The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Commentary: Former Mr. A&M-San Antonio reflects on his journey

Commentary: Former Mr. A&M-San Antonio reflects on his journey - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

William Manning, Mr. Texas A&M-San Antonio 2016/17. Photo courtesy of TAMUSA Flickr.

My name is William Manning, Mr. Texas A&M-San Antonio for the 2016/2017 year. You will not agree with everything you read in this piece, but in this politically correct climate we currently live in, we should, at the very least, respect those who have the courage to give their opinion and the conviction to stand on it.

On Hard Work

There is no magic formula, your work ethic is what sets you apart. Hustle!

Aside from that, make as many mistakes as possible. Mistakes are our biggest ally to expanding our minds and growing into the person we’re meant to be. Lastly, be conscious of the people you surround yourself with. The people who you hang around can either speak life or breathe death into your ambitions. Therefore, surround yourself with people that contain the intangibles which reflect the person you want to become – energy is contagious.

There are lessons we’re intended to learn embedded in the mistakes we make. Everything we go through is necessary for the evolution of our consciousness. Envision a moth in a cocoon; the moth must dig its way through the hide of the cocoon in order to emerge. The struggle the moth must go through is nature’s way of strengthening it. Without the struggle, the moth couldn’t survive.

Another mistake I think we often make is not separating who we are from what we are. In other words, we identify with our minds and our bodies when in actuality neither represents what we are. Don’t identify with your thoughts, you can’t control them. You are not your body, it is simply YOUR body like your house or your phone. You cannot be the subject and the object simultaneously.

On Goals

Some of my goals are to educate myself as much as possible, both in and outside of the classroom. I want to become an expert on investing and trading stocks, and I want to start another business or help with the process of building a business. I’ve become intrigued with developing marketing campaigns, business strategies, and crisis management, so I would like to find a company, preferably one that would help me pay for grad school, that would help me attain knowledge in one of these different fields. Lastly, I want to go traveling, skydiving, ziplining etc. I’m into adventure and spontaneity.

I had an epiphany a couple days ago which help me come to the realization that I’ve purposely been molded to be who I am becoming.

If you see it clear in your mind’s eye then it’s a possibility. If it’s something you truly believe in, then it’s already happened you just haven’t gotten there yet. Thoughts often manifest themselves in physical form. So, as long as I stay true to myself and be real with myself, I will manifest any goal I have.

We should all have the courage to stand for what we believe in. There’s one thing you have to understand about me, I have zero fear in my heart. I’m willing to die for what I believe in, subsequently, there’s nothing this world can do to me. I’m sure there might be some outrage over some of the things I’ve said in this article, I’ve come to grips with the fact that most people are sheep. As a society, we’ve always persecuted those who think outside the norm. They even tried to kill Socrates because he didn’t conform to traditional thinking, not comparing myself to Socrates, of course, simply an observation of how we look down on people who think outside the box. I just want people to think for themselves. Don’t be so emotionally attached to your opinion that you allow yourself to become closed off to acquiring new knowledge.

On Courage

My courage comes from being molded by some of the most incredible women on the planet. I was raised by strong, beautiful, African women who taught me the values of integrity, strength, and the pursuit of knowledge. My mother was one of the strongest, realest, most genuine souls I ever met. I grew up watching her feed five mouths with one check. So, my environment trained me to rise above any and all circumstances. I never bend, never fold, no surrender, no retreat.

I was also raised by a Hispanic family on the South Side of San Antonio, about five minutes away from the school. In my time with them, I learned to stay rooted in the present the moment, as well as how to love. I didn’t know what unconditional love was until I met Lisa Gallardo. Lisa all but adopted me when I had nowhere else to go as a teenager. She put roof over my head, and took care of me for years, and refused to accept a dime when I offered to help.

I judge my life based on the quality of people I’ve met on my path, so from that perspective I’ve been blessed beyond measure. (Jazzamynn, Star, Mack, Kenny, Joey, Joseph, Kenn, GG, Lisa,Winna, Jorlandthia, Dr. Love, Dr. Scott, Dr. Harris, Mike Butler and many more.) Many people have played a part in my success.

On Kneeling

The motive behind kneeling during the national anthem is not to protest the anthem; the motive is to protest the murder and systematic genocide of people of color. I’m regarded as royalty here at A&M-San Antonio, but that doesn’t change the fact that when I step off campus and lay my crown down, I can be murdered at a routine traffic stop. And society, for the most part, will spend more time justifying why my murder was justifiable then the murder itself.

Eric Garner, choked to death – why was he selling cigarettes? Trayvon Martin a minor murdered by an adult with instructions from “law enforcement” to stay away from Trevon – Why is he out so late at night? Why is he wearing a hoodie? Walter Scott running AWAY from police shot in the back – Why was he running? Philando Castile pulled over for a busted tail light before being shot to death in front of his wife and child.

Instead of having a difficult conversation on this topic that could lead to something productive, you want to talk about someone peacefully protesting by take a knee.

In the words of Jesse Williams, the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. And if you’re more offended by my opinion, than the systematic genocide of people of color – you’re part of the problem.

You find yourself in the bathroom of a large five-star restaurant. You are aware of how large the restaurant is, in fact you seen the vastness of the restaurant on your journey to the stall, yet in that moment, your world and thus your paradigm is shaped solely by what you see within the stall. How crippling would that be in your ability to analyze the total restaurant? If you can’t see outside the confines of your own stall, your opinion is invalid.

Parting Words

I hope you’re able to read these hieroglyphics. If you see me on campus come talk to me.

To my young brothers stand on your own two feet, make your own decisions, don’t follow the crowd, be your own man. Only fear God! Live your life with integrity, courage, and purpose. You must educate yourself. It is solely your responsibility to pursue knowledge. Learn the game and adjust! Listen before you speak. Be strong enough to be vulnerable, and be willing to die for what you believe in. Peace King!

To my young sisters know that you are loved. Do not subscribe to the standards society tries to put on you, be comfortable in your own skin. Know what it means to forgive. Understand that to forgive is to cleanse your soul of the past, it has little to do with anyone else. Always be a leader, do not follow the pack. Take risk, do not be afraid to live outside your comfort zone and expand your mind. Let go of any attachments that hold you back from living your life to the fullest. Peace Queen!

Hey, you! Yes, YOU reading this right now. I have one more semester left in my undergraduate degree, let’s make a memory together before I graduate.

About the Author

William Manning
William Manning
William Manning, senior at Texas A&M-San Antonio, is heading into his last semester of his undergrad degree. William has overcome quite a bit, on his journey to impacting many lives throughout the San Antonio community. From starting his first business when he was 24, to receiving an award from the Obama administration for the work he's done through the nonprofit he founded, to becoming Mr. A&M-San Antonio 2016-2017; William has continued to defy the odds.

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