Tag Archives: education

Women ROCK! Seriously… Y’all Do!

Though March 8th is touted as International Women’s Day, I want to make it clear that I won’t use this day only to celebrate women, or verbally praise or acknowledge, or even go above and beyond my education to “learn” of the contributions women have done in my culture, society, or the world.  I will not trivialize this day like many do Black History Month (yes, I took a jab at all of the ignorant people who don’t care about black people outside of February…), because I somewhat understand the importance of this day; it’s not to force-feed people into feminism, nor is it a mandate that today people have to consider everything woman says is true out of guilt from the past transgressions men (and other women) have put on talented women who approached a glass ceiling, preventing them to achieve their personal, professional, or aspirational goals.  No, that’s not the reason of the declaration of International Women’s Day.

We acknowledge International Women’s Day because you ROCK, and having a designated day to reflect on how women impact our lives provides food for the soul (pun was intended) as we (myself included) in all of daily lives can improve how we interact, consider, or treat women throughout the rest of the year.  That’s the spirit of this day (similar to Black History Month, or Small Business Week that was last week, or National Hispanic Heritage Month that we will celebrate in the fall).  It’s a day to say “thank you” and ensure we remain conscious, as human beings, that we shall move forward, and not fall backward…

There were (and are) numerous women who’ve impacted my life…  First, my mother, who without her I will not exist, is a remarkably strong women with a kind heart; the real backbone of the Houston family.  My sister, Natalie, whose spirit, strength, and intellect is so contagious that I can’t help but smile and do the right thing because she laid the appropriate blueprint for success out.  My girlfriend, who is so smart and cares for her students so much, that she will directly be the cause of a better society, not only through her work, but her influence in college students.  I’ve grown up with friends, peers, and mentors who have motivated me to be a man; physically so I can protect them, intellectually, so I can teach them (I KNOW they don’t want to hear that, lol) , and spiritually, so I can lead them, and vice versa.

Without saying too much more, and for me to spread out this appreciation throughout days outside of March 8th, I just want to say “Thank You” to all the women in my life (and abroad) for your presence, your contributions, and being awesome teammates.  You all ROCK!

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BLACK is a dirty word?????

So today is March 2nd.  And I’m about to write about Black Culture.  Yes, I know I’m a month late (or am I????) and I’ve had an itch to write on this topic for the last 30 days, but my reasonings to write evolved continuously as I was more of an observer/witness of people throughout the month of February; how the political environment has unfolded this season (both locally and nationally), how my black friends continue to be frustrated as we are experiencing history repeat itself as people marginalize our contributions until it’s convenient (I’m typing this at a coffee house and hear nothing but pop songs that were either performed or written by African Americans, after Black History Month-that says something) but then totally exploit what we do through mass media outlets (mostly our negative attributes) to reinforce the mindsets that blacks are buffoons and should be confined to the realms of entertainment, athletics, or pleasures, except of course for an exceptional few that escaped and “gets ‘American’ culture”…

I also witness how my non-black friends are either VERY CONFUSED why we even celebrate Black History Month; they get defensive because their culture don’t receive the same amount of “exposure” or judge blacks for not conforming to the system and just accept “the American Way”…”Matt, how would you feel if we had ‘White History’ month?”  Ahhh… You do…  “So why don’t they celebrate other cultures like the Asians or Hispanics?”  Ahhhh… They do  :-(… It’s so draining to hear every person outside of my culture (and some idiots who are black) question EVERYTHING we do.

Conversely, other non-blacks, who are empathetic of our struggle, gets railroaded by both sides, being shunned out of white or “mainstream” culture for venturing out too far from home base and being in the vicinity of the “leopards”, but then being the beneficiary of a vicious lashing out blacks would dish out on them out of frustration from our situations, either placed via a system or themselves….  Frustrating and confusing them why they are evening trying to enlighten either themselves or others.

I can write a book about this (in fact, there are several books we ALL can read, starting with the Mis-Education of the Negro- so if you want to blame someone for Black History Month, go to the source and see his rationale and then talk to me… and understand it’s not about it being the shortest day of the month…) but I only want to make one observation hit me like a ton of bricks this year:  People are genuinely scared of the mere word “Black”.  That’s it.  That simple.  Before we can even go deeper of the human aspect or socio-economic factors, or phycological effects of slavery, Jim Crow, drugs, and the exploitation of blacks, people are automatically turned off by the word…. Black…. The tint (not a color, btw)….. Black.  This 5-letter B-word alone derails any communication…People literally shut down when the word “BLACK” is articulated in the conversation.  Seriously, the word Black…. wow, my mind is still blown even as I type.

This may seem a bit too much, or even overkill, but the fact that rational people, who are either educated or experienced in life and who have made serious and complicated decisions can be distracted by tint or color is very discouraging for progress and growth:  don’t be afraid of the word BLACK.  I do understand the denotations and connotations that Black relates to darkness, and evil in certain senses, but remember that being in the black also means that your business is surviving.  When dealing with people, black is ONLY a descriptor of either a race or culture, nothing more, nothing less.  How you think about a black person is up to you…  Don’t make an excuse to call us evil because of our skin (this isn’t pre-industrial, racist America).

I’m starting to get on my soap box (which it is not my intention for this post).  I’m passionate about this because if we stop communication and discussion based on a word doesn’t tackle the true issue, then progress is futile.  I want people to continue to build relationships with all people of colors, not try to ignore colors and assume we are a monolith…   that’s easy out and frankly, a cheap way to communicate.  Let’s learn that in the case of skin pigmentation, black doesn’t mean evil, just as white doesn’t mean pure.   GET BEYOND THE WORD BLACK.  Instead, understand there are different positive attributes of that color, then understand that I can at least entertain building a relationship with someone, despite their color. We are all people, and our culture/race can be learned at any time…  not just February for me.

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The Mis-Education of the Millennial

This is a like to my IgniteDFW talk on the 4 ways both millennials, Baby Boomers, etc. can work together to build better relationships…

  1. Contemplate
  2. Communicate
  3. Cooperate
  4. Complete

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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!

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Yes MLK, I’m Working On Your Day…

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Memorial-washington-ftr

Without being cliche, I want thank Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his vision (not dream) of equality, equity, and economic empowerment.  Most people don’t fully acknowledge his work and plan to help ALL people build leadership infrastructures to improve in education, employment, and policy so we can improve as a society, but I today I’m saying it!!  Without your initial work, we will not be where we are today.

So I’m working on MLK Day…. Initially frustrated as I was planning to participate at the parade and other festivities to “commemorate” what he has done…  It was “our” Federal Holiday, and how dare people disrespect his legacy by working!!!

As I angrily enter the office for our work session, I noticed the diverse people here; men, women, young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian… all to help poor children with their vision so they can succeed in school, and I felt grateful…  instead of sitting and eating and drinking to celebrate Dr. King, we are actively planning and implementing plans to correct a group of people MLK fought for so they can have a better future.

The parade is important (as we always need to commemorate people’s work), but let’s stay in the spirit of his work, sacrifice, and vision; let’s work together to help ALL people, which will improve mankind.

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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!

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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.

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MLH Workout Chronicles, Day 22: Cheat Days

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Setting The Tone Dictates Your Destiny

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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.

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