Fake … but for whose sake?

F.A.K.E. is an acronym that stands for Forcing Actions while waiting for a Kairos Encounter.
My Kairos moment woke me up one night in 2015 when I started my cohort with Leadership Atlanta. I heard great things about Leadership Atlanta from great people. I was looking forward to expanding my network with more people that were fake like me and maybe, if I was lucky, with a few authentic folks.
It wouldn’t be surprising to encounter fakes. After all, “Fake it until you make it,” is a real mantra in Atlanta (which is my birth city) and particularly so for Black people.
Blacks who are upper middle class are perceived as acting White and disconnected from Blacks who are poor until, it’s time for black tie galas that raise money for the less fortunate.
My family comfortably sat in the middle class bubble and was considered as boujee before my Leadership Atlanta experience was complete.
I was fake in Atlanta because it’s easy to do. Furthermore, many leaders are not only unchecked on it but also are rewarded for it. I didn’t think about it, because there was no need to until my Kairos moment.
Kairos is a favorable moment for decision or action. 
I went into Leadership Atlanta struggling with three things in need of a Kairos moment without even realizing it:
1. I was never fully engaged with gays and lesbians;
2. I was never fully accepting of women being in a position of authority over me;
3. I thought more highly of myself as a non-profit leader than I was able to execute. 
No one ever challenged me on my shortcomings on these issues, so I never challenged myself to reconsider my stand. That changed with my participation in Leadership Atlanta.
Leadership Atlanta’s mission is to build a better community for everyone in the Atlanta region through education about the key issues facing the region. It seeks to inspire members and others to take on and exercise real leadership directed at serving the common good. In my case, it did more than that.
Leadership Atlanta deepened my convictions, helped me develop sound character, and caused authentic change in me.
My wife Kelli often says “everywhere you go, there you are.” Thanks to Leadership Atlanta, I was able to see myself everywhere I went, and I didn’t like what I saw. I was faking it. I needed someone to point that out to me. I needed to realize that instead of waiting for a Kairos moment to clarify things for me, I needed to live my life awake by focusing on the 3 Cs. 
– Feeling conviction
– Developing sound character
– Creating authentic change
In Atlanta, we need our nonprofit organizations, particularly those serving young people to focus on these 3 Cs as well.
Thousands of young people in Atlanta are struggling at the hands of mentors and coaches who need mentors and coaches themselves.

C.J. Stewart, CEO/Co-Founder of L.E.A.D., Inc.

Georgia has one non-profit charitable organization for every 361 people. It is ranked in the top 1/3 of most charitable states overall. Georgia’s charitable organizations are generous with both their money and volunteers.

Why, then, does Atlanta have so many problems with poverty and failed educational outcomes?
Why haven’t these problems been resolved?
It isn’t a lack of resources. It isn’t a lack of goodwill. It is time, however, to ask ourselves hard questions so we can create authentic change.
Rise Up Atlanta.

We need to address the problems in our city.  We have to do it without ignoring that our most vulnerable youth need leaders who have the courage of their convictions, possess sound character, and are willing to face their own shortcomings so they can generate authentic change. Who are those leaders? Where are they? Are you one of them? What three questions should our youth be asking their mentors to determine if they can effectively lead them or if they are just faking it?