Even at SMU, Black Lives Matter!

This message serves as a reflection from an event I attended at my alma mater, Southern Methodist University (SMU), where they hosted Alicia Garza, the architect of #BlackLivesMatter….  I know, I was shocked!!!!  I’ll reserve my state for another post… this post is to share some of the takeaways I received from her from her VERY INTERESTING, WELL ATTENDED talk in the student center ballrooms:

 

You need a strategy, not just an emotion

Her plans for “Black Lives Matter” weren’t a knee-jerk reaction to some discrimination she encountered, there was a deliberate plan that was well thought out and executed to ensure sustainability.

 

“Hashtags does not make movements, people do”

This was a quote she stated that’s stuck with me.  Recently, I did a talk for Ignite DFW (post of the presentation coming soon) where I give advice to millennials on how to survive in leadership roles; the main point is to not stop once you state something on Facebook or twitter; go beyond that and act!

 

You NEED to have a broad reach/network

Her network did not just include her friends; but people she interacted with all over the country before the incident…  Which means she’s not only known but have positive relationships with individuals of all backgrounds, allowing her to be an influencer.

 

“Black Lives Matter” was a love letter to black people

This was beautifully said…  I know this seems weird or exclusive to non-blacks in the audience, but let me explain; Unlike MOST ethnicities, blacks are the most exploited type of people in current media, for better or worse.  Therefore, we are bombarded with information about “us” from everyone- the media, papers, strangers, aliens, etc.  So it’s endearing to me when someone from our own culture actually expels energy to positively communicate to us.  Thanks Alicia…

 

Both sexes need to work together in the strategy process

We’re facing an on-going battle of the sexes, where men and women are establishing footing for newly formed gender roles in our society.  This is a good thing, as we are going through “growing pains” as a society; dispelling our past misogynistic ways and working toward a more, equal partnership in leadership.  Consequently, there needs to be more black women at the planning table to dictate future strategy.

 

Black lives matter is not Anti-Police, it’s anti-violence movement

For people that say the line above either ignorant or purposely wants to be polarizing…  The solution for a systemic problem isn’t inflicting pain to the oppressors, it’s creating an environment where all can be pain-free.  #BlackLivesMatter is so popular because it resonates with SO MANY people’s feeling that Black Lives DONT Matter in our society…

 

“Pay attention to the culture we create”

This is applicable in so many facets of life.  You are what you eat, you are the company you keep, all of these sayings I’ve heard from my influencers come to life as I breathe each breath.  The same goes with the macro-systems we create/operate/exists in.  By creating a sociologic environment of discrimination and prejudice, we assist in poisoning our future generations…  The culture we create isn’t so important to us, but to the ones that follow; but if we don’t care about anyone now, how could we have the capacity to nurture an environment for people that don’t exist yet????

 

 

These are just some of the great things said by this influential sista.  I appreciate you sharing your words, experiences, and thoughts so we can analyze, ponder, and take action!

Wow! I’ve Grown: My DBCC initial reflection

This morning, I participated in the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce (www.dallasblackchamber.org or @dalblkchamber) Leadership Retreat, and for the first time in three years, I was just a board member; not the leader.  I wasn’t the person who was stressed, the one who wants to ensure the logistics is handled appropriately.  Just Matt Houston, the DBCC Board Member who can (for at least a few months) chime in and provide context so the transition can run smoothly.  It was an AMAZING feeling.

About halfway in our meeting, I began reflecting on several things:

  • There is a lot of talent in this organization; both on the board as well as the staff
  • We have come A LONG WAY in terms of priorities, programming, and positions within the chamber.  Three years ago, we didn’t have effective online capabilities with a website that was 10 years old!
  • The chamber has a totally different staff then my election night September of 2012.  100% turnover.  Both a good and a bad thing, but I’ll talk about that some other time.
  • All the things that were frustrating DURING the storm actually helped our organization as we are more relevant to our members, partners, and the community.
  • I’ve learned SO MUCH about business, politics, management, and purpose as head of a 90-year old organization.  Not just because I received my MBA during this time, but because I’m able to help businesses that I weren’t directly affected by…
  • To grow into leadership, it’s so important for people to volunteer/contribute to an org outside of your job or family.  Volunteering truly makes you a vessel for the community, and it’s my belief that God wants us to experience that so we can be more like him…

Each one of these bullet points can be it’s own blog entry (and you may see them soon), but my main point for this piece is to complete the race; I see the importance of participating in the complete cycle of your leadership by willingly becoming a “regular” member again.

Most people believe the end of your leadership stint happens on the last day of office, but that’s not true.  One must transition back to the masses, and allow your experiences as a leader mold your current perspective of the org, assist in recruiting, and strengthen your advocacy work among your peers.  I have become a better DBCC member now that I’ve been Chair, and I’m so excited!

Now, I get to see all of the fruits of our work, while helping future leadership mold/develop their legacy for the org.

 

Join me Jan. 26th at Ignite DFW Speakers Series!

http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=9fee866701b8ad1f4a5aa67e2&id=04a7e65b16&e=1e1cab4737

 

Please join me as I make a presentation on how Millennials are pivotal to our future!  This is my first talk in a format like this and should be an exciting event!!!  There are great presenters, subject matters, and discussion afterwards…  See you all at January 26th at the Texas Theater!

Setting the tone for a fresh 2016

Happy New Year!!!!  I hope everyone survived the festivities the last few days, and I pray all will have a great 2016!!!

Typically, at the end of each year, I spend some time planning my life for the next year; developing goals, creating budgets, writing out my needs/wants/desires assessment, and planning how I can work/volunteer/enjoy my next year in existence (Lord willing).  This December, however, I decided to take a “non-traditional” approach in clearing my mind and planning for 2016 by taking up a session w/ my friend Launa Kliever, an amazing woman who I had the pleasure of working with in 2015 through the Festival of Ideas’ “Political City Committee”.  Launa’s spirit and intellect on our committee propelled us to create a program that will potentially improve Dallas by educating our leaders (but I’ll leave that for another blog post).

Launa’s approach to focus on social healing and understanding your energy to channel your thoughts and actions is a different, yet refreshing, way for me to prepare for new tasks I desire to tackle.  This required me to do something I’m SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE with:  being quiet, meditating, studying/focusing on my body, and listen to it.  It’s something that, though foreign to me, was refreshing.  I also had amazing dialoges with Launa as she was a sounding board for anything I wanted to talk about.  This is very different from my “external” planning assessments, as I typically try to find external factors to dictate my internal feelings; this allows me to hear from inside so I can understand what to feed myself to be the best “Matt” I can be…

It was an amazing session and I wish everyone who has a desire to understand who to maximize your inner-being contact her.   Yes, this can be different… but will be well worth it!  You can visit her on website, and tell her I sent you!

I wish blessings and prosperity to all in 2016!

MLH Discusses Mentoring

Matt Houston speaks about the importance of mentoring and community responsibility. The video was produced by Dallas Business Journal, who named Matt as one of the 2013 Minority Business Leader Award honorees.

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.

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.

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.

How A Recharge is SO CRUCIAL!

I just got back from Washington D.C., initially for a conference (where I learned a lot and became reinvigorated in economic development) but stayed a couple of days to enjoy the city, reflect, and recharge before the consistent grind I will have in Dallas this fall.  It’s probably one of the best choices I made this year.  I was starting to flame out, and was starting to get discouraged.  Though I couldn’t afford a vacation (timing’s bad), I was able to hang out with friends and see new sights in a different land, where I’m just one of many, so I can refuel for Dallas.

I want to share a few points I thought of on my flight home:

It’s important to have a different environment for reflection/reset

I’ve tried to have stay-cations, or relax in Dallas, but it doesn’t work for me.  I’m involved in too many things that can pull my attention from resting, therefore not being productive.  For me, I have to physically remove myself from my day-to-day tasks in order to disconnect from it entirely.  This doesn’t have to be the case for everyone, as people can lock themselves in their house and watch Netflix, or turn off their phone to do the same thing.  Me going to another city (or somewhere that’s not Dallas) is very therapeutic; I’m able to hit the “reset” button while observing things that may be able to work in Dallas to improve the city.

Enjoy where you are fully; let go of stresses/burdens from other situations

The one thing I tried not to do, was to take Dallas with me during my R and R time.  I was responsive during the conference, as I was working, but during the weekend, it was my time.  I didn’t respond to emails, I didn’t worry about what was going on in Dallas, I just enjoyed DC.  By doing this, I was able to feel good about where I was Sunday night, and was able to work Monday morning (I was still in DC, but letting everything go for two days showed me a couple of opportunities I can do up there).

Once your back in your normal environment, GO HARD!

This morning, I woke up, and started SPRINTING!  There’s a lot of things I need to catch up on, and new stresses that appeared, but I’m able to have a fresh perspective and rejuvenated spirit to take them on.  I advise people to go all in when you first arrive from vacation so you can set a tone of intensity and purpose.

The one thing that’s starting to sink in from advice numerous people have told me in the past is to take time for myself…  I get it now. I’m not taking weeks off, or going to the moon, it was an extra two days after a conference I attended, but those two days positively affected me!  I’m ready to take on the World!!!

It’s Important to Process, but don’t miss the moment of impact (That’s B.S…. I’m Talking About Privilege)

I started doing it again…  Sitting/thinking/processing….  entering “Paralysis by Analysis” stages in certain aspects of my life.

I was reminded last week that I shouldn’t do that because too much analysis will bring in a culture of “political correctness” and uninteresting commentary, but later on there was an incident that reinforced my character-flaw:

That evening, I was enjoying time after a long day of work with my friends (of different races, profession, and relationship statues) at North Park before going to AMC to watch Marvels Ant-Man.  Our last conversation was concerning race and the table next to us (two white young women) told us to “Shut the fuck up”… Maybe it was the saki bomb I just had, but I noticed most tables on the patio were monolithic- blacks were with blacks, whites with whites, and so on…  As I looked at them, both my friend I was arguing with (who is white) and I were in sock; he was pissed, I was scarred (not of what they said, or what I wanted to tell them, but the effects/ramifications of my actions in Preston Hollow) that after all of the subjects we’ve talked about in 2 hours, they decide to comment (destructively) on race in America; this has another blog post that I’m working on… don’t want to go too far on this road for this post.

I have to continually think about my thoughts and actions:  As an African-American man in America, 6 feet tall, larger than an average white person (as this is relevant to this discussion because our society is still controlled by white males and their influences), voicetrous, and can (and will) state my opinion on matters, so I can have an OPPORTUNITY to accomplish what I want.  In this society, if I falter, I can easily be oust from the main population as a convict, trouble-maker, or even die.  I’m sorry, but all of this goes through my head every time I make an opinion of something in public, or when I accidentally bump into someone I don’t know, or write a post that can ruffle feathers.  In effect, this can cause me (and others like me) to error on the side of caution, or not even acknowledge it-which both are detrimental not only to my ego, but the healing of America.  Do you have to go through these thoughts?  If not, then you are privileged.

Back to the “topic” of this blog:  Before you judge anyone, please be sure to walk in their shoes first.  We all have things to improve on, meaning no one is perfect, and EVERYONE is flawed… So friends, If you don’t see anything new on my website, please feel free to reach out to me; it’s not because I don’t have anything to write, I may be processing things so much that I won’t express my thoughts.  Shake me out of that, please?  That’s how we all improve in this society.