Three African American Racial Justice Leaders Respond To Starbucks Effort To Rectify Wrongful Arrest

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Heather McGhee, president of Demos recently released a statement regarding their participation on the Starbucks Advisory Committee, which is addressing the company’s efforts to prevent discrimination in its stores.

On April 12, two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were arrested by police at a Starbucks location while merely waiting to meet with a business associate.  A Starbucks manager had called the police because she said the men – who had only been in the store for a brief period – had yet to make a purchase.

The racial justice leaders issued the following statement:

“The arrest of the two young men in Starbucks is a stark example of the ongoing struggle of African Americans for full citizenship and dignity in American life. Since last week, a number of other high-profile incidents involving discrimination against African Americans demonstrates the breadth and shameful persistence of this problem.

“We were encouraged by the clear and unequivocal statements by Starbucks’ leadership, expressing their desire and intention to deal directly with the issue of racism. This is a rare phenomenon in corporate America. We have pushed and will continue to work to ensure that this highly visible moment – for Starbucks’ 175,000 employees, the other major corporations who watch Starbucks, and the country –  is done right. We have been clear from the start that the company must build a framework for anti-bias training that extends beyond the planned May 29th training and that becomes part of the company culture. In addition to the need for an anti-discrimination curriculum – which will consist of an ongoing education for all employees, with real measures for evaluation and monitoring – we made clear that a thorough review of the company policies, as well as consultation with local, not just national leaders, is necessary as they move forward.

“Even with these caveats and concerns – and, we imagine, there will be more as this process unfolds – we realize the extraordinary step that Starbucks is taking to do better on an issue that affects every workplace. Starbucks exists in 8,000 communities in our country. We see this effort as an opportunity for Starbucks to demonstrate leadership in advancing a commitment to equal treatment and opportunity in true partnership with the communities they serve. We expect to issue a report to Starbucks, with recommendations about the company’s policies, a multi-phase training framework, and the ongoing work they will need to undertake in order to really move the ball.

“We know that the problem of anti-Black bias and other forms of discrimination is not Starbucks’ problem alone; it’s a deeply American problem, made consequential and often lethal by the compounding force of unaccountable, discriminatory policing. A larger issue here is the mass criminalization of our people, and we each made it clear to Starbucks that they have the privilege and responsibility to influence not just employee practices, but police practices in Philadelphia and across the country. We will continue to advocate on that front, both with Starbucks and with the police, and welcome your thoughts about how we can make the greatest impact.”

3 Presidents Who Shaped Our Food System and the Role of African Americans in It

Many of our past presidents were farmers or ranchers at some point in their lives, but a handful of them significantly changed how we grow our food and eat it. We can’t examine that history, however, without also acknowledging the legacy of slavery. Let’s consider how three presidents shaped our food system—and how their interventions impacted African Americans.

1. George Washington: Agricultural innovation and slave-dependent farming

Post-presidency, Washington grew a variety of crops on his8000-acre Mount Vernon estate. Washington was an early proponent of composting for soil health and phased out tobacco (Virginia’s main crop then) for a diversified seven-crop rotation system including wheat, corn and legumes.

However, this work was only made possible by slaves. A slave-owner since age 11, when he inherited ten slaves from his father, Washington bought and sold black people throughout his life, reportedly treating them severely and separating family members  through sale. At the time of his death 317 slaves maintained his estate.

The devastating legacy of racial injustice at Mount Vernon is still with us, but it’s gradually being undone. Quakers purchased some of that land before the Civil War expressly to prove that farming could be profitable without slavery. Today, the site is occupied by the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Agriculture, whose work includes a mobile market delivering fresh, affordable produce to food-insecure neighborhoods in the Washington, DC area.

2. Thomas Jefferson: Crop experimentation and a legacy of slave-centered agriculture

On his Monticello estate, Jefferson experimented with 330 varieties of 89 species of vegetables and herbs and 170 varieties of the fruits. His trials often resulted in failure, leading neighbors to call him “the worst farmer in Virginia.” However, Jefferson shared seeds and soil health-building techniques, promoting commercial market gardening and spreading new crops that expanded the nation’s food traditions and palate.

Jefferson’s legacy, perhaps even more than Washington’s, is marred by his views on race and complicity in slavery. Jefferson embodied the inherent social contradictions at the birth of this nation that we have yet to resolve, by denouncing the institution of slavery while profiting from it. He owned some 600 slaves, employed brutal overseers, and fathered children with his slave Sally Hemings through a relationship that, by definition, couldn’t have been consensual. His goal of “improving” slavery as a step towards ending it was misguided, as it was used as an argument for its perpetuation

3. Abraham Lincoln: The USDA and the land-grant college system

Before his presidency, Lincoln advocated for technological advances and education for farmers. In office, he created the US Department of Agriculture (USDA, which he called “The People’s Department”) and signed the Morrill Land Grant College Act, which facilitated the transfer of public land to each of the states to establish colleges of agriculture and the mechanical arts.

Lincoln fought a war over slavery, issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and sent the 13th Amendment prohibiting slavery to the states for ratification before his death in 1865. But it would be another quarter century before freed slaves in the former Confederate states would get the benefit of a land-grant education Lincoln envisioned. A second Morrill Act in 1890 required each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion for its land-grant colleges, or else to designate a separate institution for students of color.

Tech Industry’s Diversity Discussions Rife with Contradictions, New Research Report from CompTIA Reveals

 

As America’s technology industry strives to build a more gender and racially diverse workforce, a new report released today by leading tech industry association CompTIA reveals a series of contradictory viewpoints on the current state and future goals for workplace diversity.

Nearly eight in ten high-tech industry workers surveyed by CompTIA say they are satisfied with their organization’s diversity efforts; and 87 percent say they’ve worked in a department comprised of a diverse group of employees in the last year.

At the same time, 45 percent of workers say the industry has lagged in promoting diversity, while another third at least partially agree. This position is backed by statistics from the U.S. Equal Employment Commission and other sources, which find a tech industry workforce that’s overwhelmingly white and male, with fewer African Americans, Hispanics or women than other industries.

“The human element may be at play here,” said Carolyn April, senior director for industry analysis at CompTIA. “People want to be aspirational; they want to believe that their company is very progressive and encouraging, offering job opportunities to any qualified candidate, regardless of demographics.”

One area of general consensus is on diversity’s impact on innovation. Nearly two-thirds of respondents agree that an organization with a heterogeneous employee base is more likely to produce world-class innovation than one that is largely homogeneous in makeup. Another 28 percent at least partially agree with that premise.

One of the more curious findings of the survey relates to gender. Asked if women and men are naturally inclined to succeed in roles that amplify their gender traits, nearly half of respondents agreed. But among executives and senior managers, 61 percent agreed with the statement, compared with 46 percent of middle managers and 22 percent of staff-level workers.

“One possible reason so many executive-level respondents believe women and men succeed more in roles that play to gender traits is that the vast majority of senior managers in the high-tech industry are men,” said Yvette Steele, who manages CompTIA’s Advancing Diversity in Technology community.

“Women are more likely to be working in middle management or at the staff level, which could explain the disparity of the responses,” Steele continued. “When it comes to moving up the ladder gender stereotypes, unconscious bias as well as prejudice affect progress toward greater equity.”

The industry’s gender gap is widest when it comes to pay equity. Two-thirds of women in high tech say they would leave their job if the discovered pay imbalances among employees doing equal work, compared to 44 percent of men who said the same.

On an optimistic note, a majority of workers feel things are changing, with 59 percent of all respondents saying the industry has made strides toward a more diverse workforce.

“The industry is having a reckoning moment,” April concluded. “Maybe companies and executives didn’t realize that diversity has been a problem, but the majority now do, and more resources are being allocated toward diversity. We’re still in a learning curve, but we’re on a positive trajectory.”

To promote greater diversity with the technology industry, CompTIA has established two communities, on Advancing Diversity in Technology and Advancing Women in Technology. More than 2,800 individuals are active in the two communities.

CompTIA’s “Diversity in the High-Tech Industry” report is based on two online surveys conducted in December 2017; one to 400 U.S. IT professionals, and the other to 200 workers outside the high-tech industry. The complete report is available free of charge at https://www.comptia.org/resources/technology-diversity-research.

Historically Black Colleges In Need of a Makeover?

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Like many parents around this time, I too have a 17 year-old son who is about to be heading off to college. Since he was in the 9th grade I have been asking him if he would like to attend an HBCU (Historical Black Colleges and University). His answer then, and still remains, “No.” When I ask why, he stated that he doesn’t believe an HBCU will give him a true picture of the real world. He went on to say that the majority of America is not black, and though he has interest in the black progression, he remains adamant that an HBCU won’t prepare him for what’s real out there.

I sat and thought about his comments for quite some time. He is a very intelligent young man with a lot of inherited radicalism in his blood. However, I always encourage my children to run towards their true mission with passion. I tell them that God sent each of us here with an individual purpose that may be totally antithesis to those of even their siblings. So I don’t push him where I “feel” he should go.

Instead, I internalize. I objectively look at his opinions and the facts. The facts are HBCUs have been around for over 100 years and were created to give disenfranchised blacks a place to obtain higher learning that would prepare them for the challenges the state of the country, then, (Jim Crow & Reconstruction) posed. It worked. HBCUs developed some of the most brilliant minds and pumped out some of the most courageous Black Americans and made progressive differences in the black community.

But what about now? Is that still happening? Have they lost their zeal by not following the “Who Moved My Cheese?” mantra? Today, how is a black HBCU graduate any different from a black non-HBCU graduate, mentally, strategically and methodically? What actions are expected to be taken that’s different? I am speculating because I don’t have all the facts. So I humbly ask someone to help me communicate this to my son. Here are some statistics that the United Negro College Fund produced:

·         Over half of all African American professionals are graduates of HBCUs.

·         Nine of the top ten colleges that graduate the most African Americans who go on to earn Ph.D.s are HBCU graduates.

·         More than 50% of the nation’s African American public school teachers and 70% of African American dentists earned degrees at HBCUs.

·         UNCF members Spelman College and Bennett College produce over half of the nation’s African American female doctorates in all science fields.

However, are these acceptable successes? Is working for government, corporations or becoming professionals who rarely work to elevate current disenfranchised blacks considered a success? 100 years ago, simply being anyone who served in these roles would’ve been seen as inspiration for blacks and acceptably a success. But in the  21st century, other cultures have adapted, the market has changed and our country has developed in ways that seem like night and day compared to the early 20th century so are the designs of our HBCUs serving today’s needs?

Does schools like Spelman College, who was founded by John Rockefeller and named after his wife Spelman have relevance to the Black community or are we being undermined? My son has an interest in becoming an enormously successful entrepreneur who has an impact on the world. Just the mere fact that HBCUs took so long to begin offering online courses made my son feel like these black schools are lagging behind the power curve; though he’s not trying to attend school online but he is just not trying to lag behind too.

Blacks athletes dominate in the NFL and NBA, yet players like Reggie Bush and Dwyane Wade elected not to attend an HBCU. So are they also saying that their chances of success is reduced by attending these schools too? I can only assume that an HBCU should be the mental factory and athletic warehouse for these future professional athletes. Are we not doing a good enough job in our athletic programs, which, by the way, could generate hundreds of millions for athletic departments collectively, recruiting (or at least look appealing) to these students while they are in high school?

Are we too emotionally charged and attached to the schools so we justify the activities rather than demanding innovation? Is it just about job security and historical preservation or is it also about the future preservation of blacks? Are we too sensitive to even have a discussion over where we go wrong for everyone at-large? I root for HBCUs. I appreciate the rich history they provide and the overall progress they’ve made for black people over the past 100 years. But I also feel we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. I write heavily in my book “Rebuilding the Black Infrastructure” that we must be more substantive than we are symbolic. I know this op-ed may ruffle the feathers of some proud HBCU graduates. But at the end of the day, are we here to serve our emotions or serve our community? So help me. What words should I offer to him? Cause I know the longer we delay recognizing our problems, the longer we delay solving them.

7 Ways Blacks Are Predictable And Oppressed

If you can predict the people, there are two main things you can do: make money off of them and remain superior to them. Below are ways we keep ourselves predictable.Image result for oppressed black people

 

In Participation – We have an abusive relationship with this institution. We lean towards cooperating as employees and customers only. Forget becoming investors or owners, and those who do otherwise are made to feel bad or as if they owe the other blacks something.

 

In Greed – We focus on micro success and disregard the value of the entire race. Explicit rappers call it “telling our story”, freedom of expression or art. But they only tell that story for a buck and fame through CDs and shows. You wouldn’t find them on Capitol Hill, in courtrooms as witnesses, or in private meetings with chiefs of police telling that same story for the mere “payment” of a better community.

 

In Presence – We live in our comfort zones; around other blacks, mostly. So when opportunities are prevalent across the country, or even the world, we are unable to take part. Too many of us have no clue how dire our situation is as a group because are always around people just like us.

 

In Power – Blacks have been known to be shortsighted. We grab at the quickest opportunity even when that opportunity diminishes the rest of us; those who aren’t in power become tired of trying to educate the ones who are.

 

In Protest – We aren’t willing to fight huge battles that yield substantial collective progress. We fight sporadically and momentarily. We would fight the mistreatment from other races but not for the progress and fair treatment from ourselves.

 

In Proprietorship – Our business types are largely predictable or weak in statue. They either operate from home, the trunk of our cars or focus on lifestyle. The true American fabric-type businesses remain elusive from our desires.

 

In Protection – We have great ideas but we leave them unprotected. Because we stay in survival mode, we only go after the low-hanging-fruit. We go for the easiest and cheapest thing to get into but don’t go a step further to protect its intellectual property. Others see it, protect it and flourish from it. Now, how many stories have we heard about this example?

 

Modifying what we are known to do we make us more elusive on who we can become.

Baby Boomers Have Failed Today’s Black Business Community

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Baby boomers, those born from 1946-1964, are the generation of yesterday that would have been the ushering the younger generation of today into the “next phase” of the black evolution. Some aspects of this revolution needed to be enhanced and changed, while other aspects of it needed to remain the same. One aspect that needed to remain unchanged is “Race Matters”.

Today we see a bunch of rhetoric that race no longer is an issue. It has become so much of a campaign that some of our baby boomers blew out the torch and packed it away in the backs of their closets. I heard an activist say once, “Black protestors stormed the building for equality and came out with job applications”. Lol. Quite funny, but heavily true. Once we got some economic benefits we forgot what we came here for. We started to think to ourselves, “Hmm, you mean I can have the money and not the headaches of competing in business?” That concept soon eroded our very way of life and the black middle class. We began to feel ownership was no longer important.

Desegregation led to groundbreaking advancements but also brought on issues that emerged unexpectedly. For example, interracial relationships bring mixed children, what those children identifies as and who they dominantly alignment themselves with is a self-choice. Mixed children are often at the toxic end of criticism, bullying or teasing. They are often in an uncomfortable place when they overhear or are in the middle of conversation on race. Mixed children are usually lovers of two races and are intimately involved with the cultures of two.Image result for black baby boomers

This created a “Race-Don’t-Matter” movement in America. However, even with understanding the position mixed race children are placed in, race still matters. It matters from President Barack Obama, all the way down to the unknown child waiting at the school’s bus stop.

Baby boomers let their guard down.

 

They let this movement and beliefs permeate through our society to the point where we felt it was “business as usual” for other races to setup their businesses in our communities and run our black establishments out of town. Some would say, well, it is a free and open market and they should be able to compete. Well, that’s what we are forced to say now.  But the generation before them was responsible for the Black Wall Street and the Harlem Boom, an era Madame St. Clair fought with the Italian mob to retain control of. As soon as we were able to integrate and vote, things began to deteriorate in our minds. In the 60’s – 80’s it shouldn’t have been accepted. Now we are forced to fight backwards. If we take a close look, our mass acceptance is as consumers, any other leveraging position becomes a challenge for us.

Here are some of our challenges:

We have the least skilled workforce. We have the highest economic crime rate. We have the highest poverty rate per capita. We have the highest illiteracy rate. We have one of the lowest black judge, police, mayor and prosecutor population.

According to “Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling” by Jane Hyun, the Asian-American community has the highest graduation rate at 91%.

The deck is stacked against us and it shouldn’t have come to this. We had communities where our younger audience made entrepreneurship and buying black a part of our culture. Now, we have made independent survival and job searches the new norm.

They are continuing to make us believe that race doesn’t matter. Then we here gunshots, another killed black boy at the hands of police.

Look, I am not even trying to pull the race card or make us racially divided. But I am hoping you review the facts. Look at the statistics. If race didn’t matter, we would all share the downsides in the statistics. In regards to the mixed race children, I know it is hard for you to view any of your non-black parents with a negative connotation. You may be justified. Afterall, they procreated with a black and can’t be bigoted. But just like my black brothers do have a series of issues that causes me (the individual) to be stereotyped, so does the white, Asian and Middle Eastern community have some evil and predatory approaches to how we will live. Most of those issues affect black people on every economic level.

Is a Black Facebook On The Horizon?

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Facebook has catapulted into the media gaining the attention of investors & venture capitalists with its over 500,000 million users who account for 900,000 billion status updates and likes on a daily basis. It is an idea that was cooked up by Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 that hatched in 2004. Despite the legal hurdles he’s had to climb over, he was able to launch an IPO (Initial Price Offering) worth $100 Billion. Technically, Facebook is a part of the 1% that the Occupy Movement has been protesting. It is a company that is cashing checks worth tens of millions from GM, Ford and others totaling around $600 Million in 2011.

When it was a $50 Billion company, it employed 2,000 people, a fraction of the $1 Million people GM employed when it was a $50 Billion company. It is lean, innovative and for some, addictive. It needs less people to generate much more than some of our antiquated businesses. So can its model and innovative prowess come from the ranks of the black community? Let’s examine some of the highlights.

Zuckerberg was attending an Ivy League college when he decided to drop-out to build his vision. (Yes, we have our HBCUs but what would we tell one of our students attempting to drop-out to pursue a half-baked idea?)

Facebook provided no compensation to the visionaries that tirelessly worked to build it working out of the home of Zuckerberg. (Would we encourage college students to work for free or to “get a job!”?

Zuckerberg is not flashy. (Nothing to say here…)

Zuckerberg, the 28 year-old billionaire, rejected two offers to purchase his company, one from Yahoo! for $1 Billion and another from Microsoft for $15 Billion. (Are we wired to turn down a $1 Billion check?)

Zuckerberg doesn’t have any baby mamas and recently married his longtime girlfriend. (Have you seen the story of the 33 year-old man with 30 children? Here’s the link.)

The Facebook visionaries didn’t sabotage the company by stealing information to start their own or decided to become haters against anyone supporting him. (Nothing much to say here.)

Some would say that Facebook is causing societal disconnect, but when we say that, we must also say that Zuckerberg is one dedicated and focused individual.

So, do we have a culture in our community to produce the next Mark Zuckerberg or will we simply remain spectators and users of everyone else’s visions? It is important for us to demonstrate frugal focused behavior to our children so they mimic what we do? It is important for us to actually “water” the seeds of our ideas by investing our earnings into them.

I may not be the very next billionaire nor am I promised to become one before I die but I do know that I work hard to do right and do good by others. What about your overall behaviors? If they are copied by those around you will it make their lives better or worse? Will it make them average or accomplished?

Only you can answer these questions but know that until we are able to layout an environment where our children can blossom or one where our adults can achieve greatness, as the Facebooks go public, our community will remain private and we will forever be eye witnesses watching history made while we protest the 1% to be paid.

PART OF THE FIGHT IS TO DISQUALIFY PEOPLE

What many naïve entrepreneurs and consumers don’t know is that in everything you do, you are being profiled. Business is more about psychology than it is about profits. Businesses know who will do what before they even do it. This is why there is a concept in marketing called, “Target Market”. It’s because businesses know who they want and who will make their ideal customer. While doing so, they disqualify some people and view others as “bonus” but not core.

In working in advocacy, it is the same thing. Not everyone will agree with your work. Not everyone will see what you are doing as relevant. Instead of these people going about their business, they sometimes throw stones at you so you can stop what you’re doing.disqualify

Here at Black Businesses Matter, we understand the true perils of real business people who happen to be black. We know that there will be a percentage of black entrepreneurs who may never face one iota of setback because of their skin. However, for many others, that’s not a reality. When we look at black statistics, we keep ranking at the bottom of the wealth pool in all categories except spending power but rank at the top of the “at-risk” warnings. So for those people, we exist. This movement exists for the people who know that no matter how good their business plan may be; the bank would deny their business loan because the bank doesn’t identify with us or the culture of some of the businesses we would like to pursue. We exist for people who know that despite their harsh home environment, they are rising from the ashes to be great anyway, yet institutions may view them as “expected to fail”. We exist for those people who have blemishes on their past and can’t get into the best schools, but are worthy of solid business and entrepreneurial training (not the superficial get-easy-money BS that floats around the Internet and social media every second) so we may good substantive entrepreneur training available for those willing to take the real time to understand how to be good at it.

We exist for certain black people who know that there is an abundance of issues that holds us back economically but would love to find a way to navigate their way past them.

Then, there are people who tells us we are being divisive, negative and cynical.

To those people, we simply say, keep it pushing. Walk on by and pass us up. You are not our target. You are disqualified; at least today… the day may come when you hit the brick wall and have your own eye-opening experience. The day may come when you wished you had prepared for being marginalized, dismissed or denied in business (or employment) just because of who you are, not because of what you’re about.

For the rest of you, let’s keep the train moving. Let’s make this moment in history, the moment we made the most progress restoring our forward momentum. This isn’t a game for us and we really despise those who attempt to derail good movements.

WE DIDN’T COME HERE AS PARTNERS

In a law firm, it is very difficult to make partner if you weren’t one of the founding members. You have to work very hard, show tenacity and be willing to adapt to the culture of the firm. Some lawyers never make partner. When they don’t, they are faced with 2 options: Accept the glass ceiling or strike out on their own to start their own firm.

It’s the same concept for blacks in America. Our first steps on these shores weren’t as founding members. I mean, really, we weren’t even employees. The frustration we feel today is strongly based on this simple concept that has been passed down for many generations. There is a lack of esteem, unity and pride in the black community. This disenfranchisement makes us feel defeated. We march, adapt and strive for acceptance, but this acceptance remains elusive.

I had a conversation the other day about commerce in America. I was explaining the sense of pride and lack of fear a White person has when they walk into any random business. They can enter into a business confidently knowing that the business they are about to patronize will accept them. It is subconscious confidence they never had to think twice about. Blacks, on the other hand, must always ensure we carry ourselves in a manner that allows for us to be “accepted”. If we don’t, we may not get respectable service or employment. See, the government can only do so much for equality. It can force “service” partnersbut it can’t force respectable service; an issue for a separate conversation. This is why arguing, fighting and debating over whom did what wrong and who didn’t, is futile. It is all subjective. But men lie, women lie and money don’t.

In this 21st Century, it is not the fault of Whites, or any other ethnic group, as to why we are fractured. It is that we are simply going about it wrong to make “partner”. We are seeking to become partners by attacking the morals of those that disrespect us. This really isn’t a moral fight, it is an economical one. Until Whites massively begin opening savings accounts at black banks and seeking employment at black businesses to help them grow, I will continue to believe that they are in a symbolic fight; not one that results in real infrastructural change.

Now, there are plenty of individuals that will find my thoughts divisive, and for those people I will strongly disagree. My position is that we should copy the steps of those who have risen to enormous power and unity. What they did, was done over 100 years ago. All they are doing now is maintaining their fort. So though it may seem like different steps should be taken today, those different steps towards morality can’t be taken by us just yet. Steps that derive respect are what should be taken. Those steps must be taken after we have established sound economics.

I am not saying we should pursue becoming superior. I am asking for us to seek partnership. Partnership in a country that we all played a role in to make it the great country it is today. The country I fought for in the military. The country we claim totes the torch of humanity, equality and justice for all.

Is there a way to prevent another Charleston shooting?

You never hear about mass shootings at gun ranges. As deranged as people claim to be, they are sensible enough not to attack a gun range. It’s simply because they know the workers there have quick access to guns to defend themselves.

 

The victims of that horrible shooting in the church in Charleston, South Carolina were attacked because the shooter knew that there were slim chances, “people praying were people packing”. So the coward victimized them. He felt confident.

 

It is not coincidence that it is unlawful for convicted felons to carry guns. Blacks have the highest annual felony conviction rate per capita. Gun laws were created in the late 19th century, primarily to keep them out of the hands of black people, more specifically, newly released slaves, who were often frivolously charged and convicted with felonies. The feCharleston Shootingar was what these freed slaves would do if they had that kind of retaliation power. Jim Crowism wanted to make sure in the event a white person attempted to victimize a black person, there would be a very slim chance they would be in possession of a gun and able to defend themselves.

 

These crimes that are committed against blacks are not isolated. They are targeted. They are targeted at a group of people they believe to be forgiving, disenfranchised and powerless. We have become easy pickings.

 

You may think owning a beauty supply store will also have isolated results. Not true. For every store opened the potential becomes: hundreds of thousands in revenue reclaimed, 2.5 jobs created and at least a million dollars in long-term net worth.

 

Our work and your participation in it have a very large context. First, you learn, then you own, then you possess leverage, then the community benefits, then we collectively acquire respect, then comes legacy and soon after comes respect.

 

Ownership must be our 21st century movement. Through strategy we gain and through business we grow. Eventually, the media will become frustrated with us because they would have less stories of the black struggle to cover.