The Bottom Line

Archie Snowden, award-winning news journalist, video producer, and director of Empower Your Community Network, asks, “What does Empowerment mean to you?”

To me, Empowerment can be grand or small gestures, thoughts, or words that elevate you and/or others to a deeper understanding, greater heights, and a happier, peaceful, and productive life.

You may never know how powerful your words and actions are, or ever realize the impact they make on other’s lives. Empowerment is an unstoppable force for good. A few words from a loved one or a stranger can change the way you think and proceed.

When I was eight months pregnant and due to give birth on New Year’s Eve, I was holiday shopping in a local department store. The cashier smiled and asked, “When are you due?” Up until that moment, and from the second I was told my due date was December 31, I was displeased because I believed, “This is the worst birthday to give a child, he will never have a birthday of his own.” With regret in my voice, I replied, “New Year’s Eve.” The cashier’s face lit up, and she exclaimed, “That’s my birthday!” She proceeded to tell me how it’s the best day all year to have a birthday and she explained her reasons. Her enthusiasm, her words, and our chance encounter instantly empowered me to change how I viewed my due date and my approach to celebrating my son’s birthday. Each year when he was a child, he would say, “This is the best week of the year!” and still, thirty-two years later at birthday time, I quietly thank this woman for her empowering words. Her name is unknown to me, but her words are not.

Snowden says, “To empower someone is to give them the means to achieve something.” It makes them stronger and more confident, ready to take control of their life, and to be an advocate for themselves. Empowered people will go on to empower others. Empowerment is never-ending, is far-reaching, and strengthens both sides.