because we don’t talk enough with our youth about the
context of our existence. About social programming, social engineering,
social systems or political systems. Things we interact with every single
day. That context is white supremacy, patriarchal capitalism.”

The youth and Grayson explored those issues and their meanings before
they headed out to workshops. The theme of hip-hop and the exploration of
African roots continued and provided a moment to celebrate and embrace
cultural expressions in a fun and informative setting.

Workshops included Krumping, Warrior Face Painting, Hip Hop Trivia,
Ready 4 Change Social Justice Conference
Infusing Positive Thinking

African Queen Head Wraps, Drumming and Making Beats.

A delicious lunch was provided by members of the Africa Club and include a variety of rice, couscous and tasty
meats including chicken and beef.

The fun then moved from the Brassworks building to the gym, where the Social Justice Song competition and
dance battles were held. The winner of the $500 prize for his song, which spoke to the work of Dr. King, was
Isaiah Phillips.

Event Organizer Arthur Richardson could feel good that some lives were changed that day.