Thursday, September 27, 2018

Enough is Really Enough

Correspondent: C. Dwayne West

Illinoisans have finally secured a balanced budget from the governor and the state legislators, but the long-awaited so-called accomplishment has destroyed families, much-needed community social programs and created such a maligned division between two groups (Dem & Rep) that are supposed to think people first, their own egos, last.
But unfortunately, both of the state's political parties acted in a very immature and unreasonable manner. They seem to have had very little concern for the voters of the state of Illinois, and the condition that millions would find themselves in, negatively, as long as they restricted each other from being labeled the winner in restoring the state's budget. It was horrible and they should be ashamed.
I've been fortunate enough to partner with AARP to present some much-needed dialog about the state's fiasco and how families, individuals, and organizations have been affected as well as the ones who've survived the state's budget shortcomings. And on Tuesday, October 2, AARP Illinois and community leaders will engage in a Town Hall Forum to share stories on how the fiscal crisis has impacted communities.
The Forum is from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th Street (Chicago). FREE event and DINNER will be served. All must register at https://aarp.cvent.com/BronzevilleForum. The prestigious panel will include FM Supreme, a global youth activist who has either organized or participated in dozens of protests and/or marches, who's currently working on her Ph.D. Award-winning journalist, Mary Mitchell, with over four decades in the media industry, and Jim Allen from the Chicago Board of Election, will also participate.
Today, millions have been devastated by the delay of a balanced budget. For too long Illinois suffered through a prolonged state budget crisis that impacted residents of all ages. Everybody suffered from the lack of programs and services – from college students to working families and their children, and from older residents to social service providers. Illinoisans of all backgrounds in every corner of this state mobilized to put pressure on their elected officials to work towards a balanced state budget.
We now have a state budget – but that does not mean we are out of the woods. Illinoisans still face daily challenges: residents are paying the highest property taxes in the nation, paying increasing local and state fees, higher rates for utilities and struggling with an increasing cost of living. Additionally, many lost their jobs as businesses and social service providers closed their doors or reduced their hours and become unable to further extend the credit used to cover the state’s unpaid bills.
The impact to Illinois has been enormous. We need to keep urging the Illinois General Assembly and the governor to put politics aside and continue to work to restore Illinois’ fiscal health. The Forum will be streamed and broadcast live by NPR Illinois.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Black Excellence

To achieve Black Excellence is not an easy task. But to fight for Black Excellence is imperative for anyone who hungers for progress and fulfillment.
Black Excellence can be obtained in multiple ways. Black Excellence is something that's first conceived, developed and executed by those who desire excellence. You cannot buy Black Excellence! You cannot be rewarded Black Excellence! No one can bestow Black Excellence upon you! You must fight and scrap for excellence with your own sweat equity.
To achieve excellence requires extreme hard work. Excellence is accomplished when people believe in their abilities. You must have complete confidence in your skill set. If someone placed you on an island, you'll figure out how to not just survive, but advance the island into a much sought after resort.
Black Excellence requires one to be innovative enough to get the job as well as to rise up the corporate ladder to maybe even becoming the CEO. I've seen Black Excellence deterred, though. I know amazingly bright people who have some minor deficiencies in terms of believing in themselves. This has caused them to be robbed of achieving Black Excellence. You cannot have low self-esteem and achieve excellence. You cannot be weak and expect excellence. It doesn't mean you have to be a superman or superwoman, but you must be in control of your life. You cannot short-change your abilities to gain Black Excellence.
I also know people who (sellout) their abilities. They take what they can get, when they can get it, from whomever, because they don't believe in their own abilities to get it. These can be educated and credentialed individuals who lack character and or guts. See, it's not about the plaques on the wall, it's about the strength that's deep in your soul which allows you to even pursue Black Excellence.
I can't remember doing any thing for money, only. I've been presented with several opportunities to gain resources. But I didn't think it met my standards for Black Excellence. See, I have complete confidence in my abilities. I don't feel the need to be bought or sold. That's not achieving Black Excellence!
Let me give an example of Black Excellence being robbed. Newly retired Charles Thomas, who spent over 30 years in mainstream media and over 20 years at local ABC 7; was unquestionably a professional, political journalist. He followed his job duties and did everything his corporation asked him to do. But rarely did the corporation do what he asked them to do. There were many occasions when Thomas wanted to promote Black Excellence within (his) community, in a different light from what ABC 7 thought was excellence.
Charles was par-excellent in his profession but subpar as a black man and leader for his own community. That he admits! Today, Charles will scream at every opportunity that he's FREE! And those screams can be heard each morning on WVON. Thomas is now FREE to present Black Excellence.
How many black executives live Charles' experience? They give their intellectual capital to an organization or company that will not allow them to support Black Excellence. Black executive are most times robbed of their abilities to truly grow as a person or professional. They're afforded the luxury as an employee to build their employer's Fortune 1000 brand, but are not allotted the freedom to fight on behave of Black Excellence. I see and hear it everyday as I engage with executives who are not FREE to even pursue their own Black Excellence.
Charles' new experience is what Black Excellence is about. Not only being the best in your career, or exploding up the corporate ladder, but being able to scream that you're FREE to support Black Excellence, openly. Unfortunately the world we live in doesn't allow Black Excellence to rise. (See Colin Kaepernick).
When you finally promote or achieve Black Excellence, you must acknowledge what Mr. Thomas now know---that Black Excellence and freedom comes with a price! Until the next edition........ Peace and One Love.
I Write to Differ

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wealth, Power & Influence

Damn it…..how many times must I see or read stories like the image above where three or four white boys or men came together to form a company that goes on to become a very profitable and viable institution? It seem as though each time I pick up a magazine or search the web reading some of my favorite business or tech publications, I come across these fairy tale success stories, and it’s never or hardly ever from or about my community.
When will my brothers, me included, understand that we need each other to conceive, work together, to build wealth driven mechanisms that can also be job creators? There is a deep need for my peer group to join hands and create a systematic formula that can be replicated to ensure that we’re building generational wealth, power and influence, where we live, work and play.
By doing so, this is the only way we can not only save our communities, but save ourselves from a life of constant disappointment or limited growth. If we get this right, never again should our community utter from their lips that ‘black folks can’t stick together’ or they ‘don’t support each other.’ That narrative desperately needs to be altered! The propaganda has been inserted into our psyche and it’s gonna be hard to change the mindset of a race of people, but we must try and try hard. Hard work must be at the forefront for not just survival mode but for sustainability.
George Clooney, a beloved, successful and rich actor, just became wealthier and more powerful and influential after the company he co-founded with two other men was bought for over $700 million. Here's the headline in a recent digital publication:
Billion Dollar Drink . . .You want to know what’s cool? How about a smooth tequilia? Along with friends, George Clooney and co-founders Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman just sold his tequila company Casamigos to alcohol beverage giant Diageo. Casamigos, which the trio started in 2013, was born “by accident” and has been a huge success. Gerber told CNBC that it was “the fastest growing ultra-premium tequila” in the country.
That’s probably why Diageo will pay $700 million upfront, with the potential for $300 million more in performance-based payouts over 10 years. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. Clooney and business partners didn't set out to make money by launching Casamigos Tequilla. While building their side-by-side vacation homes in Cabo San Lucas, the trio were spending a lot of time in Mexico — and consequently, drinking a lot of tequila.
"As you do when you're in Mexico, you drink a lot of tequila," Gerber tells CNBC. "After a couple of months trying a lot of different tequilas, George turned to me and said, 'Why don't we just make our own? One that's perfect for us to drink?'" That's just what they did.....
After reading this amazing collaboration between these three white men, I became pissed, hurt and sad. Of course, I’m excited for their earned accomplishment, but what drove my emotions on a downward spiral was the fact that as much I talk about the need for building wealth, I sometimes think that my Works of Words are falling on deaf ears. Especially when I look around and don’t see brothers in my community coming together to take an innovative idea from point A to Z. I see single entrepreneurs (like myself) starting products, goods or services, but most experts will express that two or three heads are much better than one when building institutions.
From this point on, I'll focus most of TBTNews’ content on my three best subjects: Building Wealth, Mentoring (fatherhood) and Leadership. I will stay clear of politics and other worthless matters that don't move our community quickly up the food chain. Mainly because my brothers on black talk radio are handling their business in terms of focusing on politics and policy. Good, bad or indifferent, they can have that space.
I’m gonna concentrate on more relevant power moves that rely strictly on me and my brothas and sistas coming together to find common ground for wealth creation, power platforms, and influential access to people, places and things. Until the next edition........ Peace and One Love.