Johnna Crider lost her open letter when all the files on her website were deleted. This was “rescued” from an internet cache of the page.

Open Letter to Elon Musk: Thank You

Update May 2018: Elon shared my open letter on his Twitter with a lovely comment. 

 

Dear Elon Musk,

I used to think you were just another one of those out of touch billionaires. There are so many people in America struggling to make ends meet, to survive, and even fighting suicidal tendencies–struggling to find their will to live and here you are talking about Mars and futuristic things that seem too impossible to even comprehend.

Then I discovered for myself that I was so wrong–and so sorry about that. What really got me to actually learning about you was this meme I saw on LinkedIn a few months ago saying “If you were in an elevator with Elon Musk what would your pitch be?”

It lead me to Google you, study you, and eventually follow you on Twitter. And when I saw your interviews, I saw how wrong I was. In one interview, you said you never give up on yourself which really made me reflect on my own failures in life. In all of my ventures, I’ve never had anyone tell me I would fail–which is very rare.

In 2009 I started a nonprofit. It was to raise awareness about homelessness in the USA. I was homeless when I was 9. At the time of founding the nonprofit, the average age of a homeless American was 9 years old. I didn’t think I would fail and neither did the people who believed in me. But I did. It crashed and burned, but while it was high in the sky we actually did what we set out to do: raise awareness by uniting artists of all mediums.

We were the first to bring an international movement to Atlanta, got a spot sponsored for an event at The Masquerade, something I was told was very hard to do but we did it and had a blast just trying to raise awareness from an artistic and musical base. We even had a Grammy winning guitarist behind us (he’s the one who taught me how to wire wrap).

I was so hard on myself over this failure and I didn’t want to try again. My husband said that it doesn’t matter if you fail–just as long as you try and though I understood him, I didn’t believe it. I tried to, but it just wasn’t there.

We opened and closed offices, I managed a gallery in Dallas, TX and my jewelry took off a little bit, but then the mall closed the gallery. We took a chance on a city we didn’t know: Houston. And lost almost everything in Harvey. But we survived. In fact, we were among the lucky ones.

Things happened that landed us back in Atlanta–a city filled with people who will believe in you even though they have no clue who you are. Working and trying to make it, I watched one of your interviews and seeing you talk about your first three launches were failing but you never will give up on yourself just made me realize that my failures were not as big as exploding rockets–but you still kept going.

And that really, really inspired me.

 

You are reaching for your dreams with everything you’ve got despite how many people are mocking, joking or downright telling you not to do it and that drive is what many people have lost due to some of the severe challenges that they face in life.

Our culture says “You can do whatever you put your mind to” while simultaneously saying “You can, buuuut, don’t. You really can’t and if you do, they will mock you, or you will fail”

And people end up giving up on their dreams, especially when those dreams become opposite of financial stability.

I want you and anyone reading this to know that your words and persistence of never giving up are the match that lit the fire behind Diamonds For Her. It’s a jewelry line I am launching that will help nonprofits that help women in need. The message: Never Give UP On Yourself. I’ve had this idea for about 3 years but never acted on it due to fears of failure.

 

Hearing you, a super successful person say that you thought you would fail but did it anyway, was inspiring. It doesn’t matter if you fail or not–what matters is that you do it.

In one the interviews I saw you give, it was mentioned that American heroes were against what you are doing with SpaceX. But in all honestly, not every American hero is against you. You never gave up on yourself, and you, sir, are an American hero of this age.

Your message of never giving up may not reach some of the people who need to hear it the most: the vulnerable women and children who have been through the emotional and mental hell that homelessness in America can put on them. They may see you as I did, but what I am doing will help direct that message to them. At least, that is my hope. Thank you, Elon, for staying focused on your dreams no matter what.

Right now, my family and I are in Atlanta. I am working for a pizzeria (and saving to make my dreams come true). If you are ever in the area, I’ll buy you a deep dish as a way of saying thanks for being you. I even jokingly said I’d trade some handmade jewelry for a share of Tesla but in all honestly, I’d rather just give you the jewelry (pass on to your Mom or someone who likes my design style) and buy stock when I can.

I am going to leave you with this quote from musician, Alex Boye from his song, Heart Of A Lion.

“You say you ain’t a hero, but maybe it chose you”

 

Sincerely,

 

Johnna Sabri

 

 

PS: (Added May 2)

 

I want to give this to you. It’s  a Moldavite wrapped in Copper and a pendant. The reason is because this stone is as unique as you are. Moldavite actually came from space. Scientists are still argueing over it’s origins but all agree it happened about 6 or so million years ago. It has a legend of the Holy Grail associated with it and I think it would be a great visual reminder for you when you face your dark times alone–a reminder that you are doing the right thing. That as long as you remain focused on your dreams, no matter the outcome, you will always be doing the right thing.

Just tell me where to send it (and do it through twitter or IG so I’ll know it’s you and not fake)

PRIOR COMMENTS
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58 Comments

  1. Pam A.

    Johnna I have known you since you first moved to Atlanta back in 05. We met on Marta and you have always been a mover and shaker a real go getter.

    Thank YOU for what you do, too. I’m glad you have rediscovered your calling again.

    Pam.

    • johnna

      I remember you, Pam and thank you 🙂

    • Salina Marie Gomez

      I’m crying my eyes out right now.

      That’s all.

  2. Adaryl Fisher

    Johnna old friend, that was a heartfelt message , I felt the sincerity in your words which attributes back to the kind and beautiful person that you are. It’s a blessing to considered one of your friends!

    • johnna

      Adaryl old friend, you are awesome 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind comment and it’s a blessing to be considered one of you friends as well.

  3. Shareena Reese

    Johnna you are the best. So funny and honest. Now I want to know Elon lol. I miss u I love and u definitely inspire me. Kisses

    • johnna

      I miss you and love you too!!!!

  4. Betsy

    Well said girl!

    • johnna

      Thank you so much!!!!

  5. Reggie

    I met you in Dallas at Valley View and you changed my whole day. You were just vibrant and happy and I am so glad we stayed in touch after your move to Houston then Atlanta. Never heard of Elon Musk so I have some research to do but so glad he inspired you.

    • johnna

      Reggie it’s so good to hear from you and glad you had a great day that day. Thank you 🙂

  6. Hart Deer

    What a beautiful story! That’s food for the heart.

    • johnna

      Thanks Hart, you’ve always been supportive my many endeavors 😀

  7. Kristine Sims

    I love it. Very inspiring! I too deal with fears of failure. But that’s the definition of courage: being scared and doing it anyway! Can’t wait to see your jewelry!

    • johnna

      Thank you, Kristine! You also inspired me with your Jewels for Poverty line. I’ve always admired your work.

  8. Kevin

    Johnna, I’ve known you since you were in school and one, I am so proud of the young woman you have become and two I am sure your mother is, too. You have overcome so much in your short life–things that are not mentioned in this letter. You are one of the strongest individuals I’ve had the pleasure in watching grow up and am more than happy to support you. I am sure Elon will be happy when he reads this heart warming letter. Don’t ever give up.

    • johnna

      Ah yes, we go way back to Arthur Circle. Thanks for reading and keeping in touch.

  9. Alan Higgins

    Johnna I have known you for quite awhile and know that these works came from your heart. I have seen your struggle and your love for life. You yourself are an inspiration to so many. I wish people saw the struggle you have gone through. Keep driving on, dream and make those dreams real. It is so great to know that you are out there fighting the good fight.

    • johnna

      Thanks Alan, yes we’ve known each other for a bit now. Thank you so much for your kind words and we all gotta make our dreams come true.

  10. Vickie Griffin

    Johnna, you are a wonderful human being. Even though we met on Facebook and never met personally I feel I know your heart. You are the type of woman who could light a spark in the minds and hearts of us all. Many Blessings to you my friend and always Keep Going!

    • johnna

      Thank you Vickie, yes one day we will have to meet in person 🙂

  11. Jaelynn

    Johnna, we met at Midtown Marta station back in 2007 and I remember you just walked right up to me and asked me what I was drawing. We got to talking and then you spoke of your vision of using art to help others. You have no idea how down I was that day when you, this random chic with a Louisiana accent walked up to me and started talking about big dreams and making things happen. You literally had this glow around you and everyone on the platform was staring in awe. Reading what you wrote, how you gave up on yourself is sad but seeing you bounce back is something that we all need. I never heard of Elon and will look him up but I am so glad he inspired you. We need people like you.

  12. Santana H.

    Lady Johnna….your one of the strongest women I’ve ever got meet and it’s an honor to be of acquaintance to you my friend….I witness before my eyes this sweet wholesome woman evolve and manifest into wonderful amazing creature….your strongwill and grace that I just ADMIRE about you…..my dear you are ANGEL FROM ABOVE….I LOVE YOU FRIEND MY OT……I WISH YOU NOTHING BUT SUCCESS BOO

    • Santana H.

      Edit please was typing to fast lol

      • johnna

        Not sure how to edit…lol.

  13. Vicki

    Very inspiring. You always were. So glad I met you in Houston and hope Elon reads this.

  14. Walter

    I am someone who was homeless once and you encouraged me. Ever since, we’ve been friends. Your nonprofit was a voice for me raising awareness about what it’s really like being among the hidden homeless: the invisible ones. I didn’t look homeless and I worked full time. I went to your world homeless action day event that was sponsored by your job and got to eat. When your nonprofit disappeared, I was bummed but deep down I knew you would be back. You started a movement with your thoughts. Now, I need to google who Elon Musk is.

  15. Miriam

    Wow this was heartfelt and inspiring! You really poured your heart and soul into this. Oh and one thing that has nothing to do with this made me pay more attention to Elon. I liked how he asked the Flat Earth society if they believed Mars was flat and he shared their answer all over

  16. HH Duke Deacon

    Johnna!

    I, HH Duke Deacon, think you’re gonna keep rockin’ on until the day your dreams burst into fruition!

  17. Lakesha

    Johnna, I am so proud of you. I do remember when your organization was initially making moves in Atlanta. I felt inspired by you then, and even more now. With or without Mr. Musk you are destined to win. Your perseverance will continue to push you to your next season, and it will be greatness. You are an AMAZING WOMAN and I am so proud of everything you do. I welcome you back to Atlanta. We missed you!

  18. Nathaniel

    I was at the Masquerade event and I remember being in awe of you guys on stage doing great things.

    I’m so glad you are back in Atlanta and can’t wait to see you back to doing great things.

    I would have never imagined Elon Musk the Mars guy being an inspiration for you since you are an artist and he’s in tech industry.

    • Kristin J Currier Ludlow

      I’m an artist and I currently work in the tech/retail industry as a designer. I can see the connection. Creating beautiful things that give back to humanity, and designed with so much love and conviction – that’s the greatest of all art. <3 🙂

  19. M. Stevens

    J.C, this is truly touching, because the odds do always seem to be against people like us, the hard workers who seemingly never work hard enough, no matter how hard they try. Then getting to— “Our culture says ‘You can do whatever you put your mind to’ while simultaneously saying ‘You can, buuuut, don’t.’ You really can’t and if you do, they will mock you, or you will fail”— and with that I couldn’t agree more on. Sometimes you have to believe in yourself more than anyone else, you have to be your own biggest fan, regardless of our circumstances. Even if we fail, it is worth it, because there will always be a lesson in there for us. Maybe not at the time of our failing. Maybe it won’t even inspire us. But if it stirs someone, anyone else like us, or in a boat, perhaps not built as well as ours was to keep us afloat, then I hope to always be grateful that it helped in some way.

    Thank you for allowing me to read this letter. Though I perhaps should not say you and I are alike, for you are truly a beautiful, one in a million, spectacular kind of woman. I hope your future endeavors are successful!

    • johnna

      I remember when we first met, Mel and I thought you were the coolest. You are also one in a million and I hope that all of your dreams come true 😀

  20. Sorcha Leah

    I discovered you on Twitter about a year ago and bought jewelry from you. I love my pieces and love what you are doing. I love how you just perceived Elon’s steadfast belief in himself and want to take that to a whole demographic of people who may never even know who he is due to them struggling and give them that message of hope.

    I hope he reads this. I have read up on him and he wants to advance humanity. People like you, Johnna are the reason why people like Elon want to advance humanity. You all do your parts to make a difference.

    I’m super proud to know you and be your Twitter friend.

    • johnna

      You are just the sweetest, Sorcha and I am so glad you love your jewelry. 😀

  21. Sierra Barnes

    Amazing letter! Keep it up and never give up on your hopes and dreams!

  22. Kelly

    I found your letter on Twitter and it was a beautifully written letter.

    I also looked at your portfolio and I am in love with your work, your story and mission.

    The fact that you’ve never had people tell you that you would fail is very rare and empowering. Keep up the good work! Will be placing an order soon.

  23. Mark Jones

    “In all of my ventures, I’ve never had anyone tell me I would fail–which is very rare.”

    That is very, very rare and speaks volumes of how you present yourself and goals to others.

    Great letter I hope he gets the chance to read it.

  24. John Willson

    I don’t know if you remember me but I was in your store at Plazamerica mall. I was the homeless guy you gave a pendant to. I got a lot of help after Harvey and reunited with my family. I still have the quartz pendant you gave me and wear it every day. You were kind to me. You already are spreading that message of not giving up. You gave it to me that day and told me I was going to make it. Thank you.

    • Christina Pérez StJohn

      This is a very great story. I had to stop and catch my breath. Thank you Johnna for helping people out. I remember when you were telling me of your struggles. I’m glad I could write my experiences to help you help others. <3 sorry I got over emotional and can’t see through the tears <3

  25. Krystal With A K

    This was beautifully written and also a reminder for me, I came across this letter at the most perfect time. It gave the the push I needed to just try at least one more time. I didn’t put my all into that push but the fact that I made the attempt still turned out in my favor and gave me hope and a new motivation.

  26. zionBIRDSONG

    Yo yo!!! It’s zionBIRDSONG and since I’ve met you, you’ve been an inspiration to me and those around you. It’s already happened, you’re just doing the work. I pray you always #swerveinyourgift, take the highway of thinking, and let Love (passion) be your GPS!

  27. Christina Perez StJohn

    Everyone in my Aeronautics class, 24 guys and 2 gals, looks up to you. We have the desire to better our lives through the aerospace industry. The sad part is that we students will not be able to afford a house here in the desert because hungry land grabbers have hiked up the housing market. My rent has gone up to $1,680 per month for a 3 bedroom, one bathroom 1970’s style house. Next month I don’t know how I will finish school and be hired in time to continue living here. Many in my class live with their parents, but I’m too old to go home with 2 teenagers. Their child support is in arrears and now I have to run back and forth from one agency to another to find out why child support agency is trying to tell me AND since my son’s dad information is confidential, Social Security won’t help me find out his Social Security number without his birth date. Meanwhile, I’m supposed to be studying to get a certificate in Airframe and Powerplant. Yes, I do have my Bachelor’s degree but no one has hired me in Social Work. I found out I need a Master’s Degree to work at the VA to help out my fellow Veterans. Good news is that if I’m homeless, I can live in the parking lot at the Los Angeles VA. ¿Really? Sounds like a recipe for another rape victim. Please help my friend Johnna with her goal of housing the homeless. It’s a great feat, but she has more experience and I trust her more than the offering of a VA parking lot as a place to rest my weary head. Sincerely, Christina

  28. Madison Lorraine

    Its Cookie from Twitter. I wanted to stop by and remind you that you are just as awesome as Elon!!!!

  29. Kristin

    Really beautiful post. I don’t know you, I just found this on Twitter, your friend posted this link in an Elon thread. You sound like a fantastic person and you are every bit as great as Elon is…you help people get that they matter.

    • johnna

      Thank you Kristen. And YOU matter so never forget that

  30. Michala Perreault

    Johnna,

    Next year I’ll teach a mentoring class for “special” MS & HS students. Special because their lives are absent any perception of opportunity. If I may, I’d like to use your letter as a cornerstone of my class. Will you allow that?

    Many thanks,
    Michala

    • johnna

      I would be honored.

  31. Garn Schack

    Johnna, I am so glad you took a chance and looked into a person you already had a negative opinion towards. It takes a strong person to be willing to do that and not just go with their initial views. Which may be based on only a few negatives they had heard.
    I truly wish more people would take the time to learn about Elon. I fully understand that to truly get to know a person and their honest opinions can take a tremendous amount of time. I’m guessing that if I had not been following Elon as long, and closely, as I have, I may have also shared your opinion. I really wish people would stop to spend some time to watch his interviews. He is a man that truly does care, and whose heart is truly in the right place. Maybe to a fault to some, but he is direct and honest.
    I’m glad you shared, and he shared, your open letter. I was very happy to be able to read it.

  32. Ibrahim Kamara

    Hi Johnna,
    You letter is filled with courage, sincerity, motivation and inspiration.
    I got to know Elon when he unveiled the Tesla model 3. I watched his keynote and was inspired by his vision. I instantly became convinced that he’s my next hero after Jobs. I started reading about him and followed him everywhere.
    Elon is serving humanity. It is amazing how he does it in his limited life. I supposed he’s making the best use of his own 24hours which we all have everyday.
    I do hope to unveil my contribution to the world pretty soon.
    After God, I owe a great deal of my life to Steve and Elon. They’ve refined my thinking and paved the path of my road to success.
    Your letter is nothing short of precise and to the point. It is an eye-opener for all of us out there to become somebody meaningful to society. To serve humanity and leave a positive mark while we live.
    I would not agree with you less.
    Thanks Johnna.

    From, Sierra Leone.

    • johnna

      Thank you so much for your kind words

  33. Sagar

    At the beginning of great Indian war Mahabharata, when Arjuna the warrior prince ask his Charioteer Lord Krishna about “why would anyone work without the reward”….the lord replies “The work that a man does is itself is a reward, a man shouldn’t measure his work with rewards of jewels and gold.

  34. Aditya Shejwal

    Hi Johnna,
    Uniting Artists from different medium so you are taking about fine artists right?
    I mean “art” & not musical artists

    • johnna

      all artists. But the org is no longer active.

  35. MachoPasta

    Johnna,
    That was a beautiful letter. I feel the same way you do about Elon, he is an inspiration in so many ways.
    Are you making any more pendants like the one you made for Elon? I would love to buy one. It’s beautiful, and wonderful reminder to stay focused and believe.

  36. Kevin

    Lovely letter…ur right about Elon and also… yourself. Dont ever give up, dream big and when they laugh…remember…always remember this…they laughed at all the GREAT ones. The laughter is proof you are going in the right direction.

  37. Anozie Kelechi Udemezue
    Wow! What a great post @JohnnaSabri. I was almost moved to tears by your open letter to Musk. Thank you writing such a beautiful piece. I’m certain it touched something deep within him. It certainly touched something deep within me. And I’ve learnt a ton from it
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