30 CAIR Leaders to Attend Inauguration of Lynching Memorial in Alabama

On April 26, some 30 national leaders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, will attend the inauguration of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala.

The facility is “the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”

SEE: This New Lynching Memorial Rewrites American History (CNN)
https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/lynching-memorial-montgomery-alabama/index.html
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice
https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial

“It is critically important that American Muslim leaders and activists learn about the legacy of those who suffered under brutal slavery and segregation for hundreds of years, who fought for basic dignity and human rights, and made the civil rights movement a reality,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad, who will attend the memorial’s inauguration.

He said CAIR national and chapter leaders will also visit Montgomery, Selma and Birmingham as part of a three-day civil rights educational tour.

The Washington-based civil rights organization said it has witnessed an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.

National Geographic Publishes “The Race Issue”, Exploring Race and Diversity in the 21st Century

National Geographic has published a single-topic issue exploring the subject of race in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination this April. The April edition of the magazine, The Race Issue, features a pair of black and white fraternal twin sisters from the United Kingdom, Marcia and Millie Biggs, on the cover. The Biggs twins on the cover are a catalyst for readers to rethink what they know about race.

The Race Issue, which is accompanied by a discussion guide aimed at parents and educators, includes the latest research, powerful anecdotes and unparalleled visual storytelling to explore the human journey through the lens of labels that define, separate and unite us. Select features include:

  • “Skin Deep,” an article on the genetics of race and roots of scientific racism, by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Elizabeth Kolbert and photos by Robin Hammond.
  • “The Things That Divide Us,” a look into the evolutionary roots of group bias and current efforts to combat this bias, with text by David Berreby and photos by John Stanmeyer.
  • “The Rising Anxiety of White America,” by renowned journalist Michele Norris, who looks to 2044 when America will be less than 50 percent white and details the cultural shift already taking place. Photos by Gillian Laub.
  • “The Stop,” a powerful piece featuring anecdotes from black and Hispanic motorists who’ve been pulled over by the police due to the color of their skin. This piece was reported in partnership with ESPN’s The Undefeated, with text by Michael Fletcher and photos by National Geographic photographer Wayne Lawrence.
  • “Streets in His Name,” a photographic essay, with text by award-winning journalist Wendi C. Thomas, on streets around the world bearing MLK Jr.’s name and how they reflect the legacy he left behind.
  • “A Place of Their Own,” which showcases a new brand of activism at historically black colleges and universities as racial tensions escalate across the country. Text by Clint Smith and photos by Nina Robinson and Ruddy Roye.

The Race Issue kicks off the magazine’s “Diversity in America” series. Throughout the rest of 2018, the series looks at racial, ethnic and religious groups in the United States, including Muslims, Latinos, Asian Americans and Native Americans, and examines their changing roles in 21st-century life.

In conjunction with the publication of the issue, National Geographic has also launched a social media campaign, #IDefineMe, calling on individuals to share their experience with race and what it means to them. Through photos, videos or text across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the online community is encouraged to respond to the call-to-action: Science defines you by your DNA. Society defines you by the color of your skin. How do you define yourself? #IDefineMe

Additionally, “America Inside Out with Katie Couric,” a documentary television series covering some of the most complicated and consequential questions in American culture today, premieres April 11 on National Geographic.

The Race Issue is available online now at natgeo.com/TheRaceIssue and on print newsstands March 27th.

Mayor Bottoms Signs Agreement for City of Atlanta to Join Employment, Education and Outreach Coalition (EMPLEO)

The City of Atlanta today announced that Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an agreement for the City to join the Employment, Education, and Outreach (EMPLEO) coalition. The coalition is an initiative of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division to address the concerns of recent immigrants who are not familiar with their workplace rights and responsibilities in the U.S. Welcoming Atlanta, an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, facilitated the partnership with EMPLEO as part of its public safety and economic power programs, which also support Mayor Bottoms’ equity and education initiatives. The partnership will help protect Spanish-speaking members of the workforce, as well as employers, from illegal work practices that put them in unfair and unsafe situations.

“One of our city’s greatest strengths is found in our diversity. It is in that spirit that I am honored to announce Atlanta’s participation in the EMPLEO program,” said Mayor Bottoms.  “We believe that a government that works for everyone is a government at its best, particularly when informing residents of critical guaranteed workplace rights. In a time when certain segments of our society are targeted for their country of origin or nationality, Atlanta must send a strong signal to all its residents that they indeed have a seat at the table.”

Since its inception in Southern California in 2004, the EMPLEO alliance of community and non-governmental organizations, along with state, local and federal agencies and Hispanic consulates, has provided information and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers regarding their workplace rights and responsibilities in the United States. EMPLEO’s toll-free hotline has been instrumental in helping thousands of workers recover more than $15 million in back wages. Over the last ten years, EMPLEO has expanded its reach to also serve immigrant workers and employers in Washington, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Georgia.

The EMPLEO hot-line utilizes well-trained bilingual volunteers who are not part of any governmental organization to assist callers by referring them to the appropriate organization, consulate or state or federal agency for help. This arrangement can help ease various concerns of workers uncomfortable with contacting an agency directly. EMPLEO also protects employers and business abiding by State and Federal labor laws from unfair competition by those illegally cutting corners at the cost of the safety and wellbeing of their workers.

Overtime pay, minimum wage, discrimination, meals/breaks, and family medical leave are some of the top issues faced by Spanish-speaking employees. Most employees are afraid to report their concerns due to fears of retaliation or loss of employment. EMPLEO reduces the vulnerability of employees to retaliatory termination by investigating concerns and protecting them from reprisals.

“Workplace labor violations are one of the most common infractions reported by our Spanish-speaking workforce,” said Michelle Maziar, Director of the Welcoming Atlanta initiative. “By joining the coalition, the City of Atlanta can continue to inform and protect all members of our workforce and ensure that language is not a barrier to accessing justice.”

Georgia EMPELO participants include: DOL Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, Women’s Bureau, Consulate General of Ecuador in Atlanta, Consulate General of Honduras in Atlanta, The Latin American Association, Georgia Hispanic Construction Association, Tapestri and City of Atlanta.

Howard University Unveils New Bloomberg Finance Lab

Howard University School of Business (HUSB) recently unveiled its new Bloomberg Finance Lab in front of a standing-room only crowd of students, faculty and alumni. The lab, made possible through a generous $250,000 gift from alumnus Wendell E. Mackey, CFA, will be used to prepare students to excel in finance-related fields.

“We are extremely appreciative of Mr. Mackey’s donation to the Howard University School of Business, which not only supports the Bloomberg Finance Lab, but also student scholarships,” said President Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick. “In this full circle moment, we get to witness a student who once benefited from a quality Howard education, return to give back so that the next generation of students can experience the same.”

Mackey fondly recalls taking photos in front of the then newly constructed School of Business on the day of his graduation ceremony in 1986. It was in that moment that he vowed to one day give back to his alma mater. Today, Mackey is a Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Investment Officer for Channing Capital Management, LLC in Chicago.

“I am honored to present this gift to Howard University on behalf of myself and Channing Capital Management. I also want to thank my great business partners Rodney Herenton and Eric McKissack for their support along our journey together,” said Mackey. “The skills that the students will achieve with the added benefit of utilizing a Bloomberg Finance Lab will be invaluable to their careers.”

The Bloomberg Terminal is a software platform that provides real-time and historical data, market moving news and analytics to help leading business and financial professionals worldwide make better informed investment decisions. The service also features execution platforms for every asset class, research and a global network to communicate securely and reliably. Howard University has contracted to have 12 Terminals with two Terminals earmarked for economics and computer science students.

“We are thrilled to partner with Howard University and offer its students and professors access to the same market-moving news and data relied on by leading business and financial professionals around the globe,” said Erika Irish Brown, Bloomberg’s Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion. “We hope that Bloomberg Finance Lab’s training and coursework will give Howard students seeking careers in financial services an additional competitive edge, while also familiarizing Howard’s computer science students with the technology underlying the Bloomberg Terminal.”

“The Bloomberg Lab will greatly enhance the academic skills of our undergraduate and graduate students in finance, accounting, marketing, supply chain and management, and enhance their professional marketability,” said Barron Harvey, Ph.D., dean of the Howard University School of Business. “In addition, the lab will greatly impact the research productivity of our dedicated faculty in the School of Business.”

As part of the gift to the University, a portion will be used to establish the Wendell E. Mackey/Channing Capital Management, LLC Scholarship, which will sponsor four student scholarships over the next two years for School of Business students. During the ceremony, the two scholarships were presented to Christopher Austin, a junior finance major from Chicago, and Taylor Stephens, a freshman finance major from Atlanta.

“I very much appreciate this scholarship award for the simple fact that someone wants to help me advance my education,” said Austin. “There is no better feeling than knowing that others believe in my future and want to help me along the way toward pursing my goals and dreams.”

How Do We As Black People Get Our Wealth Back?

black business, black wealth, black lives matter, black entrepreneurship, black business

There is no such thing as a bad economy in sovereign nations; a sagging economy, yes. Bad? No. I can’t count how many times I’ve explained this, but doesn’t ache me to do so. The only thing sovereign economies do is experience a shift in needs. When trauma hits an economy, people shift what they desire to consume and invest in. While this demand is shifting, businesses scramble to be able to accommodate these needs of consumers and are often forced to downsize or lay-off workers as they reinvent. Now, during this process, the economy contracts and those holding the wrong investments see a financial loss indefinitely, while others see their losses temporarily. So who’s who? Fact is the rich lost money during our recent recession but because much of their assets are in paper (stocks, business ownership/sellable equity, etc.), and these are instruments, which, quite frankly, see fluctuations in value almost daily, gives these people the ability to bounce back.

 

The Worker Mindset

I remember when I bought my first residential property in Georgia. A security system salesman knocked on my door attempting to sell me one of their security systems. I wasn’t interested. He wasn’t pleased. He became irritated over my refusal and said, “I am only trying to help you protect your biggest investment.” I didn’t issue a rebuttal but I was silently insulted. I thought to myself “How could this be my biggest investment? What about my human capital, my stock investments, my children’s education, business investments, and my investment properties that actually generates cash and wealth opportunities beyond my physical labor?” Frankly, I believe a resident is a liability. Assets are those that not only gain value, but pay for themselves and generate additional income. We slave to maintain our homes.

 

However, after looking at the numbers I can clearly see where he would get such a belief. He is not alone in his ideology. The average American’s major wealth is in their residential property and very rarely extends beyond that. We work hard to pay-off our homes and reach a vested pension or retirement. We try to play it safe. But is this really the safe route? In the book, “The Millionaire Next Door” the authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko said, “Being an entrepreneur or investor is the safest way to live in America. You have to upset all of your customers to lose 100% of your income, while being an employee you only need to upset one person (your boss) to lose 100% of your income.” After reading this book, I began to live by this theory!ent

Market Watch cites that just over 90% the middle-class worker’s wealth is in their home and between 2003 and 2007, these middle-class workers collectively lost (forever) $2.3 trillion in wealth. To top it off, those in control of real estate appreciation is the very corporate regulators who caused the bubble to bust in the first place. Since the no-down payment and “stated loans” are a thing of the past, investors are not rushing to make re-financing or purchasing easy, causing a slowdown in homes being built or available, thus leading to slow appreciation.

 

But why are the corporations able to stomach such wrongdoings? Why are they able to have such a negative impact on the lives of workers and move forward with business as usual?

 

The real problem lies in our financial dynamics. These dynamics doesn’t require millions either. It simply matters what position you put yourself in. Historically, we were in an interdependent relationship; workers relied on corporations for their wealth and corporations relied on workers for theirs. But the truth (that some doubters felt was fantasy) is revealing itself. Corporations indeed care less for workers as they do the financial gains. They are truly here for wealth not workers.

Technology is now able to work 10 times as hard with 10 times less errors than workers. Its productivity is well above the worker without the “emotional headache”, and let’s not discuss the workers overseas who technology has allowed corporations to employ in your place.

 

Think about it. The security guard is being replaced by sophisticated security systems, the receptionist is being replaced answering services, salespersons are being replaced by newsletter programs, the bi-lingual worker is being replaced by the translation software. So what do you do?

 

You Are Not Doomed

The truth is as long as there are people seeking convenience and Capitalists seeking returns, there will always be earning opportunities available for anyone who has guts. The beauty supply industry is one I advocate for simply because it is a $15 billion industry with almost 14,000 stores and less than 3% of them are black-owned. I see great opportunity because Blacks generate 96% of the revenue regardless of the economy. We can simply give ourselves a stimulus package by focusing our spending on these 3% of owners eventually creating 13% owners, then 23% owners, then 33% owners, etc.

 

Competition of non-blacks should not be the concern, it is replacing existing stores with our top-notched, professionally ran black-owned stores should be the focus. I am not speaking on some “hope” theory. I opened a store between two Korean-owned store that drove both of those out of business. We focus on replacing. Education in this industry is definitely vital. Entrepreneurship is key!

 

The solution for rebounding may lie in the pre-industrialization age; when money wasn’t backed by GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and when the GDP wasn’t so speculative. This was a time when credit wasn’t popular and consumption was based on real demand. It is a time when entrepreneurship was the norm and employment was for those who were indentured servants, or were mentally or physically challenged. It’s a time when our career pursuit was mostly based on our love, expertise, and passion for the craft; not tied to the amount of income or desperation.

 

The bottom line is regaining our wealth isn’t even a Black or White issue. There are many race-based issues but this isn’t one of them. This is an insight vs. ignorance issue. Those who feel safe in their dependency will suffer and those who understand history may be repeating itself will survive.

How black employees unknowingly hold back black businesses

As we know, business start-up funding is often short in the black community. With only 19 black banks in the country, black entrepreneurs are often forced to seek funding from other sources, including major banks that mostly prefer working with entrepreneurs who are already well capitalized. Catch 22.

The thing about any new business is the staff has to perform impeccably in order for it to grow and become profitable. Those profits can then lead to more staff, higher wages, larger location, employee benefits, better technology and more. Businesses don’t have to start with all of this already in hand, plus that’s not a strong reality for black businesses, but they can build themselves into those things.

Sadly, employees often treat a business based on how it looks and feel visually, even in the beginning. This is businesses with large buildings and TV ads tend to get workers to give better effort in the workplace. To get workers to see a small unknown business differently, they would have to be visionaries and understand growth. Because black businesses are often underfunded and typically only attract black workers when it first starts, black employees treat the new black business as-if it’s undesirable and that behavior holds the business back. young black business man

While many white owned, Asian-owned and middle eastern owned businesses start with great funding, thus they have a great atmosphere, which makes workers put their best foot forward every day, it’s not the norm for a black business. If these non-black businesses do start underfunded, it is often offset by the very culture of those groups where they are more prone to be willing to be a part of something small until that something small becomes something big, especially if it is an origination of their own community.

It’s a vicious cycle. Underfunded black business, even when they have a great product and great leadership can still suffer from poor workmanship out of its workers. It’s not that black workers hate black businesses, they just hate the feeling of working somewhere that is not prestigious, plush and powerful. It’s a human thing more than it is a racial thing.

Because enterprising funds are not bountiful in our communities, it makes our businesses look shotty and poorly ran. Meanwhile, that is not always the case or often has another cause. The cause stems before the performance of the worker. It begins with how the worker views the business. How the business is viewed can be closely tied to how much money was invested and how much remains in its kitty. The kitty is often tied to the start-up funds the business was able to attain. You get the correlation?

Well, you may say, “What about them getting funding once they are already in business, it’s usually easier then, right?” Well, the thing is most banks only issue loans or lines for up to 10% of the company’s gross revenues. Here again, if the revenues are low, then so will be the funding even after being opened; and revenues are the direct result of the product, people and process. (Back to square one.)

It’s a rippling effect. business partners

However, the more we start to wake-up and see the end result of great black-owned businesses that started out of the gate with a limp, the more confidence our workers will build in performing well for them. Let’s not stick our heads in the sand anymore. Let’s truly be committed to build our finances, businesses, patronage, commitment and overall wealth by loving our community so much that we are willing to “work” for it.

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS MARKETING TOO SOON?

Most entrepreneurs start out with a great idea. This is where entrepreneurship is born; in the mind. It is usually born out of frustration over something in one’s daily life or some type of problem they would like to see solved. This is where innovation lives.

The problem with most entrepreneurs is they don’t even realize they have an entrepreneurial spirit until they actually want to start taking steps. They overlook those brilliant ideas that hit them on a whim and charge it off to just “another good idea”.

Because of this, most entrepreneurs don’t prepare and cultivate their spirit early. They don’t invest in building upon their spirit until they are at the place of actually producing a product, service or launching their business. Not preparing themselves for entrepreneurship way ahead of time is the very ideal that causes so many entrepreneurs to fail right out of the gate. They go into business thinking everyone will play fair, meanwhile the competition has been readying themselves for years with training and finance management. The competition already in business protects their territory and won’t throw you a housewarming or bring you a pie when you have your grand opening. Remember that! It’s a battle for the customer. no money

Recently, someone asked me to give them cheap marketing ideas for marketing their product. They even cited they were a single parent. It is something I commonly hear. (Sidebar: Ladies, stop doing that. Stop highlighting your “single-parent status as a way to play victim or get sympathy. It shows weakness, in my opinion. It’s like you’re starting off with excuses. Just know in your mind that you’re a single parent and deal with that privately. Don’t lead with that. Too much received sympathy will weaken your entrepreneurial prowess.)

Here’s what you need to understand in the grand scheme of things. When you are young in entrepreneurship, your focus should be on going and getting as big as you can. It should be rooted in the idea that you can win! Now, this idea should be invested in as well, way before it is time for you to market. This would mean that you’ve adjusted your life so you can set aside adequate enough funds to produce quality goods or services and are prepared to serve the wave of people that may come in from your marketing campaign. So let me get to the question. Is there such a thing as marketing too soon? No. Building-a-Business

Marketing is a culmination of activities: word-of-mouth, advertising, publicity, surveys, speaking engagements and more. You can get involved in these activities even before you actually have the goods or services ready to go as long as the market has an “expected time of delivery” and you meet that date. However, what you can do too soon is get massive exposure. You may not even realize how great your idea is until you see the demand you have created. You may not know how great of an idea you have until you begin marketing. However, once that crazy demand is created, then what? Are you ready to serve them?

The thing you really don’t want, especially as a new entrepreneur, is to create a bad first impression. Remember, you’re not some inconspicuous employee. You are the entrepreneur, the enterpriser, the owner, the face of the idea you just launched. What you don’t want is to go down in flames with a bad, shaky or flighty name, a place many entrepreneurs find themselves. When I see people wanting to market but have no money, I get scared for them. I worry that they may be another person with a bad experience at entrepreneurship who now relegates their self to a life as an employee because of the traumatic experience and criticism they received from their customers and friends due to such a bad entrepreneurial approach.

So, as you are working on your idea, work on putting up the money to fund it. Ensure you market within your ability to deliver on that promise to your customer. Exposure can be a blessing or a curse. Too many people want to hit “Good Morning America” but don’t have the money, time or capacity to meet the demand after the sale. And “after the sale” is really where your money is…

HERE ARE 44 THINGS BARACK OBAMA DID AS OUR 44th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Whether or not you agreed with his politics or leadership, you must admit that President Obama has gotten some things done. As symbolic as his presidency was, he was not a symbolic president. He actually worked and made his tenure memorable.’

Just in case you have had memory shortage, here are 44 things he did while he sat in office.

 

  1. Drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 30,000.
  2. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.
  3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.
  4. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
  5. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.
  6. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United States rose in ten of fifteen countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent. pm banner
  7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades.
  1. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.
  2. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.
  3. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.
  4. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.
  5. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi: In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.
  6. Increased Support for Veterans (Finally!): With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.
  7. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.
  8. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.
  9. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards: Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.
  10. Gave HBCU’s Financial Boost:$98 million in new money for HBCUs at the Department of Education. (This could’ve been more, but hey, that’s me!) This includes a 5% or $13 million increase for the Strengthening HBCUs program and support for the $85 million in mandatory funding for HBCUs in the pending Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.
    1. $20.5 million for the HBCU Capital Financing program, to provide HBCUs with access to financing for the repair, renovation, and construction or acquisition of educational facilities, instructional equipment, research instrumentation, and physical infrastructure. This funding will support $279 million in new loans in 2011, more than $100 million more than in 2010.
    2. $64.5 million for the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institution program, a $3.1 million or 5% increase.
  1. Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis: To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.
  2. Passed Mini Stimuli: To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.
  3. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants: New EPA restrictions on mercury and toxic pollution, issued in December 2011, likely to lead to the closing of between sixty-eight and 231 of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants. Estimated cost to utilities: at least $11 billion by 2016. Estimated health benefits: $59 billion to $140 billion. Will also significantly reduce carbon emissions and, with other regulations, comprises what’s been called Obama’s “stealth climate policy.”
  4. Passed Credit Card Reforms: Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, and strictly limits overdraft and other fees. Thank you Mr. President!
  5. Eliminated Pay Equality Laws: Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 (as a matter of fact, this was one of the FIRST things President Obama ever signed), giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago. Under previous law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the statute of limitations on such suits ran out 180 days after the alleged discrimination occurred, even if the victims never knew about it.
  6. Protected Two Liberal Seats on the U.S. Supreme Court: Nominated and obtained confirmation for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve, in 2009; and Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to serve, in 2010. They replaced David Souter and John Paul Stevens, respectively.
  7. Improved Food Safety System: In 2011, signed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which boosts the Food and Drug Administration’s budget by $1.4 billion and expands its regulatory responsibilities to include increasing number of food inspections, issuing direct food recalls, and reviewing the current food safety practices of countries importing products into America.
  8. Achieved New START Treaty: Signed with Russia (2010) and won ratification in Congress (2011) of treaty that limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads (down from 2,200) and 700 launchers (down from more than 1,400), and reestablished and strengthened a monitoring and transparency program that had lapsed in 2009, through which each country can monitor the other.
  9. Expanded National Service: Signed Serve America Act in 2009, which authorized a tripling of the size of AmeriCorps. Program grew 13 percent to 85,000 members across the country by 2012, when new House GOP majority refused to appropriate more funds for further expansion.
  10. Expanded Wilderness and Watershed Protection: Signed Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (2009), which designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness, created thousands of miles of recreational and historic trails, and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.
  11. Gave the FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco: Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009). Nine years in the making and long resisted by the tobacco industry, the law mandates that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients, obtain FDA approval for new tobacco products, and expand the size and prominence of cigarette warning labels, and bans the sale of misleadingly labeled “light” cigarette brands and tobacco sponsorship of entertainment events.
  12. Pushed Federal Agencies to Be Green Leaders: Issued executive order in 2009 requiring all federal agencies to make plans to soften their environmental impacts by 2020. Goals include 30 percent reduction in fleet gasoline use, 26 percent boost in water efficiency, and sustainability requirements for 95 percent of all federal contracts. Because federal government is the country’s single biggest purchaser of goods and services, likely to have ripple effects throughout the economy for years to come.
  13. Passed Fair Sentencing Act: Signed 2010 legislation that reduces sentencing disparity between crack versus powder cocaine possession from 100 to 1 to 18 to 1.
  14. Trimmed and Reoriented Missile Defense: Cut the Reagan-era “Star Wars” missile defense budget, saving $1.4 billion in 2010, and canceled plans to station antiballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in favor of sea-based defense plan focused on Iran and North Korea.
  15. Began Post-Post-9/11 Military Builddown: After winning agreement from congressional Republicans and Democrats in summer 2011 budget deal to reduce projected defense spending by $450 billion, proposed new DoD budget this year with cuts of that size and a new national defense strategy that would shrink ground forces from 570,000 to 490,000 over the next ten years while increasing programs in intelligence gathering and cyberwarfare.
  16. Tightened Sanctions on Iran: In effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program, signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) to punish firms and individuals who aid Iran’s petroleum sector. In late 2011 and early 2012, coordinated with other major Western powers to impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s banks and with Japan, South Korea, and China to shift their oil purchases away from Iran.
  17. Cracked Down on Bad For-Profit Colleges: In effort to fight predatory practices of some for-profit colleges, Department of Education issued “gainful employment” regulations in 2011 cutting off commercially focused schools from federal student aid funding if more than 35 percent of former students aren’t paying off their loans and/or if the average former student spends more than 12 percent of his or her total earnings servicing student loans.
  18. Invested Heavily in Renewable Technology: As part of the 2009 stimulus, invested $90 billion, more than any previous administration, in research on smart grids, energy efficiency, electric cars, renewable electricity generation, cleaner coal, and biofuels.
  19. Improved School Nutrition: In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the amount of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students.
  20. Expanded Hate Crimes Protections: Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.
  21. Created Recovery.gov: Web site run by independent board of inspectors general looking for fraud and abuse in stimulus spending, provides public with detailed information on every contract funded by $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thanks partly to this transparency, board has uncovered very little fraud, and Web site has become national model: “The stimulus has done more to promote transparency at almost all levels of government than any piece of legislation in recent memory,” reports Governing magazine.
  22. Pushed Broadband Coverage: Proposed and obtained in 2011 Federal Communications Commission approval for a shift of $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.
  23. Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.
  24. Brokered Agreement for Speedy Compensation to Victims of Gulf Oil Spill: Though lacking statutory power to compel British Petroleum to act, used moral authority of his office to convince oil company to agree in 2010 to a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; $6.5 billion already paid out without lawsuits. By comparison, it took nearly two decades for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill case to receive $1.3 billion.
  25. Expanded Stem Cell Research: In 2009, eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas.
  26. Provided Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers: In 2009, signed Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with black and Native American farmers who the government cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties in years past. $1.2 billion of that went to black farmers.
  27. Crafting Next-Generation School Tests: Devoted $330 million in stimulus money to pay two consortia of states and universities to create competing versions of new K-12 student performance tests based on latest psychometric research. New tests could transform the learning environment in vast majority of public school classrooms beginning in 2014.

 

7 Websites that help you find black-owned businesses

supportblackbusinesses

Blacks have endured a lot of hardship in America. Most of that hardship came from restrictive rights. We didn’t have the right to own, earn or occupy. When these restrictions were lifted in the 1950’s Blacks saw it as a situation of “hope”. We naively believed that our day had finally come. We believed that we were finally going to be seen as equal. In response to that, we abandoned our “own”, citing “ours” as inferior. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and that equality has yet to emerge. Black men are still being shot, lynched, maimed and falsely convicted.

Due to these unsolved elements of America, black people have decided to find “freedom” elsewhere. This elsewhere is being found in entrepreneurship. However, the fight isn’t yet over. There is a process getting blacks to trust and value black-owned businesses. Many of them remain hard to find, which makes finances slim and thus they are hard to be found.

Here are 7 sites that exists for that very reason: bring consumers to the black entrepreneur’s door.

  1. iZania.com – a social networking site for Black entrepreneurs, professionals, and consumers. The site includes a business directory, networking forum, online marketplace, blogs and more.
  2. WhereYouCameFrom.biz – a local business search app with up-to-date information on black owned businesses in the Atlanta area. The businesses are listed across categories and even ranked according to the number of referral counts received by peers.
  3. WeBuyBlack.com – the largest online marketplace for black businesses and sellers. Black-owned vendors include clothing and accessories, jewelry, toys and games for children, health and beauty products, products for the home, and more. rebuilding the black infrastructure
  4. Afroworld.org – is a web site of global black businesses and black professionals. Their slogan is “We Help Afroworld Professionals and Consumers Connect.” The site allows consumers to search for African American professionals and businesses by specialty or location, and compare quotes, reviews, and profiles on each Afroworld professional.
  5. BlackBusinessNetwork.com – this site specializes in marketing the products and services of black-owned businesses to black consumers. Business owners from all over the world can sell their products and services through the online store, and consumers can shop for products they know are made from Black-owned companies.
  6. PurchaseBlack.com – an online marketplace to find quality products from selected Black-owned businesses. They also have a mobile app that allows customers to search black-owned products and services.
  7. 2MillionJobs.com – an online initiative that encourages people to spend $20 every week with local and/or online Black businesses. Their goal is to create two million jobs for black workers and eliminate unemployment for blacks by the year 2017.

Don’t find them to ask for the hook-up or discount. Support them to the fullest with your finances. Happy shopping!

 

3 TIPS FOR AN ENTREPRENEUR WHO USES FACEBOOK

Facebook is a great platform for young entrepreneurs but only when it is used properly. The thing about me is I am a big fan of low input for high output techniques. Facebook is easy to use and a post only takes a few seconds to complete, plus the caveat is it’s free. If you look at social media across the board, they are all pretty much free. This is because the users are not the customers. They are the product. The advertisers are the customers who are looking to sell. So having these platforms free simply encourages more users to sign up and keep using the platform. This model is so successful that these platforms have become a way of life for many users. They can’t do without them. But what about for entrepreneurs, is this the way of the future for them?

The benefit of social media is it is a great way to gain exposure, but not necessarily always the outlet for sales immediately. Sales come through these outlets when companies (individuals) have a strong presence in traditional media (paid-for or publicity) outside of social media. Social media is the icing, not the cake. Sadly, new, young, and budget-sensitive entrepreneurs gravitate to this free means of marketing. The negative impact for these entrepreneurs take place when tYoung black woman CEO using computerhey spend too much time on social media; many of them having it tied to their cell phones, making them engaged with social media all day long. So let’s do the math: Let’s say you spend 16 hours a day attached to your cell phone and 8 of those hours monitoring and posting on Facebook but only get 3 sales per week, you pretty much had an input of 21 hours with an output of 3 sales. Depending on your price point, the cost of engaging in Facebook can be far greater than the benefits.

Our addiction comes from five things: 1. Free Postings. 2. The desire to be heard. 3. Easy. 4. Convenient. 5. Quick. This can cause damage to the progress of your business, especially if you (the multi-hat-wearing-CEO) are the one who manages the Facebook account. The time spent to think up something neat to say, post it and converse with your followers/friends can be a severe distraction from the major branding and growth of your business.  There are 3 ways to ensure you are not “over posting”:

  1. Ensure the post accentuates a marketing campaign on radio, television or in print?
  2. Treat each post as if it is costing you money to post ($10 is a good range) and treat each “surf” like a billable timer of $.50 per minute. This will teach you restraint.
  3. Will the post prompt friends or followers to make a purchase, give a referral?

I know of many aspiring entrepreneurs spend enormous time on Facebook engaging in posts and comments that may make them popular. But is it making them profitable? That’s a truth many of us run from. My favorite perspective of the top 3 is to consider Facebook a cost. If you had to pay for each post you wouldn’t post as much, and definitely not make much frivolous posts or spend so much time on it. Think of it like this. Facebook wouldn’t charge you to post because it would only decrease Facebook’s activity and this is the level of activity they are able to boast to advertisers about. But what you, as an entrepreneur, must refrain from is following the masses of consumer behavior. Your behavior must be measurable. It must be that of a producer. Use social media profitably, because popularity is just a contest that you can’t take to the bank.

Devin Robinson is a former business & economics professor, author of 9 self-help books and the founder of Urban Business Institute and Beauty Supply Institute. He is regularly involved in economic activism activities that benefits black entrepreneurs and leader of the #BlackBusinessMatter movement. Visit his various websites, MyPowerMove.com, BlackBusinessesMatter.net and DevinRobinson.com.