By Te-Erika Patterson"When you're focused on the mission, you forget that you're scared." ~ Connie RiceConstantine "Connie" Rice, the author of the newly released memoir Power Concedes Nothing, is just one cape away from being a modern day superhero. The Los Angeles based civil rights attorney’s tumultuous work confronting the social justice ills that plagued the underprivileged in her community is the basis for this tell all book that allows the intellectual advocate to recount her personal and legal journey as she attempted to quell the violence and corruption that had become the unfortunate trademark of her neighborhood. MySavvySisters.Com spoke with Connie Rice about her book, her background and the mental strategies she uses to achieve her goals. According to Connie Rice, she didn’t experience much of the social and personal angst that many teenagers experience. “My parents poured a lot of attention and stimulation into my life,” Connie remembers. “I knew who I was and I had a purpose in life. I didn’t really care what other people thought about me. I was focused on my job which was to learn as much as I can about the world.” “We were overloaded with high expectations,” Connie continues. “My first word was Mommy, my second word was Daddy and my 3rd word was college. It’s kind of hard not to come out of that household with anything but an achievement agenda.” As a social justice advocate Connie claims the progress she made is tied to her intricate view of problem solving. “I like to think about who is needed to solve this problem,” she offers. “I also understand who has real power. There is official power and there is real power. You figure out who has the real power and you convince them that your vision is best for their vision. You bargain with them. You try to persuade them and make them offers they can’t refuse. If you are standing in my way to a solution then I will do everything in my power to remove that barrier. If you’re smart you will join me.”The Harvard graduate and New York University law school alumnus says her intimate involvement with the Los Angeles gangs as well as her work with the Advancement Project (www.AdvancementProjectca.org) which she co founded, is a result of her personal priority of having no fears. “I’ve never been particularly afraid of anything,” Connie asserts. “It comes from having to perform and being focused on the mission. When you’re focused on the mission you forget that you’re scared.” Having never been labeled as a feminist, Connie is well aware of the limitations placed on progress for women due to societal restraints. “I have never accepted the normal constraints that women have,” Connie says. “We’re supposed to fit in the space that we are allowed. I never followed that rule.” When partnering with the Los Angeles Police Department to forge an alliance between the city’s gang members, Connie became a legend in Los Angeles. She formed a gang academy comprised of ex gangsters who willingly come forward to work with her to keep the community safe through open talks about the high stakes war between the two forces. “We’re working very close with the community these days,” Connie shares. “We are running a community policing force. For the first time in LAPD history an officer will receive a commendation for demonstrating how they prevented an arrest versus how they facilitated one.” Connie Rice offers these words of wisdom for any woman trying to make her dream come true. Everybody has to come at their goals in a way that fits their personality. You have to understand and accept what you don’t know and then find people who do know what you don’t know, to work with you.Start at the outcome and then make your plans in reverse. Ask yourself, ‘What is it that has to happen for this to happen?’Find another way through impossible. If it looks impossible on paper, sometimes there is another way around what looks impossible.I keep my eye on what matters. Life’s too short for dress rehearsals. Just get out there and do what you want to do.Figure out what the game is and if you want to play it play it. If you don’t, create your own game. To learn more about Connie Rice, please visit The Advancement Project.
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