My Fraternal Reflection

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So in honor of Founder’s Day, I wore this pin today.  December 4th is a day that members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. celebrate as our founders at Cornell University established our organization to support, uplift, and advance the agenda of black scholars so we can impact the world.  This organization produced world leaders, policy makers, evangelist, activists, scientist, athletes, and many more focusing on Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind.

This pen was initially used as a campaign for a candidate running for our national president, and it symbolized doing things in remembrance of our fraternal founders; Callis, Chapman, Jones, Kelley, Murray, Ogle, and Tandy; not to focus on the glitz and glamor, the attention, the profile… just remember why you chose to invest your blood, sweat, and tears to our organization.

Though that campaign has come and gone, I appreciate this pin and what it stood for.  Not because of the candidate, but because it was a continuous reminder of why I joined this organization.  Most know, I don’t have a “traditional” history with A Phi A.  In fact, the decisions I made in college not only “black balled” me on my campus, but contributed to the demise of my chapter and the absence of strong leadership on SMU for 9 years; something that I have personally blamed myself…  I was not able to fully appreciate the benefits of having a vibrant chapter on my campus, fully exercising the college life experience, or even share my knowledge with people who wanted to pass the torch on SMU’s campus so they can hold the light.

Why am I saying this:  Today, the spirit led me to visit my alma mater, Southern Methodist University.  I walked the campus, felt the energy, saw the new buildings, reminding me that college days swiftly pass, and then ventured to the student affairs office where I interacted with current students, a.k.a. future world changers.  I became happy, as I realized there were members of my fraternity on campus, holding the light, and were open to hear from someone who cares about building them up, not tearing them down.

I remembered that was my motivation as an undergrad; finish college and spread the TRUE meaning of fraternity; to uplift, inspire, guide, build brothers so together we can uplift ALL Mankind.  This is my reflection, and my inspiration to continue to be the best person I can be…

 

MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 22: Cheat Days

Lessons From the State of Black Business Event Last Week

The Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (www.dallasblackchamber.org) had our 2nd annual State Of Black Business (SOBB) Forum last week.  A lot of people are confused, or apathetic to the mission of the organization I love, both inside and out.  There are a lot of misperceptions and ill-truths that have evolved during the 89 year history of this organization.I would like to show the Chambers “true mission” in this blog; it’s about education, support, and advocacy.

Most people ask me, “What does the Dallas Black Chamber offer to me?” or “Why do y’all exist?” or “Why does it have to be called the ‘Black’ Chamber?” or event still, “Why do you isolate yourselves and only accept black members?”.  This can easily frustrate any human being that exerts their personal and professional time to do volunteer work for an advocacy group, but I gladly entertain the questions.  Why?  Because, where there are questions, there’s curiosity, and where there’s curiosity, there’s an opportunity for me to share the lessons I’ve learned from my father and his colleagues, and contribute to the improvement of the American Economy (no, not Black economy solely, but American economy).

Some clarification, the Dallas Black Chamber is not just an organization where we can provide free marketing to your organization.  Our mission is to advocate and support entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporations that want to support the African-American community, therefore, you don’t have to be black in order to be a part of this organization, you just need to be a cheerleader or stakeholder for improving the situation (with blacks contributing $1 Trillion to the US Economy, there needs to be an organization(s) that can assist with the education and distribution of black wealth).

I can go on and on about this… This is not the purpose of this post (for more info, go to our website or reach out to me).  I’m posting this to show how the Black Chamber helps a community; by being an objective organization that helps all businesses tread the waters of capitalism.

In this clip (that’s difficult to hear) I am interviewing Hiawatha Williams, Founder and CEO of Williams Chicken.  Though inaudible, he thanks the Dallas Black Chamber for providing:

  1. Events like SOBB to provide entrepreneurs/professionals the opportunity to network and build relationships with larger businesses.
  2. To provide advice and strategy for building and growing your business, and
  3. To defend the smaller businesses, encouraging big entities to use smaller businesses to stimulate our micro-economies.

After talking to Mr. Williams, my spirit was renewed about the aims of the organization; as Chair, it’s easy to get bogged down in the politics of the organization, or the status you receive once you participate in outside programs, representing the organization.  Hearing him thank my father (who was ED of the Chamber in the 1980’s) for giving him sound advice when he was an employee at Church’s Chicken illuminated the importance in having a third-party advocate strategize to assist all people to build wealth; someone whose intent is to help all who ask for help.

This was a wake-up call; we, as an organization, need to do a better job at marketing to the masses what we do at the chamber.  I know A NUMBER of businesses who benefited from advice from our organization or ones like it (other ethnic/cultural/geographic chambers), so those business owners need to speak up as well.  Without an advocate organization, we will not be able to defend the small business, killing what we know as the American Dream.

Setting The Tone Dictates Your Destiny

MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 5

My Gates Millennium Scholar Experience; APPLY TODAY!

My cousin, Deidra, asked me to say a few words about the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship for her students at church. I thought I’d share it with the rest of the world how the Gates Scholarship changed my tragetory in life.

I will make other comments in other posts; they will be posted as I recall and remember my experiences in college and beyond. The most important take away, is to apply for the scholarship! There’s no excuse for anyone not to get a good education in America. The resources are here, it just takes work, effort, and energy to get it!   Go to www.gmsp.org for more information.

MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 1

I’m starting to write/vlog my workout experience…  Please pray for me, lol

Be Careful America, This Convesation isn’t JUST About Race….

Recently, America has witnessed acts of violence from people and law enforcement that’s tearing this country apart; from the killing of Mike Brown a year ago to the standoff at Dallas Police Headquarters, to the abuse of children at a McKinney pool, to the abuse, arrest, and death of multiple people getting arrested during a “routine” traffic stop. I’ve wondered, “What are people’s motivation? Is it hatred?  Fear?  Ignorance?  The power to exercise their insecurities?  A combination of them all?”  It seems like a complex problem. 

Well if it’s such a complex situation, why are we succumbing to a simple solution: race relations…   I love how in the last year we are placing this conversation in the race box, and nothing else; we’re not talking about privilege, or economics, or power….   Just race.  Really?   JUST Race?   I argue that race is only the manifestation of a deeper issue;  it’s the fruit we see, not the root we need to dig up. This is an issue that needs to be addressed, illuminated, and corrected by ALL parties affected; the oppressed, but most importantly the oppressor, in order for real change in America to happen.  

Lets get one thing straight before we proceed:  I am not saying that race doesn’t play a role.  It’s OBVIOUS blacks are the beneficiaries of violence and oppression from perceived powers at be.  I’m saying our assessments and solutions have been too narrow in scope.   Now back to the post….

My heart is saddened that people are thinking myopically… We’re easy to slap the race card on everything so we perpetuate our cycle of trivializing how blacks are felt in this country and how whites (or non-blacks) can “ignore” the problem and continue to complain how the blacks crying and complaining is affecting productivity or the “American Way”.  The influx of immigrants who can’t empathize the Black American struggle easily side against blacks or become apathetic; they weren’t subject to the slavery and dismantling of their culture for the “American Good”, and sacrificing any policies or opportunities to start from square one in “The American Dream”.

Well I’m sick of it….    There’s a reason why black people feel hopeless, and it’s not just because they are lazy;   I, as a “successful” black man, have a double conscious; one to strive for the best, while the other to strive for the betterment of my people. I am not ONLY screaming for equal rights and opportunities because my demographic is the most vilified, least to tolerate, yet most replicated and admired from afar; that’s too small. I’m urging ALL people to understand they have a responsibility tomake our  society better; and everyone needs to check their position, make corrections, and move accordingly. 
We are smart enough to solve the real problem: Addressing our iniquities of the past (yes, I mean slavery, misogyny, etc.) to make America better.  It won’t be an easy road, but we are made to withstand it.  So before we judge or ignore, let’s try to solve the problem for all to excel.