Thursday, February 19, 2009

I want to share a bit about a community here in San Francisco that is important to many including me. On February 5th, the Uptown Tenderloin Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This has been a long and hard fought battle by too many residents and community activist to name and because it is such a triumph of the entire Tenderloin community I won’t name names – this is a win for all.

What was once viewed as a lost neighborhood, one to be walked around not through, the Tenderloin as been recognized for one of the many values it offers.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Beginning

A cold Tuesday morning in our nation’s capitol, history is forming in the frigid morning air and change is beating in the people’s hearts. Then the moment finally arrives, our 44th President addresses his nation and reassures all who heard that he is our leader. This is a special moment for the world and maybe a new beginning to an old struggle for others. It is time for minority youths especially blacks to rethink how we do things from education, to selecting our leaders and entrepreneurship.

Statistics show two things when it comes to black youth and education. First, the less education one has the less earning power they will be able to obtain over their lifetime. Second, people who have little to no education vote little or not at all. This leads to a perception that they don’t care for their community. Then in turn, government dollars for their school systems go to build bridges to nowhere. Schools are left to deteriorate, roads to crumble, the police force to become crippled and more importantly hopelessness to spread creating what we call a Ghetto.

Next we need to look at who we call our leaders and how we create new leaders. To give an example of how important leadership is to a community, ask yourself how many times you have heard the world’s view of America and it was dramatically different from your view. This is due to our leaders and diplomats representing our country and giving us a good or bad name depending on the job they perform. Minorities and blacks are in desperate need of positive leadership in our communities for them to thrive and survive in the 21st century.

Finally, we need more business men and women who have nothing to do with the music industry to step up and be leaders to our youth. It is time for more blacks and minorities to not only work in the kitchen but to own the restaurant. Our parents, community leaders and the youth themselves need to be taught how and expected to own business, not just for the benefit of their community but for the greater good of the nation.

Photo credit: Las Vegas Sun

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reaching Back

While I was out and about this week I had some really interesting conversations that had a recurring theme. “Why are our youth so out of control?” (In reference to the latest Oakland civil unrest.) I think the reason our youth are so wild is due to a few reasons; lack of job opportunities, no youth leadership and most adults are too scared to talk to them. Lack of work is a double edge sword it causes hopelessness and disenfranchisement. Just imagine if you were 16-24, you have little to no college education and a child to support. To feed your family it’s going to take more than hourly wage from a fast food chain or an electronics store to survive. Facts show since 9/11 youth have been competing for lower level jobs against seasoned professionals and losing.

Secondly, youth have no peer leadership. Unlike in the 80’s and early 90’s there are no well defined role models; everyone wants to be a shade of gray. On one hand you have some artist saying love and respect your community, but on the next track it’s about if you want to get rich sell drugs. These lyrics push behaviors which ultimately lead to the destruction of our youth and community.

Lastly, and more importantly grown ass men and women are too afraid to say anything to the youth today. They would rather walk with their heads down then tell some teenager “come here and let me talk to you for a minute.” The only reason the generation before us is successful is because people reached back to mentor them. Weather it was a teacher, pastor or neighbor the people around them cared about their future and took time out to mold their minds. To sum it up, you get out what you put in.

photo credit:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Red, white and blues

America is starting to see Red due to the white color’s non-accountability for giving us the blues. The start of ‘09 has been a shaky at best. With job losses for the next year projected to be over one million and an unemployment rate pushed up to 7.2% a grand total of 11.1 million of us are out of work. Then pile on the proper or in-proper use of another $350 billion of tax-payer dollars. Come on man?! We need leadership. I’m asking myself what good did the first $350 do? We were sold on the belief that if we gave the banks solvency they would open up the lending lines. Instead, they’ve closed the vault doors with one hand and reached out for more with the other. I’ve never been bear hugged, but I know when I being squeezed. The only other question I have is what can you buy for 700 billion?

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Can't we all just get along

When does profiling go too far? When did baggy jeans and your favorite color t-shirt turn from a fashion statement into jail jumper? Due to profiling mixed with lethal aggression two lives have been forever changed; Oscar Grant 22 and Robbie Tolan 23. Oscar’s incident happen at an Oakland Bart station New Years Day. Robbie Tolan was in front of his mother in his parent’s driveway in Bellaire, TX. Both stories have the same plot young blacks approach under mistaken identity, and then shot by a police officer doing his job.
I’m not saying mistakes don’t happen or that every police man or woman has a chip on their badge. I am saying those mistakes can’t afford to happen. I mean seriously, if one of the Full House twins was shot and killed behind racial profiling or mistaken identity…the next week we would have The “Mary-Kate and Ashley law against racial profiling and mistaken identity”. We can never move forward as a culture if we’re only going to judge books by their cover or fight with our fist instead of our heads. In both case these were young men trying to better themselves and their future. Now in both case we know their future. “Be the Change”
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Monday, January 5, 2009

We Are the World

While traveling abroad I found a truer definition of Culture Connections. I saw how one culture can directly affect another. I had visited Mexico and Costa Rica where the majority of households earn their income from farming during the wet season and the tourist trade during the dry season. Due to America’s mismanaged financial system tourism has slowed substantially. I know what you might be thinking, so what if a few less people can travel abroad? Let’s look deeper. With the world spending less the countries that depend the most on those dollars are hurting more making them vulnerable to seeking alternate sources of income be it from jobs obtained as an illegal immigrant or the drug trade.

One cultures impact on another’s is not limited to economics alone. Imagine 12 million Americans disappear and are redistributed globally? To put it into context that would equate to all of the Bay Area’s 7.3 million, LA’s 4 million and San Diego’s 1.3 million gone. That means no movies, commercials or entertainment. No 49ers or Raiders games and no famous San Diego Zoo. Culturally America would be devastated. Physically and emotionally it would be hard for us to recover with our leaders, families and educators absent, never to return. Hard to imagine? Hard to believe? It has already happened.

Africa lost 12 million of its people, mothers, fathers, and siblings to the slave trade, along with culture and development. To this day its resources are still being plundered by our corporate citizens with government knowledge and cooperation. Stan Lee wrote it best, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

photo credit: kevin eikenberry

Friday, December 19, 2008


“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start”

Recently these words of Nido Qubein have been in my mind. To me she speaks of self-belief and overcoming adversity. To rise above any circumstances in America where the odds are against you, you first have to believe that you can achieive.Then you have to distance yourself from people who would love to see you fail. The sad thing about this is that some of the people you will have to give the “stiff arm” are family, friends and possibly lovers. For all it takes to overcome adverse conditions you will have to dig extra deep to separate yourself from those you love. I never said it would be easy, or that it has been for me, but that is why it’s called adversity. After you surround yourself with supportative friends and find yourself a mentor you are prepared to go through any situation one may face, so go get’em!

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