Friday, February 27, 2009

The Nation’s First “First Promise Place”, To Be Dedicated in Nashville


Nashville’s Youth Opportunity Center, which has been named the nations first “Promise Place” by America’s Promise Alliance, will be dedicated on Saturday, February 28th, from 10 a.m. until noon.

Mayor Karl Dean will participate in the formal building dedication and open house at the 1700 Charlotte Pike facility that houses representatives and offices for ten different youth-serving organizations.

The Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) will serve thousands of youth in Middle Tennessee annually through nine collaborating agencies that collectively offer more than 30 different programs, including health care, job assistance, counseling, education support, emergency residential services and youth leadership opportunities. It also includes a 1,800-square-foot conference and training center that will be home to Nashville’s “Quality Counts” initiative.

The YOC marks several “firsts” in the history of Nashville. It will provide the city’s first college access center, the city’s first teen clinic, and the city’s first drop in center for runaway and homeless youth.

“In addition to giving youth throughout Nashville a one-stop shop that addresses almost any need they would ever have, the Youth Opportunity Center is also going to save our community tremendous resources through an innovative back-office administrative partnership with the member agencies”, said Jim Kelley, President of the Oasis Center Board of Directors. “It is truly a win-win-win”.

The YOC will serve as a model for communities across the nation as the country’s first “Promise Place” by America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership committed to providing youth with the Five Promises – caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education and opportunities to help others. Promise Places deliver all of these supports under one roof.

The formation and operation of the YOC has been and will remain truly a community effort. l The organizations providing YOC services are STARS Nashville and Kids on the Block, Oasis Center, United Neighborhood Health Services, the Nashville Prevention Partnership, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, Metro Nashville Public Schools, GalaxyStar, the Nashville Career Advancement Center, Hands on Nashville and Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency. The capital campaign to fund the project has raised 97% of its $8.5m goal through local individuals, businesses and foundations.
“The true impact of this collaboration will be told in the years to come,” said John Robinson, chairman of the board of STARS Nashville. “It is extraordinary to witness the concept coming to fruition, a handful of like-minded youth agencies banding together to provide a continuum of care for each deserving young person who walks through any door at the Youth Opportunity Center. For us, for our youth, there is no wrong door. All doors lead to opportunity, healing, hope and empowerment. It just feels right.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chandra Cheeseborough to Speak At Woodmont




Yesterday, I got to spend time visiting history. I did not take a long drive or pay to go out of town to visit a monument. I went across town to Tennessee State University. I was meeting with Coach Cheesebourgh two time Olympic Gold Medalist.

As I walked into Gentry Center, as I have done a thousand times before, I noticed the number of large photos dedicated to the thousands of talented athletes that have been educated and trained on the campus. The long walk down the corridor to Coach's office upstairs was awe inspiring. It took me forever to get up the steps because I lingered over ever piece of information that each photo provided. Having a son training in the same facility that the great athletes of days gone by trained in gave me even more reason to be in awe. I was meeting with Coach Cheeseborough to finalize her speaking engagement. The woman who I have read about in countless news articles, magazines, and history books was sharing with me pieces of her life. I was honored and extremely proud of her.

Coach Cheesseborough is by far one of the most celebrated women in sports. Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice broke into the track and field record books at the tender age of 16. She won the national indoor 200-yard dash in 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983. She made history at the 1984 Games when she became the first woman to win gold medals in both relays, held less than an hour apart. Cheeseborough later became a coach and returned to Tennessee State. She was named head coach of both men and women in 1999. She also has served as an assistant coach for the U.S. team at the 1999 Junior Pan-Am Championships. Coach Cheeseborough was also coach for the 2008 Olympic Track and Field Team.

Coach Cheeseborough will speak at Woodmont Hills, 3710 Franklin Road, Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday, February 25 at 6:30. Join us if you will. We will have several items from Coach Cheeseborough's personal collection on display.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Burris played the Race Card and Lost


I have tried not commenting on Senator Burris going to Washington. But I could not help myself after several days of reviewing what he said he did not say. His original press conference announcing his appointment was riddled with age old racial antics with his paid cheerleaders shouting "lynching" from the pulpit, I mean podium. The circus atmosphere that surrounded Burris' appointment and his non-stop media appearances claiming no part in the "pay-to-play" Chicago politics, left many wondering what to do with the mild mannered politician.

My concern was not about him at the time but what was being said to get him to Washington. The cry of racism and many southern terms that usually stop folks dead in their tracks because no one wants to be accused of being a racist (publicly) seemed to be the main focus instead of his views of the issues that we are facing as a country. Job losses and unemployment, Wall Street and the bailout, the economy, and the forgotten war were not topics surrounding Burris' appointment. The lynching cries were being thrown around as casually as a Clarence Thomas book review. The Congressional Black Caucus piled on their agenda and the question of what kind of Senator Mr. Burris would make for the State of Illinois was lost in chorus of racial inequality and unfairness to seat him because he was black. The argument by many in the CBC that there are no Black Senators, was not a credible means to seat Mr. Burris. The race card was played by all and Mr. Burris went to Washington without a real examination of what he stood for in regards to some of the most pressing issues our nation has ever faced. "Give us a Black Senator", even if under a cloud of legal confusion and political ramblings, was the cry that was heard and followed. He was appointed case close. (Or so we thought.)

This knee jerk reaction that we must have someone black no matter the circumstances leaves blacks folks often looking crazier than the person they are trying to make into an instant hero. This only contributes to the racial divide that we have in our country in spite of Obama's election to the highest office in the land. It leaves less room for dialogue with the soon to be minority majority. Preachers who are quick to hold vigils for the ousted Governor and questionable politicians only fan the flames. I am always amazed at bible folks who gather to pray over public figures gone wild or stupid, than gathering to teach and encourage young people to go to school and get an education. Vigils for black on black crime and supporting educators would be a better use of that precious commodity called time, I would think. Oh wait, the cameras do not show up for these types of events. Never mind, keep reading.

When younger minds use their voices to speak up and out, our dissent is met with an even louder cry of "ignorance" or ignored all together. What is now becoming more evident, that this tactic is more generational than substance. In the blogger sphere, the Gen Xs and Gen Ys blogged often that something was not quite right with Burris' appointment but no one knew what. There was a wait and see attitude. There was nothing wrong with Burris speaking with Governor Blagojevich about the vacant Senate seat. There was nothing illegal about campaigning for him either. This is done all the time. It became illegal when the conversations by the Govenor were recorded on tape by the FBI with a price tagged attached to the seat cushion. Ouch. What role Burris played will be determined once his story congeals. Daddy would say often, "playing with a dog with fleas, you usually walk away with fleas". Senator Burris later summed up his talks as equivalent to petting a puppy. He failed to mention that the puppy was in the cage with his flea ridden mother. And that he has bought a few bags of dog food for the litter. "Minor" details that get lost when we have a chorus yelling behind you.

As my rant comes to a close, I urge color folks to use our collective resources frugally. There are many, many issues that need our attention surrounding the area of race and race relations. We need to quit wasting time on issues that do not contribute to closing the ever-widening racial gap. Knee jerk reactions need to be kept to a minimal or least get all the facts. Get preaching folks to become nurturers and teachers of the young and leave the fleas and dog poop to those who decide to play with the dogs in the first place.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Monkey Madness

After reading this post that was sent to me and I immediately wanted to share it with my readers with a disclaimer. I DO NOT agree with the author's assertion that the chimp cartoon was misinterpreted. I actually wanted to take it out before reposting it. Since that is what the talking heads do nightly on the news, I did not want to intimidate that behavior that I loath. But I think she made some valid points that I do not believe in dismissing everything that she wrote.

The following article was written by Jehmu Greene.

Brown vs. Monkey

A political cartoon is misinterpreted and African American organizations and their talking heads immediately see an opportunity to make noise. Meanwhile, a famous black woman is beat down by her equally famous black boyfriend and commentary in the black community centers around, "What did she do to cause it?" Why are some African Americans so cowardly when it comes to addressing black-on-black violence? There is no end to the activists' displays of outrage when racism is perceived. Yet, the silence is deafening, drowned out only by the hypocrisy and ignorance when the perpetrator is black.

Rupert Murdoch may be public enemy number one for the progressive community, but he and his posse at the New York Post are not sanctioning the abuse and killing of black women. The beating Rihanna experienced at the hands of Chris Brown was tragic, but definitely not uncommon. The leading cause of death for African American women ages 15 to 45 is intimate partner homicide. Yes, black men are killing young black women in such high numbers it beats out accidents and every illness you can imagine. Where is the outrage? Where is the boycott? Where is the speech? I have never received a call to action email on behalf of black women affected by domestic abuse - at a rate 35% higher than our white counterparts.

When the Chris Brown incident became public where was the cry for attention to this issue by the megaphoniacs? The only commentary posted on CNN.com was written by Leslie Steiner, while one of the most prominent black CNN contributors was ranting about Valentine's Day. Michael Baisden had an 'enlightening' exchange on his radio show about if they should even be discussing the incident. If? Really, Michael? Would he ask that question if a white cop beat up a black boy? Absolutely not. Some will say it is not fair to compare the monkey cartoon to the "Chrianna" event or police brutality to domestic abuse. It is about priorities, people. It is time to stop hiding our dirty laundry in the closet or making excuses for it. Black-on-black violence is decimating our communities and has been for quite some time. An apology from the New York Post is not going to save the life of any black person. Imagine if the NAACP had publicly pulled support for Chris Brown's nomination for an Image Award similar to what Wrigley's Doublemint Gum and the Got Milk campaign did by removing him as a spokesperson? Maybe, just maybe, one young black male would learn an important lesson - never hit a woman. How can gum and milk peddlers have more integrity about their images than the NAACP Image Awards?

It is time for the black community to adopt a zero tolerance policy against domestic abuse. Bottom-line, what Chris Brown did to Rihanna was a teachable moment - an opportunity for the black community to coalesce and show the world we are taking action to address a pressing issue affecting us all. Cartoon-gate is a misguided media stunt that will further create a chilling effect on free speech and ultimately have little impact on the lives of black people. To my friends at Colorofchange.org, Al Sharpton's National Action Network, and the NAACP please put the protest signs down and refocus the media spotlight on issues that actually matter. If you have to boycott something, boycott Chris Brown.



I gave her article credence because I believe we only focus on the headlines and not the substance. If Al Sharpton's group really wanted to put a dent in Murdock's empire, they would have gone after the golden egg called MYSPACE. Yes, MYSPACE! With newspapers filing for bankruptcies on a daily basis, boycotting one is almost a joke. Hit where it hurts. Millions are connected on MYSPACE. Start de-friending Murdock, then you really would make checks bounce. But that is the difference between hype and sacrifice. How many would actually give up their MYSPACE account.

My grandfather often told me about his days of marching for voting rights in the sixties. When a protest was organized to break down walls and to stop the demoralizing treatment of blacks, they truly sacrificed. No grand standing. Straight boycotting. When they said do not ride the bus, folks walked. They walked rain, sleet or shine for one year in Birmingham! Folks were hurting physically to achieve those goals. Today is different in many aspects and much has been accomplished by those who fought for the freedoms that you and I experience today. But we still must address issues that are systemic in our everyday existence. The economic fight is often viewed as comical because of the "leaders" who shout for apologies that have no substance. This does not change attitudes or bad behavior this just give the media folks two minute sound bites that further dilute the issues.

The cartoon was horrible, no question about it. And it reflects the sad reality that some still do not see why it was so outrageous. But if you really want Murdock's News Corp to change attitudes or least pay attention, take every black and white child in America off MYSPACE and give them a book to read. Wow, how soon can we start. Now, let us end this month by dealing with black on black crime and educating young men not to beat women. This would address many issues that do not get the megaphone attention they deserve.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Michelle Obama and My Stimulus Check


When I read the new stimulus cuts that have been signed into law, I must admit it was not very much in the bill that is going to help me and my family right now. Today, tomorrow, or next Wednesday at 4:00pm for that matter. I know I am not going to get a loan anytime soon, nor will the fifteen dollars extra go into my lint lined pockets. But then again, I am one dollar from being a millionaire and twenty-five cents from being bankrupt. That is the life of many pest control operators at the moment.

When I think of the weatherization part of the bill, where everyone will get a tax incentive to fix up their homes to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer,I get a little ticked. If we are going to help everyone with their homes, I wonder why Congress did not throw pest control services in there with everything else. Can we get everyone's bugs under control? Now, if that was part of the package,I might be signing a different tune.

Times like this got me putting two careers to work. My part time career, got an ace in the hole with the Obama's new stimulus plan. It is not written in the bill per se but it is up close and in your face. That ace is the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama has given new life to women of color in the fashion industry and many young designers. Her style and poise are making the every day woman look good and she put curves in couture. She got me working out twice a day because the agents are calling. After a brief hiatus from the fashion pages, I have been called back to work thanks to Mrs.O. Ad agencies are calling to put black models in the pages of magazines, in television commercials, and film projects. For me, life has been very, very good lately due to Mrs. O's influence. Mrs. Obama has single handily done what no agent or diversity program could do for me, she made it acceptable and a must have to feature black women in a positive and flattering light in the advertising and fashion industry. Gone are days are putting Lil' Kim on the cover of any magazine.

And to go one step further, one agent said "we are looking for mothers, executives types, and you are not excluded if you are over forty." Thank God. Real women with real ages, not someone who looks like she had not eaten a two piece ever in her life. Curves are okay. This is heaven. I have been in and out of the business for nearly twenty-plus years and I am hearing things, I never thought I would hear. Black, a mother, in her forty is now the IN look for fashion.

Mrs. O has given me an unexpected stimulus. She is changing the face of the fashion industry by just being her self. Half naked, girls with ribs showing are no longer in style. Women who are act like teens will not be the new cover girls. Drama and dysfunction is out of style. Real hair is okay! J Crew is the new JC Penny and ordering off line has replaced shopping at the mall. Being a mom and raising your kids while never letting them forget that you have several degrees, is not only good for the fashion industry but good for families as well.

I did not get much from the new law signed this week directly, but I got far more than I expected when the Obamas decided to go to Washington. I got Mrs. O as a fashion icon, a role model and a new life on an old career.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Award Winning Civil Rights Reporter to Speak in Nashville






Howard Witt, the ground-breaking journalist who broke the Jena 6 story in 2006, will speak to the public and student journalists at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Lipscomb's Shamblin Theatre and again Wednesday evening at 6:30 at Woodmont Hills Church.

The Jena 6 story, involving the trial and public outcry surrounding several African American teens accused of assaulting a white teen, became one of the most significant racial controversies of our decade. Witt was recognized in 2007 as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in National Reporting for his coverage of civil rights issues.

Witt will speak on "Writing Stories that Change Lives."

Among many stories of international significance, he covered the Lockerbie bombing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the ouster of Ceausescu, the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid, the Moscow coups in 1991 and 1993 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Since 2003, Witt has been stationed in Texas. In 2005, he wrote a series documenting the long-term aftereffects of the Oklahoma City bombing on survivors and first responders, as well as a series tracking the resurrection of Antoine's Restaurant, a New Orleans icon crippled by Hurricane Katrina.

He is the Southwest bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, based in Houston. He joined the paper as a summer intern in 1982 and during his nearly 25 years at the Tribune, has been a national correspondent, foreign correspondent and editor. He left the paper in 1999 and was editor in chief of the Washington City Paper in 2000-01. In late 2001, Witt returned to the Tribune, joining the paper's Washington bureau as chief diplomatic correspondent.

Witt has won the Nieman Foundation's Taylor Award for Fairness in Journalism, the American Judicature Society's Toni House Journalism Award, and the Chicago Bar Association's Herman Kogan Award.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Reality TV and the Business of having a bunch of Kids!



Update: Mom of Octuplets did her first interview on the Today Show. I got the weird feeling that I was watching Angie Jolie without the adoptions but the same expression on her face. I am Angel Jolie. Geez, God help me I am trying not to judge here.

I was watching the Today Show when I learned of the mother in California who had not a set of twins, not triplets, but eight babies. I was working out on my Gazelle and my first reaction was to touch my stomach to make sure there was nothing in my outdated uterus. I thought "God help her" and put the thought quickly out of my mind.

I must say I recoiled in horror when I learned later that the mom had six other kids. All under of the age of seven. I immediately thought damn The Gosselins and the Duggars. Jon and Kate Plus 8 and 17 kids and Counting are reality shows on TLC Channel that follow large families around documenting what it is like to raise a van load of kids. Reality TV has warped our vision of everything decent in America.

What ever happened to having a bunch of kids because you did not know having that two or three kids was okay? I come from a family of big families. My mother was number four from a litter of twelve, my dad was the youngest of eight, and I am the oldest of five. 4-8-5, box and straight. I lived in a small town where your family size determined how long you stayed for choir practice or if your team won a state championships. (So please don't think I am against anything about the number of kids or who can and cannot have kids). I was raised before the days of fertility clinics and donated sperm banks. I can hear my granddaddy saying, "why would you want people seeing you raising your kids, that is what you suppose to do?" The man who raised his children's children would not find it very exciting having cameras following him as he whipped our butts for various offenses throughout the day.

My concern is that we are seeing gigantic families being glamorized by reality tv and impressions have been drawn that the more kids you have the more money you make. This is not the real world. TLC Channel makes a fortune from The Gosselins and the Duggars and they in turn have become very wealthy sharing their families with the world. And I ain't mad at them.

But to the untrained eye or unschooled mind, many do not see the number of assistants that show up to produce an episode or the reported number of churches and volunteers that give to help serve these families. Nor do you see the PR agents contacting companies for product placements on the shows and every conceivable free item they can get. One mention of a brand on any given episode can be worth its weight in gold. Everyone wants to see these families lives and to see them succeed. Although we may question their ethics, it WAS cute at one time to wonder how do they managed with all those kids in this day and time.

The Duggars started off as a family who was living out their religious beliefs. But after several appearances on morning programs over the years, the idea to pitch this wholesome brood to the public at large led to a number of lucrative deals and a weekly TV show. They now have eighteen children and counting. Mrs. Duggar had her kids the old fashion way, "Oops, honey I am pregnant, again."

Kate and Jon Gosselin got in on the act with their kids and we saw a different type of parenting show. Kate had a little help from fertility drugs and she believed her miracle children should be helped out by everyone. This was the first time we actually heard someone say, "You owe me help, I got a bunch of kids that I planned to have." This show does not come off as wholesome and we can see where this couple is a younger more edgier reality-tv generation. Kate was the first "mother" from TLC that had a little of 'Real Housewives of OC' air about her. Drama and dysfunction seem to be okay in their household. While the Duggars may leave you baffled, they had a fan club following from day one. Kate and Jon Gosselin did not bring natural wholesomeness to the your local channel right away. For everything the Duggars represent; order, grounded, spirituality and perkiness, the Gosselins are just the opposite. Chaotic, self-centered, religious, and bitchiness. The two shows represent two generational mindset on raising kids in front of the cameras. Both are making pay dirt and both are selling us a delusional world. A world that may have influenced our California mom to step off the edge and take the plunge into the world of actually producing babies for a television deal and product endorsements for her and her children. Folks this has just gotten ugly.

A single mother living with her parents, the world is not going to be as gracious and as loving to her and her decision to raise fourteen kids. The hospital bill for one preemie along can run into the hundred of thousands. We see this was planned out without a plan other than "here are my babies, let's make a deal". This is where the gravy train got derailed. There will be takers(offers and deals galore) but it will not be without outrage. Where Kate Gosselin left off, this mom stepped in and said I will take this another mile or so.

She is responsible for her decision to have her kids, but my goodness, flip the switch and darken her skin a bit and the outcry would be louder. Single mom making bad decisions and living off the government would be the headlines in much larger print. Where is Anne Coulter on this issue by the way? Wouldn't she be a perfect guest speaker at the next OB-GYN fertility convention?

Back to reality television shows depicting motherhood as a paid adventure. In my mom getting-together-for-drinks-while-raising-teens club, all of us are screaming what the hell is going in America. The club member with four kids was nearly in tears trying get to our monthly meeting. Her kids practices were all scheduled at four different parks. No one had anything good to say about the mom in California. Are we mad and want to get an endorsement deal with paid assistants? Well, of course. But truth be told, no amount of money in the world could get me to try to raise more than my lot of three. Love my darlings dearly, but love my sanity even more.

Reality Television should be renamed to Altered Reality. It has desensitized us to the truth and leaves false expectations for those who have not learned that most of the shows are scripted. I do not know what will happen with the mom. I hate that she was not given serious counseling prior to making this decision. I hope the doctors who participated in this get hauled before the medical review board. I pray for the grandparents who seem to have been caught in the middle of watching a grown child make a decision that will affect all of them. Most of all, I pray for her children. I hope they get the support they need. They did not ask for any of this. In the meantime, I hope that reality shows depicting parenting as pay-to-play adventure get canceled before a young mom decide to bring 12 kids into the world for the mother of all deals.
">

Gimmicks, Race, and the RNC


I have lived in several Red states all of my life. Born and raised in the Magnolia State, lived for a stint in the swamp lands of Louisiana, and I am raising my kids in the volunteer state of Tennessee. I will always be the girl from Mississippi and I learned to love cultural diversity from Louisiana, but the great state of Tennessee has help shaped my world view more so than any of the other states. All have taught me that a Repub does not make a conservative and every conservative is not a Repub.

The Grand Ole party not only has a visual image problem but it is in a place that we normally see Demos; absent of leadership, trying to figure out who they are and what group is their base. President Bush's fall from grace made the Repubs' reputation take a nosedive in the area of public trust and perception. Big government and outrageous spending that would feel right at home with the Demos, seemed to cloak the Bush Administration like a warm blanket. A message was sent in 2006 that the country was not happy with business as usual, but it took the elections of 2008 to really nail the casket shut. Many folks were buried alive politically. A few, however, managed to dig themselves out of their Rovian graveyard. But hanging out with the walking dead is only popular among morticians and grave diggers.

Senator McCain's decision to pick Governor Palin was brilliant in strategy, but dumb in execution. Clinton supporters were yelling and screaming to the high heavens for a minute there. They would have voted Strawberry Short Cake in office immediately following Senator Clinton's primary defeat because they wanted a woman so badly. A cartoon character would have sufficed as long as she was a female. Picking a woman was a good call for McCain but the plan lacked intelligence. Those 18 million cracks needed sealing. Gov. Romney (IMHO) would have been a deal sealer and would have made those of us who were hurting in the pocket feel safe and secure (money wise). Many moderate Repubs would have spent more time analyzing the issues than wondering if Palin was sane or not.

Watching Palin come unglued right before America's eyes, was not how to win an election. It was at times too painful to watch. Palin and that hail Mary pass was a gimmick and it backfired on the Repub party. Senator Obama went on to become our 44th President. Folks had enough of buffoonery and gimmicks.

Now, the RNC is trying the same gimmicky move with Michael Steele. Electing a black man to prove that the RNC is up for the challenge of becoming more diverse and inclusive will be tested earlier than later. Race, gender, faith, and sexual orientation will ALL be part of the diversity dialogue with the good folks at the RNC. Many of these conversation have not been had in my neck of the woods. As a matter of fact, some on this list are not even considered. I live in the land where the "Happy Negro" song originated. I socialize and do business with Repubs and Conservs daily. Michael Steele WILL NOT bring diversity to the RNC is my hunch based on my years of sitting at my grandfather's feet listening to him discuss politics. Daddy believed strongly "never try to play tricks with folks, you will get burned every time!"

Diversity is a state of being, a mindset if you will, not all about color. Having a black man in charge does not rally the troops, especially if the troops tend to see things in black and white. Mainly white. Ask Speaker Pelosi and she will confirm my assertion. Well, maybe not publicly.

It will take daily efforts of being totally intentional in reaching out to minorities,women, and everyone else from now until 2012 to make any headway in that area. It take years to break down barriers and it is rarely done in one election cycle. I remember attending McCain/Palin rallies and personally hearing "terrorist", "monkey", "nigger" and the like to the tunes of many of my beloved CMA songs. I was sent the Magic Negro CD for Christmas. Folks will not forget these enduring heart to heart monologues and shouts of love quickly.

I enjoy hearing both sides of any argument. I love to make my decisions based not on a party view but what is the greater good for my family, my business, my customers, and of course my country. I plan to visit Mr. Steele in DC when I make my annual trips for several legislative days that I will be attending regarding women and minorities in business, and an industry meeting. I am hoping that he will not give me lip service or talking points. I have shared with him in the past that forming a group to help speak to diversity issues does make an organization diverse or even open to diversity. Often diversity is only a side topic or regulated to a department in many non-minority organizations. I belong to several. Many of these organizations rarely sit in meetings and say "hey, we need more diversity". They see me and believe "we are covered". It only happens if pressure from the outside, and in rare cases from the inside, address the issues and then and only then a mad dash is made to pull a "token" somebody to fit the agenda of looking diverse. How many times I have seen this? Let me count the ways!

I am part of a group, at the moment, where everyone on our committee is coming to the same conclusion that the organization is only giving the group lip service and has very little intention in becoming more diverse. The staff is non-color, the board is non-color, and the few of us trying to make a difference, have gotten tired of the step-children antics that are being played out right in front of us. At a time where diversity is very IN, and folks are scrambling to at least pretend they see EVERYBODY, some folks are still slow to embrace diversity and inclusiveness. Even when it is presented as good business model vs. it is the right to thing to do. Money usually can get every ones' attention. Usually. Change has come to Washington, but not everyone is going to change.

Michael Steele has a huge task ahead of him, if he is to bring the RNC closer to the year 2002 by reaching out to embrace others (and by others, I do mean others) than where it is now, 1964. Mr. Steele's success will be determined if the RNC see a need to be inclusive. He will be the the Toast of the Town and not a piece of light bread. I do hope he is successful although I think the motives are suspect. But even good things can come from bad intentions. At least it will be a learning curve for participants as well as spectators. One thing about toast, it must be watched because it can easily burn.

Sunday, February 1, 2009