The best way I could describe myself is a man with city tendencies – heavily rooted in southern culture.

My name is Leonard Parker III (formerly Davis) and this is my Crystal Stair.

My grandfather moved from Georgia to Colorado with the hope of building something great.  He was the sole provider for six children.  In a place that was dangerously lacking black fathers and role models in addition to being a crime-ridden, gang associated, and drug-infested, the journey out can be a tough one.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 9 Verse 10-11

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

11 I have seen something else under the sun:

The race is not to the swift
    or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
    or wealth to the brilliant
    or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.

Time and chance happen to them all  — once I internalized that we are subject to the same 24 hours, the same days of the week, the same time and chance, I stopped worrying about competing with those around me, rather I strove to grow with those around me.  Complacency, to me, is a one-way road to failure.  It wasn’t about being the smartest or the fastest—it was about creating and maintaining momentum and never stopping.

You probably wouldn’t be able to tell from this story or my picture, but I’m 6’9,260lbs.  In high school, I was the number 3 ranked basketball player in the state of Colorado.  I’d had the opportunity to play at Ithaca College, and it helped pay for school, and the Draft could have been a possibility, but playing professionally was never a goal of mine.  More than anything, I wanted to get back to Colorado and manifest that sense of legacy my grandfather instilled.  I always referred to knowledge as food – and it’s been something I’m passionate about.

…I’m also getting married…

I took the leap of faith and proposed to the most beautiful woman in the world! In a time where political strife has our country in a strangle, interracial love tends to be a hot topic. Meeting Jessica, gave me new hope for a better tomorrow, a world where race has no constitution over love, and feelings can be shared despite economic status or social stature. One may see this recent epidemic and call it natural selection, for me it’s a simple and undeniable connection.  As the fifth grandchild of thirteen, and the only male with no ties to my biological father in the family, it is my moral obligation and tribute to my grandfather to take his last name and become Leonard Parker III, the man who will continue tradition, solidify his roots of excellence and establish a legacy for those who come hereafter.

As a letter to the brother who reads this, again “time and chance happen to them all”. Now are our time and tomorrow is our chance not as individuals as it has been for so long but as a collective. Live not for yourself but for those who will carry the baton in which you carry today.