19. Restoring the Honor to Michael Jackson's Name
I have made no secret of the fact that I believe Michael Jackson’s character was attacked purposely in order to ruin his reputation. The people who set out to do that succeeded, and there were many. They succeeded in attaching a stigma to his name, to the extent that it became a disgrace to be associated with him.
When it reached its peak, to say that you were a friend, fan or advocate of Michael Jackson brought snide remarks and laughter. Shame and humiliation are powerful emotions and people will go to great lengths to avoid them; hence the reason why many friends turned their backs on him during his 2005 trial, why many fans didn’t dare declare themselves to be so, and why the Gardner Street Elementary School disassociated themselves from him, by covering up his name on the auditorium that they renamed after him in 1989.
Following his arrest in 2003, the Los Angeles Unified School District made the decision to cover Michael Jackson’s name up, because angry parents in the community felt the effects of the stigma associated with him. Stephanie Brady, a school district spokesperson said, "If Jackson is exonerated, the school may decide to remove the plywood cover and show his name again to the world." Well, he was and they didn’t!
Parents who live in that community now could be very influential in the Campaign to get his name uncovered, because the school district serves them, but the motivation to do so will only come if they feel a sense of pride in having their school associated with him again.
After he passed away, more people were inclined to look at Michael through the eyes of love, because death has a way of opening our hearts. Once that happened, the truth of his real character started to emerge and the stigma began to reverse itself. You can see evidence of that all over. Fans are tweeting about him, writing about him, sharing things they love about him, fighting for justice for him, and working to keep his memory alive. His Facebook page alone has 20,000,000 people on it.
Yet, some fans are starting to pull away, because they say the negativity is too much for them to handle. I’ve even heard a few people say it’s time to move on with their life and let Michael go. The reason they are leaving is not because they don’t love him anymore, but because they don’t feel the love within the community anymore.
I have to admit, I have experienced some negative feelings myself lately; a result of things I’ve recently discovered that were exaggerated or flat out lied about, people who made false claims about their association with Michael, fans who said they did things that they never really did, and others’ who told stories of being affected in ways they never really were. It was disheartening for me to find out some of these things. What’s interesting is that for someone who said he could count the number of true friends he had on one hand, he sure has a lot who claim to be that now.
Within the MJ Community we have activists, humanitarians, and advocates, which are great; but I sometimes wonder if they are motivated by a desire to be activists for Michael, or if they are activists who found a cause to be motivated by? Likewise, was it important for some fans to carry on his humanitarian work, or was appearing to carry on his humanitarian work important, and does it really matter?
I think it does, because it’s imperative for us to continue to thrive as an empowered family; we’re not done yet, there is still work to do. We have a legacy to help shape, a reputation to help restore, justice still to pursue, and a portrait to complete; this all has to be done in a way that protects the integrity of his message, which was love.
If people are not here For the Love of MJ, then will they be caring enough to consider the importance of being a positive representative of him? Will they understand the significance it holds in being able to reverse some of the devastating effects of the character assassination he encountered.
The world is now watching the fan base of Michael Jackson to determine if it will carry with it the stigma associated with him in the past or if it will transform itself into an air of grace. We have the responsibility of restoring the honor to Michael’s name. The character of the fan base itself will be a strong factor in determining that.
Marianne Williamson said "Love in your mind produces love in your life." Backbiting, name calling, bashing his family and friends, and bullying, will create an air of disgrace that will inhibit the success of doing and getting justice for MJ.
When I found out some of the deceit that had taken place, love definitely wasn’t in my mind. I knew I had to try to come to terms with it so I could continue to be effective in my quest to do Michael justice. One thing he taught me that has really stuck with me is the idea that it’s always about love, and that’s the perspective I needed to see it from.
I know that since it’s becoming acceptable and even preferable to be associated with Michael Jackson again, that will encourage some people to exaggerate the truth about their association with him, or how deeply they were affected by him, or things they claim to have done because of him. To do so, garners positive attention from the rest of the community, which in reality is just a plea for love.
To get past the judgment that I was having of them, I had to embrace the fact that what those people are really looking for is love and I have to open my heart enough to give it to them. Isn’t that what we are all looking for after all? Michael understood that so well. That’s why he said "If you enter this world knowing you are loved, and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with."
Love is the fuel that this community needs in order to thrive. Staying connected to it will help us undo the stigma that some people feel is still attached to his name. When we’re connected to it, we will be strong and optimistic in pursuit of our purpose. When we’re disconnected from it, the purpose of the community fades. We can’t let that happen. Among the many other objectives we have, we’ve still got an auditorium to get uncovered!
To those fans who are thinking of leaving the MJ Community, I implore you to stick around because we’re about to show the world that:
"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!"
EXCITING UPDATE: It was announced today 10/15/10 by the Los Angeles Unified School District, that they have uncovered the Michael Jackson Auditorium at the Gardner Street School. This is very exciting news and a huge victory for all MJ fans. The MJTP would like to congratulate the entire team who worked tirelessly on this campaign for more than a year, as well as all the fans who wrote letters of support. Your commitment and dedication to Michael Jackson is truly an inspiration. We are very proud of you all.
To read the press release from the LAUSD click here.
To read the statement released from Taj Jackson on behalf of his grandmother, Katherine Jackson, click here.
Director of Community Development
© 2010, Linda Higgins, All Rights Reserved
If you would like to participate in the Uncover MJ's Name Campaign click here. Note: you do not have to live in California to make a difference in this initiative.
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