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32. Our Pledge to Michael Jackson

At a time when the energy of hope is usually in the air, a time when we are ready to release the past and look forward to the coming year in anticipation of greater things; for the fans, friends and family of Michael Jackson, 2009 is a year we are reluctant to let go of. Going into 2010 means we have to leave behind a life where he was in it. The coming of a New Year signals a painful reminder that we now have to learn to live life having only memories of him.

This time of year is when we all start to think about resolutions, those things we can do to better our personal lives. Most often it is usually a goal to lose weight or make more money; something to improve ourselves or our situations. In other years, those goals would be very commendable, but this year somehow those things seem insignificant.

What has now become important is to ensure Michael’s life has meaning beyond his passing. To move forward into the New Year with a goal to continue everything he was working to accomplish, is to reinforce all that he meant to us.

Without our commitment to continue where he left off, it would have all been for nothing. We can’t let that happen. Therefore, this year our resolution has to be to pledge that we will each do our part in contributing to the things that were important to him, like making the world a better place. We start by embracing all the qualities that he felt were so important, such as love, compassion, understanding, acceptance and peace. Then we have to exhibit them in our lives where applicable.

One such case is in people who are judgmental of him. Before he died, some people had already made up their minds about him when it came to allegations he was charged with, even though he was acquitted. After he passed away, some of those people took the time to do their research and find out the truth, but others continue to believe what they were fed before, and now some of them focus their criticism on us. It’s those people that we have to learn to have compassion for. They have no idea of the love they are missing out on.

Trying to debate anyone who judges Michael, or judges you for loving Michael, is counterproductive, because you can’t change another person. It’s a truth they have to want to discover for themselves. We have to understand, accept that and move forward knowing that we have the power of the truth behind us, no matter what.

We also have to realize that everyone has tendencies to judge things they don’t understand. Michael Jackson’s brothers can certainly relate to that. Recently, they encountered some criticism when their A&E reality series The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty was announced. Some people believed that they were riding Michael’s coattails and trying to cash in on his death. The truth is they signed to do this series before he passed away and he approved of it.

Now that it has debuted, I think a lot of people have seen the error in their judgments. The show has helped people realize that Michael was much more than an Icon. He was a man with a family; a family who loved him very much. You can feel that love at various times throughout the show. The sensitivity that Jackie displayed when he spoke about Michael’s passing was heart wrenching. He struggled to catch his breath just to be able to utter the words "I miss him."

The way they each found out about his death was mind boggling. To have someone on the street tell you that your brother just died is inconceivable and how hard must it have been for Tito to continue to drive after Janet told him that Michael was gone?

Try to put yourself in their shoes and think if it were you who had lost a brother. I can only imagine the lumps they must have had in their throats when they watched This Is It as Michael sang the old songs the old fashioned way. They had to have had tears welling up in their eyes when he called each one of them by name and said, "I love you." What a gift to hear that one last time. They want to ensure his legacy lives on. Our love and support will help them do that.

Michael was passionate about healing the world. He wanted us to be conscious of the environment and what we are doing to our planet. He wrote Earth Song so he could educate us about that. He also wanted to educate people about suffering children around the world.

These are things that we have to start taking on now if we want to ensure his life was not in vain. In fact, we have already started doing that to a certain extent. Joshua is a good example of that. The love, prayers and outpouring of support that he has received from Michael Jackson’s fans has been incredible.

As we enter the New Year, make a pledge to Michael that you will do your part to continue his work in making the world a better place. What can you do right now to start? Commit to doing one meaningful thing that will help heal the world.

The Tribute Portrait is committed to continuing Michael's legacy by affecting lives in the real world. Our first event was a great start with the 60 inner city kids walking down the red carpet with the cast of This Is It and other celebrities, including Jermaine Jackson, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Tatiana Yvonne. Michael's Portrait will be very active in 2010 continuing Michael's work.

In order for any of this to succeed though, it has to start with us. We have to change the person in the mirror before we can change the world. You can’t wait for others to change. Michael reminded us of that in This Is It. "It starts with us," he said.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" is the message Mahatma Ghandi spoke. That is also what the song Man in the Mirror is all about.

It’s up to us now to continue his work. Will you make that pledge to Michael?

Lots of L.O.V.E.

Linda Higgins

Director of Community Development

I created the following video to go with this article. The song I used is called "No Matter What." It was written by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Jim Steinman and is sung by the group BoyZone.

If you can’t view the video on this page click on this link. No Matter What

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