Capital Impact Partners Fourth Co-op Innovation Award Addresses Racial Inequality

 Capital Impact Partners announced today that it has awarded grants totaling $50,000 to the Association for Black Economic Power and the Sustainable Economies Law Center, co-winners of its fourth annual Co-op Innovation Award. This year, the award recognizes two organizations leading initiatives that address racial inequality and create social impact through economic empowerment for residents in low-income communities.

“We are constantly striving to partner with organizations to help us advance our efforts to expand social and racial justice. I am incredibly proud that we are able to support these two forward-thinking organizations that are employing a cooperative model to do just that,” said Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners.

The Association for Black Economic Power (ABEP) was awarded $25,000 to establish a Black-led financial cooperative credit union on the north side of Minneapolis called Village Trust Financial Cooperative. The credit union will provide consumer loans (i.e. payday loans and check cashing services) to residents of North Minneapolis as a way to disrupt the predatory lending that exists currently, and build a cooperative membership base by meeting the immediate financial needs of community members. In addition, the new entity will support efforts to provide technical assistance and financial support for emerging Black-led cooperatives in Minnesota.

This concept was born in response to the killing of Philando Castille, to create economic power as a form of resistance and strengthen the financial resilience of communities of color. Capital Impact’s grant builds on initial support from The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.

“We are honored to carry a vision of equity for our local community while creating scalable solutions for economic challenges facing people of color across the nation. The establishment of a fund for small-dollar lending, a Black-led credit union, and igniting a local cooperative movement are not possible without brave organizations like Capital Impact Partners, that believe local communities have the power to solve global problems,” said Me’Lea Connelly, Village Trust director. “It is a dream come true to have Capital Impact Partners, a national cooperative leader, join us in our infancy, rooting us in the tradition of innovation and pushing our reach for a greater cooperative renaissance.”

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) was also awarded $25,000 to increase technical, educational, and operational support for the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EBPREC), which SELC is now incubating. EBPREC is bringing together communities of color, indigenous peoples, and housing justice organizations in Oakland, California to pilot an innovative model of land and housing ownership that disrupts root causes of racialized inequality and makes housing and commercial real estate affordable in the long-term. The organization is collaborating with more than 20 organizations across the country to replicate this model with the goal of building a broader movement and national impact.

This innovative model of land ownership engages everyday people to organize, finance, acquire, and steward land and housing. Unlike a conventional housing cooperative, which is formed to provide housing to a defined group of residents, this approach is designed not only to provide housing, but also to build a large membership base and serve members’ collective goal to transform systems for land ownership. This is critical in a community like Oakland, which is experiencing rapid gentrification, leading to the displacement of long-term residents.

“I’ve been working with the amazing leaders of EBPREC for two years, and I’m thrilled that a leadership team will finally get paid to do this important work. I’m so grateful to Capital Impact Partners for investing both in leaders of color and in innovative cooperative models,” said Janelle Orsi, Executive Director, SELC.

The Co-op Innovation Award represents just one part of Capital Impact’s strategy to promote food, worker, and housing co-ops that support underserved communities. Over its 35-year history, Capital Impact has disbursed more than $300 million dollars in financing to more than 219 cooperative businesses serving 870,000 customers.

“The Co-op Innovation Award is a great opportunity to identify new partners launching programs that align with our strategy and mission. Both of these community-led, local initiatives have potential for national replication; they demonstrate how the cooperative model can address problems, train leaders, and build wealth in communities of color,” said Alison Powers, Co-op program officer at Capital Impact Partners.

Survey of Women of Color Finds Majority Prefer Natural Hair and Customized Formulas

A new report shows an overwhelming majority of women of color surveyed prefer to wear their hair natural. 70 percent of the 1,200 women in the COCOTIQUE Subscriber Survey said they prefer to wear their hair natural, which was defined as curly, coily, kinky or fro. 11 percent prefer relaxed or protective styles. 6 percent prefer to straighten their hair with heat, and 2 percent prefer locs.

COCOTIQUE, a deluxe beauty box subscription service for women of color and HairRx Advanced Hair Care, dedicated to fulfilling the hair care customization wishes and shopping preferences of women, collaborated to prepare the 2018 Women of Color Hair Care Report.

84 percent of respondents think it’s important to be able to customize their hair care products. 98 percent feel it’s important that their hair care products be paraben free, sulfate free and safe for chemically treated hair.

“Customization is a strong trend in hair care, especially among women of color,” says Dana Hill, Founder and CEO, COCOTIQUE. “Women of color have a wide range of textures and it’s difficult to determine which product works best for a particular texture. It’s important for companies to embrace and celebrate this uniqueness. Companies like HairRx, that offer options for customers to find products for their specific hair types and concerns, will win in the marketplace.”

At HairRx.com, customers answer a short series of questions focused on their unique hair care goals, scent and lather preferences.

Other report findings include:

  • 90 percent prefer luxurious lather to light lather in shampoo.
  • When it comes to scent, 39 percent prefer coconut, 22 percent love lavender, 16 percent enjoy jasmine, 12 percent like citrus and 10 percent would choose vanilla.

“Respondents indicate a variety of preferences, which is why HairRx provides 165 formulations, each designed to address specific hair care goals,” says Ellen Langas, Co-CEO of ProfilePro LLC, parent company of HairRx. “We invite customer feedback and utilize survey results like to provide the ultimate customization experience.”

At HairRx.com, customers answer a short series of questions focused on their unique hair care goals, scent and lather preferences. Individual profiles are instantly matched to the ideal shampoos and conditioners. HairRx also offers an assortment of styling and finishing formulas. All HairRx formulas are sulfate free, paraben free, and safe for chemically treated hair.

The HairRx concept was inspired by ProfilePro LLC co-founders Joe Segel, who is the founder of QVC, and Jodi Dery, owner of award-winning salons in Florida. Dery and Segel collaborated with an elite group of highly skilled cosmetic chemists in Italy known for developing hair care formulas for the world’s most prestigious brands. The formulas were then previewed by more than 3,000 hair stylists, tested and refined.

SOP Association Applauds Committee Passage of H.R. 5236

The ESOP Association applauds Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) for their roles yesterday in introducing and supporting H.R. 5236, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act of 2018. The bill, which was introduced today and approved unanimously by the House Small Business Committee, seeks to redress longstanding inequities in how the Small Business Administration (SBA) administers its loans with respect to Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs).

“The SBA was authorized to loan to ESOPs in 1979,” said Rep. Velazquez. “Unfortunately, this tool has been rarely used, due to a lack of understanding of the business structure and cumbersome transition requirements.”

Rep. Chabot, the Committee Chair, bolstered H.R. 5236 by adding a chair’s amendment, and also urged other committee members to support the bill.

“H.R. 5236 provides important reforms to how the SBA treats employee owned businesses,” he said during the Committee meeting. “From updating reporting statistics to capturing accurate data, to codifying ownership transition plans, H.R. 5236 will provide clarity to small businesses that truly need it.”

The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.

Rep. Velazquez thanked Rep. Chabot for his support. She also pointed out that she had worked very closely with the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on supporting employee ownership.

“The support of Rep. Velazquez, Rep. Chabot, and Sen. Gillibrand underscores that ESOPs and employee ownership merit and continue to receive support that is bipartisan and bicameral,” said ESOP Association President J. Michael Keeling. “As Rep. Velazquez noted in her remarks, Baby Boomers own a vast number of businesses in this country, and as those owners prepare to retire, their companies may face uncertain futures. No businesses should shutter, and no employees should lose their jobs, when becoming employee owned is a perfectly sound, well researched, well regarded business option. This bill will make it easier for businesses to pursue that alternative, with help from the SBA.”

Black Couple Launch Disruptive Health Tech Company

The black community suffers from many health complications and are often on the patient end of the health care industry. Very rarely do we hear stories of black innovators in the health tech space.

Meet Jamie and Jilea Hemmings who are married tech entrepreneurs who launched a disruptive new platform called Best Tyme (besttyme.com), the easiest way for physicians and medical sales reps to coordinate meetings.

A sleek work-hack for life-science professionals, the app allows clinicians to set preferences for when and how sales reps meet with them, and sales reps to structure their day by zip-code with an automatic calendar, meals and even routing function!

The app is available on iPad, Android, iOS and web. Free trial downloads are also available on the Apple & Google App stores. Once the trial is complete there is a monthly subscription for the representatives.

To date the couple has raised over $200,000 in VC funding to grow their team and launch a revolutionary product.

“We are thrilled to launch Best Tyme to the market,” said Jilea, Best Tyme’s CEO and Co-founder. “BestTyme is going to revolutionize how doctors and medical sales representatives schedule appointments and at the same time show the potential of black innovators in the space.”

Modern medicine coexists with, and informs, pharmaceutical research and development efforts. However, as any practicing clinician knows, workday time is precious and even more precious is a doctor’s attention.

Most physicians prefer to critically evaluate novel pharmaceutical products and that is best done when meetings with sales reps are concise, convenient and on-point.
The BestTyme app is poised to help doctors take control of when and how they interact with medical sales reps and advance high-quality communication between the two disciplines.
The BestTyme app is designed for physicians.

With the BestTyme app, office staff can refer all sales reps to a central source where physicians have set food preferences and available appointment times. This is a simple yet powerful way to coordinate pharmaceutical sales visits and lunches and take control of a busy practice while staying up-to-date on the latest advances.

As an added bonus, our data shows this simple trick can reduce clinic administrative staff time by up to 10 hours per week.
“My administrative staff absolutely LOVE BestTyme! Any time new reps call, my staff refers them to BestTyme so that they can schedule appointments directly with me,” one [Chicago area] clinician said.
The BestTyme app is also designed for sales reps.

With the BestTyme app sales reps can enter the zip code they want to target and instantly generate a full schedule for the day. The app adds GPS routing and food order functions and even lets you update physicians as you go!

This is a simple yet powerful way for reps to optimize face-time with clinicians. Not only can they minimize friction with office staff, they can address each client’s preferences for time and setting to make for higher-quality interactions.

This app saves time for busy sales reps. One Fort Lauderdale rep said: “In less than 30 minutes, I scheduled five new appointments. The best part: I didn’t even make one call!”

Best Tyme was founded by life-science professionals

BestTyme was founded by four experts with a combined four decades of experience in pharmaceutical sales and front-line medicine. The app was created with the goal of reducing friction in the clinic for all parties.

The company’s mission is to use technology to enhance effective communication of critical advances between two rapidly-advancing disciplines with a high-impact on patient care.

Jamie and Jilea are pharmaceutical representatives with 25 years of combined experience in the trenches who wanted to make their face-time with clinicians more meaningful and hassle-free. As Jamie says, “Best Tyme improves operational efficiency ten-fold.”

Dr. Anisio and Alexandra are a physician/administrator team with 20 years of combined experience on front-line care who wanted to stay informed on pharmaceutical advances, without losing critical efficiency in task-switching from patient care to scheduling.

Alexandra said, “Best Tyme has saved our practice hours a week in scheduling rep visits. While we loved interacting and learning from the sales representatives before Best Tyme, the planning took far too long.”

Entrepreneur and Tax Expert Meisa Bonelli Shares Four Important Questions Women and Minority Business Owners Should Ask Financial Professionals

Millennial Tax Founder Meisa Bonelli sees incredible opportunity for women and black-owned businesses to become an even greater force in today’s economy — provided these business owners have the best, most qualified professionals in their corner.

“Women and black-owned businesses face a pair of major deficits: lack of capital access and an absence of experienced, savvy financial professionals,” explains Bonelli. “No matter how great the concept, any business needs both factors in place to succeed.”

Economic uncertainty affects women at a higher rate than men, and women who own their own businesses are not exempt. Women have a tougher time saving for retirement, and women and minorities are frequently a blind spot for high-powered financial professionals.

On the other hand, women-owned businesses generate over $1.6 trillion annually, a number that’s continuing to grow. Bonelli believes that growth curve could be even sharper if owners know the right questions to ask their current (or prospective) financial professionals. In a feature report on MillennialTax.com, she suggests the following questions to get a healthy and productive conversation started:

How many women or black-owned businesses does the financial professional work with regularly?

Unique obstacles require a unique, hands-on understanding that can only be achieved through experience. The right financial professional will have demonstrated experience working with women and black-owned enterprises, as well as being proactive and protective of clients’ livelihoods.

What’s the income range of the financial professional’s clients?

The income range of a financial professional’s client base is a proxy for their skill and experience. Business owners with elite ambitions should select a professional who routinely consults with high net worth clients and profitable, growing enterprises.

Among the financial professional’s women-owned business clients, how many are caregivers, single mothers or divorcees?

Women are more likely to be raising children alone or serving as primary caregiver for a disabled or ill loved one. They’re also more adversely affected financially following a divorce. Women-owned businesses therefore benefit from a financial professional who understands the demands on their time and energy reserves.

How often does the financial professional help prepare documents related to loans and other capital-raising efforts?

For black-owned enterprises, the value of the business, its long-term potential and its need for capital to reach that potential can be difficult to communicate to investors and loan officers. Expertly prepared documents can help bridge the gap. Therefore, it’s important that a financial professional have ample experience in the nuances of document preparation for black-owned businesses.

Microsoft Store to Host The BarberTime Media Network’s Launch in Atlanta and DC Areas!

Announcing the launch of The BarberTime Media Network, Inc (BarberTime), a dynamic new digital advertising and streaming media tool, offering advertising and up-to-date informational content to barbershops and beauty salons, via online and in-shop, touch screen monitors. The innovative media tool creates a better branding experience for the beauty and hair industry via ad partners, discounted deals for their consumers and creates residual income and special benefits for the barbershop and salon owners.

“We believe our media platform will change how business is done. The BarberTime Media Network merges information, commerce, and entertainment — everything on a touch-screen streaming live right in your shop,” explains, Euan Davis BarberTime’s founder/CEO of BarberTime.

Beauty salons and barber shops have always been the center of communities.  In fact, the beauty and hair business is a $425 billion industry and oftentimes flourishes even during tough economic times — it may be almost recession-proof!

Eliza Mulcahy, Community Development Specialist for Microsoft, reiterates, “this sector’s strength is attributed to the fact that most people come together where there is a purpose, and they feel their voice is heard. In the hair and beauty industries across the country, these businesses are thriving and working on behalf of their communities to make things better.”

Microsoft and BarberTime: What started in Boston during the fall of 2017, at the Boston’s Prudential Center’s Microsoft retail store, was the unveiling of what is soon to be the newest national technological sensation: The BarberTime Media Network, a groundbreaking social media tool “that raises the bar” in the hair and beauty industry nationwide.  Microsoft’s hosting of our mission to spotlight this industry, with LIVE streaming social media events and local leaders along the East Coast, will allow BarberTime to establish a continuously visible, word of mouth and shareable platform like no other.

With current installations taking place in Atlanta and the Microsoft Workshop in the Alpharetta, GA location on March 12th from 2-5pm, BarberTime’s media power grows, and people are taking notice.

And with the next stop soon after in Arlington, VA on Sunday, April 8th, the DC area can expect the same excitement coming their way!

Attendees will learn more about industry related Microsoft software, and BarberTime will choose several locations, per city, to host our revolutionary digital communication platform. Make no mistake these will be a must-see media event.

VIP speakers include:

Barber: Samuel Glickman of the Georgia Barbers Association & Privado by SG,
Barber: Brea Retic manager of Barbers for Days in Marietta
Barber: Jason Yancey who works on movie sets like Avengers, Black Panther and Godzilla  
Barber: Johnn Belt of Premiere Clipper CO. & Magic Touch

Hair and beauty business owners are some of the finest communicators and offer the best local networking and brand building environments. However, the world is changing, and these communities need a better way to connect and share information. With the “Microsoft Stores Tour by BarberTime,” we will offer a new way to connect with the community—and the world!

For event details, please contact The BarberTime Media Network, Inc., Office: (877) 427-1177, Email: info@barbertime.com, Website: www.barbertime.com/microsoftstorestour/.

Shared Harvest Fund Launch Platform Dedicated to Eliminating Student Loan Debt Through Volunteer Projects

In response to the growing $1.3 trillion student loan debt crisis in the U.S., Shared Harvest Fund, (https://www.sharedharvestfund.org/), is introducing practical, impactful, and sustainable opportunities for professionals saddled with student debt to pay back their loans.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 44 million Americans are carrying some form of student loan debt. The new company has created a platform for skillful professionals to give back to impactful organizations by engaging in volunteer work to benefit the social causes they believe in while reducing their own student debt.

“I wanted to combine a way to help alleviate our troubling debt burden and the detrimental health cycles we see daily rooted in stress while being able to help nonprofits who so desperately need it,” said NanaEfua B.A.M, founder and CEO of Shared Harvest Fund. “Shared Harvest Fund came from our team’s deep desire to create a meaningful side hustle that would change the discourse from not making enough to giving back and making a difference. Our approach simply starts with investing in people who do good work, so we can be the change and beauty we want to see in the world.”

For a small membership fee, volunteer users sign up for the platform, build a profile page, post their skills, social causes of interest, and start building their network. Once volunteers are paired with a nonprofit organization and complete the service, Shared Harvest Fund will award a stipend to the user and make a payment directly to the student lender in $500 denominations. Users can complete as many projects they desire, earning up to $5,000 a year max up to the maximum amount of their student loan debt.

Co-founder Briana DeCuir of the Shared Harvest Fund.

Shared Harvest Fund benefits include:

  • Student loan debt relief
  • Student loan debt management education
  • Promoting and supporting a culture of volunteerism
  • Nurturing emotional, mental, and physical health through service
  • Building a positive community network around a shared societal burden
  • Organizations in need get the qualified help they deserve
  • Changing the culture of employee benefit packages by promoting and supporting jobs that offer student loan repayment options

B.A.M was inspired to start the company after realizing that even as established professionals, she and her husband were not able to afford to have her stay home with her newborn son because of their combined student loan burden.

Shared Harvest Fund Co-founder Briana DeCuir added, “Learning how to live a debt-free lifestyle offers the opportunity to avoid some of the emotional and physical health burdens that occur with the level of stress attributed to excessive debt.”

Shared Harvest Fund is launching a Kickstarter campaign (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sharedharvestfund/shared-harvest-fund-shf) to seek investments to launch its platform and will start paying down the student loan debt of their subscribers as early as July 2018.

Black Unemployment Explained: Economic Holocaust

unemployment, black unemployment,

It’s all about ownership, really. Whoever owns the framework of any economy will be the beneficiaries of its wealth, along with those in their sphere of influence, of their culture and their race. Any economic opportunities left after that will go to whoever remains. This framework is an infrastructure that consists of elements with high barriers of entry and strongly needed by the occupants of the market. These elements are industries such as energy, transportation, communication, food, defense, etc. Those that runs these areas gain big contracts and outlive their wealth, only to hand it off to their heirs. In bad economies, those that peeked at the CEO and Executive positions and able to retire are sometimes forced back into the workplace. As the beneficiaries of businesses climb their way into retirement, those at the bottom of the food chain also see their careers blossom into promotions and increased pay. Those at the bottom are often Blacks. When CEOs and Executives return, everyone who climbed are pushed back down into slots they previously held. However, since reduction in pay and demotions are tough to justify and can result in horrible moral, it happens systematically by way of lay-offs. When the laid-off workers begin seeking new work, they start to realize that the only positions are available are positions beneath the ones they previously held.

Black workers often find ourselves push down below entry level opportunities and into extended unemployment. This is how this works. The key for black employment security is not hidden in policy or programs. It is hidden in entrepreneurship. The more economic opportunities created by Blacks, the greater the possibilities for a reduced Black unemployment rate. The problem is Blacks typically own businesses that only has an ethnic appeal. We don’t get into the high barrier high benefit industries, whether due to lack of capital, lack of interest or lack of patience. We want financial benefits now, so we spend largely as consumers leaving our children to start from scratch. Today, if a business is black-owned, the belief is it doesn’t apply to all across the board. It only applies to our group. Take my latest book, for example, the man on the cover is intentionally and unapologetically black. Though the contents of the book has no racial slant or undertone, has been marketed to the general population and applies ideas, tips and resources for anyone across the board, the purchasers of the book have overwhelmingly been black.

Poor people unemployed is a train wreck because when they were employed, many of them indulged in items that were reserved for the rich. They grab at consumables that make them feel like they are no longer living in the hood, but those who are able to escape the hood invest in items that allowed them to leave there. Unlike the owners and architects of the macro-infrastructure, they miss building their personal infrastructure to purse items of “feel good-look good”; items that do not lead to economic sustenance. There are Blacks who are able to rise up out of the trap of unemployment. But these individuals are not the rule, they are the exception.Image result for black unemployment

Now, this unemployment saga isn’t fully the Black fault, nor is it full the White or Governmental fault. It is a compilation. Blacks justifiably fought for free will in America. It eventually happened. But there was little strategy in place for post-slavery, whether by Black leaders or Union Government. So, in essence free will was earned to a developmentally immature group who was systematically locked out of the education and economic vehicle in America. Yet, the exposure to entertainment was, and still is, wide and full. So, we grab hold to that, and because of free will, we cannot be forced to become educated economically. Tell our leaders to fight for that! Instead, they fight for us to arbitrarily receive benefits without understanding the responsibilities that come with it. At the time of our emancipation, the Black group was not used to freedom, power and choices but it happened to our entire group almost overnight. I would say it was like giving an 8 year-old, the keys to the house, to the car and access to the bank account.

If I had to age our group today, I would say we are collectively a 15 year-old: selfish, entitled, untapped power and arrogant. We resist criticism from other groups. We only cry when we don’t receive the same benefits other groups get. We only copy their recreational activities and not their activities of hardwork.

I think about us daily; where we are and where we are going. I often wonder if it will be safe for me to live in a Black neighborhood when I get older. I wonder what type of leaders will emerge. I wonder if there will ever be another black theology hip-hop base similar to the one in the 1990’s brought on by Public Enemy, KRS-One, or Arrested Development that spreads throughout our community. I think about it, but for now I write and speak with attempts to empower others to act for themselves, their families or communities.

I believe the Black community can recover but it will come by way of economic sacrifice and economic strategy. It will come when we focus on the lives we are creating for our children and grandchildren instead of simply seeking 9-5 work, which subliminally tells our children, “You are on your own.” We don’t seek enough asset ownership and frugal living. When we have leaders that focus on that for our group, instead of that for themselves, we will forever be the largest unemployed group, while these so-called leaders maintain their employment off the plights of Black people.

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.

The Vicious Cycle of America…That Affects Black America

racism, america, black in america, african american, racism

Racial tension in America isn’t a new thing. It is reoccurring. It happens every so often. It simply reveals what is in the hearts of many. Prejudice. It’s not a fluctuating feeling. It remains. Blacks have been on the painful side of the stick of race relations for as long as the United States have existed. This isn’t an emotional opinion, it is a fact.

 

More facts include, Blacks have good reason to be angry. The anger isn’t unwarranted. The anger has become generational. It is brought on from trauma or the witness of trauma. Though a few Blacks escape the grips of racism, discrimination and bigotry, the fact is, they are a very small minority.

 

Blacks have yet to be seen as equal, even if at isolated times we may be treated as equal. What many people don’t understand that what Blacks go through, especially Black men, is the constant fear of being mistreated, dismissed, slighted or murdered. The same constant knowledge that a Black person has that our ancestors were slaves, Whites carry a regular memory that their ancestors were “Masters”. This knowledge affects the way we interact. We walk on eggshells with each other until we know it is safe to somewhat be ourselves.Image result for black racism

 

So what has happened is Black men have created a defense mechanism. This defense mechanism looks like “thug”. This “thug” getup helps young Black men feel safe and survive. It is a proactive stance at deterring aggressive behaviors towards them. It feeds the esteem of some young Black men who feel like failures. It helps them gain respect from their peers. No one is born a thug. It is learned ad adopted.

 

But sometimes this “thug” culture backfires. It puts people, especially those not in our community, at such fear that they shoot first and ask questions later; the police in particular. When this happens, the Black community’s anger reignites and the cycle starts all over again. This anger isn’t a figment of our imagination. It is brought on by generations of disparaging treatment. The lives of Black men are not understood, while people are busy trying to get Black men to understand.

 

Black people continue to feel hopeful when issues like Michael Brown arise. We assume that the harsh reality of what publicly took place, gives Whites, police and politicians some level of solace and grow a conscience. This is why we went back to life as usual after Sean Bell, after Eric Garner, after Troy Davis, after John Crawford, after Ezell Ford, and I can even go as far back as Emmett Till. We believe the conscience and compassion has emerged, we give Whites, police and politicians the benefit of the doubt that they now understand our pain, our aggression, our doubt…but future reveals, new situations of the same demographics reveals, that their conscience and compassion was never birthed. This makes us start all over again. I employ my Black family to turn on the engines of love for each other, for educational advancement, the suppression and disdain for thuggery/intra-hood crimes, and collective economic behavior, economic discipline, ownership, economic prosperity and movement towards being a sovereign group. I ask our Black women to be considerate and compassionate towards Black men who are trying, who are doing their best and who may not be communicating his fears and vulnerabilities to you. He is being beat-up daily in ways he doesn’t share with you.

 

Black people, we have a duty to be strategic, consistent and accountable. We have a duty to not choose money over morality. We have a duty to not only be angry but to take unified action. Protesting is not enough, being proactive is. We must use our influence responsibly. We must use our access to technologies progressively. We must use our intelligence positively. We can’t wait for the conscience of others to grow while the progress of our community is being impeded. What are your children saying about the society you create and the actions and inactions you have taken? It is time…