I recently gained a new level of understanding for the word "Hope" during one of my recent assignments in June of 2014. I was asked to produce a short documentary highlighting the life of a man from Brownsville by the name of Gregg "Jocko" Jackson. I was given 3 weeks, a bag of pictures, a phone number and no budget. So you ask, why did you do it then? Because I love my art, that's why, and because they wanted to feature it at a film festival tribute in his honor.
I wasn't told much about him except he was a former basketball player and had a youth center in Brownsville, and he taught kids how to Hope. To be honest, I am particularly not a fan of the word - hope. I feel too often the word hope is referenced as something that people must wait on or wish for. But like most words, depending on the region, the dialect, or in many cases the culture, a word can have various meanings. When Mr. "Jocko" Jackson used the word, it did not just have to mean, it had substance.
Some men are remembered as Heroes, and some are remembered as Legends. Gregg "Jocko" Jackson left a legacy of being both. The community of Brownsville, Brooklyn lost a great man on May 1st, 2014. Just days before a medical procedure that may have prolonged his life.
In 1987, Mr. Jackson decided to dedicate his life celebrating and uplifting the village of Brownsville. A Leo (Lion) by nature and a leader by heart, Mr. Jackson took an abandoned building on Linden Blvd in Brooklyn and turned it into the Brownsville Recreations Community Center. His center became a place of support, culture, and inspiration for many of the youth and people in the community of Brownsville.
Although his passing was truly devastating to the people who loved him and knew him best, there are many who still continue to carry on his legacy and life's work. These are some of the stories of the people who lives were touched and changed by Mr. Gregg "Jocko" Jackso.