The Janet Reno Legacy You’ve Never Heard

The Janet Reno Legacy You’ve Never Heard

In 1987 Janet Reno approached Dr. Roger Mills, inquiring whether he thought he could help solve some of the systemic problems at the Modello Federal Housing Project that had for years plagued her at her Florida State Attorney office.

Roger Mills accepted the challenge. Ms. Reno’s willingness to “think outside of the typical bureaucratic box,” her trust to authorize a radically new and “unproven” intervention, and her commitment of the financial resources necessary proved to be the elements necessary to make this experiment possible.

In one case, “a crack-addicted mother was prostituting her two teenage daughters to bring money in to the house to buy crack. She’d already sold all her furniture. Virtually nothing remained in the house. Her kids’ behavior had become erratic – missing school a lot.” Her nine kids were placed in foster homes. One year later, the mother was clean. She got her kids back, her kids returned to school and were doing well, she got married and began work as a hospital nurses’ aid.

The phenomenal personal and community transformations that occurred over a three-year period are beautifully recorded in Modello: A Story of Hope for the Inner City and Beyond: An Inside-Out Model of Prevention and Resiliency in Action, by Jack Pransky.

One week ago today, Janet Reno, former Attorney General of the United States, died. She is remembered as being the first woman to hold that position. She is remembered for her bluntness and independence. She is remembered with criticism for her handling of some high-profile controversies, including the deadly raid on a cult compound in Waco, TX, and the custody issues surrounding Elián González, a 6-year-old Cuban refugee.

What has been little noted as the nation mourns Reno’s passing is her pivotal role in initiating the very first community-based Three Principles program in Homestead, FL. This intervention model recognized core truths about humanity – each person is innately healthy and is to be respected, each person can access their innate wisdom at any moment, each person’s innate wisdom offers choices that when chosen will benefit their life and the lives of their family and the broader community.

Center for Sustainable Change (CSC) is the international nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization incorporated by Dr. Roger Mills in 2004. CSC directly resulted from Roger’s tireless work replicating the successes experienced in Homestead, FL, in many similar communities across the U.S. as well as sharing the Principles of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought with “people on the street” in communities around the world.

We, everyone engaged with CSC and its mission, remain grateful for Janet Reno’s support of Dr. Mills in Florida so many years ago. We are proud of the world-wide reach achieved from that initial project.

We express our sorrow at the passing of Janet Reno. She had a sense of trust in her innate wisdom, recognizing that traditional and researched responses had not worked, she was willing to trust a different approach, a new idea. It is our hope that administrators world-wide who are charged with improving the quality of life for their constituents will become willing to trust their own innate wisdom, to try something that might work over what has not worked. That would be a lasting legacy indeed.

Community in the Midst of Chaos: A Special Message of Hope

Community in the Midst of Chaos: A Special Message of Hope

I’ve received numerous emails and texts from people around the world expressing concern and care for us in Charlotte in light of the recent “State of Emergency” here. Those communications are welcome and supportive.

But even more, they are indicative of the value and strength created when people connect with each other – connections that honor each person’s wisdom and resilience. In that connection common unity is experienced – “comm unity” is realized.

It may be difficult to imagine during such tragic violence, but there is value in that people are trying to communicate. Often, because of a long-time absence of true communication and resulting pent-up frustrations, efforts toward communication itself can take on disrespectful forms of violence. Nonetheless, people are trying to communicate.

In Charlotte, communication is being recognized more and more community-wide as essential. There are many people who have been coming together in peace for discussion and understanding. The news outlets do not often carry this fact, but it is happening across our city. In fact, CSC’s own Social Media Content Creator, A.M. Stewart, organized “Meditation for Love and Healing” supporting Black Lives Matter during this past week of protests. (Fox News got the event name wrong.)

Key to my efforts is the sharing of how mutual respect is the most important element of true communication. Until every person sees every other person as truly, totally equal – each having unlimited access to wisdom, each having the ability to contribute to the health and resilience of the entire community, then true communication has not been achieved.

It is my thought that despite the violence and ugliness of recent days, our community is in fact moving toward – not always in a straight line, but nonetheless moving toward– greater respect. Let us pray that this movement can be achieved with the least possible resistance.

What are you doing for others? - Martin Luther King Jr. This schism of thought is not unique to Charlotte. This is a national issue affecting every community. It only takes one unfortunate and misunderstood event to initiate personal thinking that can create extreme emotions and lead to unhealthy actions.

Each of us can help our communities understand the inside-out nature of life, that our personal thoughts about external events are what creates our emotions and actions, and that everyone can go beyond their personal thinking and hear wisdom and see clearly the most peaceful and healing courses of action.

What are you doing now in your community? Initiate a discussion group, meet with other community leaders, write a letter to the editor, or speak at a City Council meeting. Everyone can be involved. Everyone can do something to encourage communication and respect – to create the space – the pause – to allow wisdom to surface – to listen deeply to others allowing collective, community wisdom to surface.

Let us at CSC know what you have done or will be doing. We’ll share your thoughts and actions with others.

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