An African-American Lifestyle and Community Empowerment Magazine
REVIVE! Spirit, Mind & Body
in our community Employment Edition
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in this issue…
VOL. 2 | ISSUE 1
An African-American Lifestyle and Community Empowerment Magazine
President & Publisher Willie D. Barney
Vice-President/Executive Editor Yolanda M. Barney
Spirit, Mind & Body
Chief Financial Officer Greg A. Johnson
Desktop Publishing & Design Kate M. Rice
LOCAL Editor Tawanna Black
Research & Copy Editor Yvette Coppage Tawanna Black
Billing Manager Anita Johnson Contributing Writers: Femi Awodele Rev. Selwyn Q. Bachus Tawanna Black Rev. Darryl Brown Yvette Coppage Gary Cunningham John Ewing, Jr. Dr. Viv Ewing Rev. Dwight Ford Sheva D. Ford Janice Gilmore Greg A. Johnson Lesley Leach Rev. Bruce Norris Amanda Paris Kellie Paris Asaka Patricia Tinder Dell Gines Contributing Photographers: Tim Davis
Donnie Branson Revive! Twin Cities Magazine is a publication of SMB Enterprises, LLC and is distributed via mail and selected locations throughout the Greater Minneapolis and St. Paul area and beyond. ©2011 SMB Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the Publisher, is prohibited, excepting individually copyrighted articles or photographs. The views expressed herein, whether expressed as fact, fiction, opinion, advice or otherwise, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of SMB Enterprises or Revive! Twin Cities Magazine. Manuscripts and photographs submitted for publication are welcome and should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope if their return is desired. We reserve the right to edit, use, or not use materials submitted. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited materials. The publication of any advertisement in this issue does not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s products or services.
in our community Employment Edition
SOLUTIONS TO CLOSE THE EMPLOYMENT GAP:
On Cover: Hussein Samatar, Rod Brown, Dr. Beverley Hawkins (photos by Tim Davis)
Revive! Your Spirit
It’s The System Man
Renew! Your Mind
Closing The Employment Gap 20
Restore! Your Body
Perspectives from Community Leaders
Reaching for Extraordinary Solutions
Working Toward Major Breakthroughs
Dr. Randal Pinkett
Letter from the Publisher
Reclaim! Your Family
Rediscover! Your Purpose
Reprioritize! Your Finances
Rebuild! Your Community
REVIVE! Twin Cities
(612) 870-1300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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from the publisher…
REVIVE! Minneapolis is better than these statistics. It’s time to close the employment gap and build wealth. How can we have a city with such large education and employment gaps? What is being done to close these gaps? When can we expect to see measurable progress? The employment gap between African-Americans and the larger community has been the topic of numerous studies, newspaper articles, television reports, conferences, summits, and countless meetings and discussions around the city and state. From the barber shop to the boardroom, people are asking the same questions. Now what? Where do we go from here? There is reason for hope. Maybe the article by the Economic Policy Institute in 2009 is what it took to escalate the issue to a priority item. Sure, non-profits, community organizations, faith leaders, neighborhood and social justice advocates, others in Minneapolis and urban areas around the country had been sounding the trumpet for years, if not decades. They knew something was wrong. They were trying everything they could - with limited resources - to make a dent in the growing unemployment and underemployment chasm experienced by African-Americans before the Great Recession. They were attempting to get the attention of public officials who were approving massive spending for jails and prisons, police and fire departments, and ever expanding justice systems. They were also trying to communicate to African-Americans that had utilized the victories of the civil rights movement to gain access and rise to varying levels of personal and professional success. While a portion of African-Americans achieved middle income or upper income status, the overwhelming majority and masses were still on the other side of the economic Jordan shouting with a loud voice, telling the nation that the promise land seemed to be getting further and further away. Where do we go from here? This issue of Revive! Twin Cities takes us full circle. In the early 1900’s and first part of the century, African-American communities focused on launching successful businesses, establishing strong churches and social groups, creating new colleges and universities, and rebuilding families that had been torn apart. Thriving business districts were developed. New products and services were created. Migrations took place to take advantage of the growing manufacturing industries. Doors of opportunity in music, sports, and entertainment were pushed open. Major movements were generated to fight for worker’s rights, voting rights and the end of legal segregation. Victories were won. Some doors were opened. A few made it through. Then slowly, most of the doors were slammed shut, moved or put out of reach for the masses. Jobs and upwardly mobile people began to disappear from the cities. Violence, poor schools, dilapidated houses, vacant lots, neighborhood dividing highways, drugs, and social isolation moved in. For nearly 40 to 50 years, communities have focused on safety nets, social programs, and other support systems. We still need those systems because so many people are still unemployed and underemployed. To remove those mechanisms without addressing the job training, education, employment, and business development needs would be even more catastrophic. We are now in the position that we must address creating jobs and businesses, better housing, and improving schools while still providing support for families struggling with deep, generational social problems. This is where the power of AND comes into play. It is both personal responsibility and leadership accountability. It is
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©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
continued both community building and economic development. It is both equity and excellence. We must embrace both. This edition of Revive! Twin Cities provides a broad perspective on issues and solutions to close the employment gap and accelerate economic development in the pockets of our community that need the most investment. Some of the solutions discussed by those interviewed include: Establishing and growing small businesses with increased training and access to credit and capital; creating more awareness of the employment gaps; creating, building and transferring wealth within minority communities; investing in targeted job training efforts; increasing contracts and employment of minorities; changing policies and addressing structural racism; continuing and expanding cradle to career education and youth development initiatives; and, economic development that is holistic in nature. The Governor has made commitments to help address economic issues. The Mayor has made North Minneapolis his top priority. Business leaders are finally acknowledging the gaps. Philanthropic groups are embracing holistic models and admitting that structural racism must be addressed. Governmental agencies are increasing minority participation goals and allocating funds for targeted revitalization projects. Social service agencies and nonprofits are talking more about jobs, self-sufficiency, and lifting people out of poverty through innovative training programs. New collaborations and coalitions are forming. The perfect storm has arrived. What will we make of it? Itâ€™s time to solve this, for good, locally and nationally. We hope that this issue will encourage more groups and individuals to work together to develop comprehensive strategies and models that can be effectively utilized throughout the country. Now is the time for a Revival! Let it start with you! Sincerely,
Willie D. Barney President/Publisher p.s. Visit us at ReviveTwinCities.com or at Facebook.com/ReviveTwinCities
Visit ReviveTwinCities.com to read current and past issues online anytime!
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REVIVE YOUR SPIRIT
pay it FORWARD Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes. Empty people filled with care, Headed who knows where? On they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, Only Jesus hears. ©Steve Green 1984 Sparrow Records
It seems like, these days that we are encountering more and more people who are in need of care. Homelessness is on the rise; unemployment statistics are staggering; social welfare programs are burgeoning with new claims for individuals whose jobs have been sent to other nations because the need for those in the unskilled labor force is on the decline. America has joined the ranks of other nations who find themselves in the predicament of having too many citizens in need. But America also possesses something
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that other nations do not possess. As long as America remains a Christian nation the spirit of generosity and sharing with others will permeate our social and economic consciousness. If we look back only on the last five years we see Americans giving to other nations multi-millions in monetary assistance in the wake of natural disasters ravaging their countries. This spirit of giving is inherent in most homes and statistically the average U.S. home contributes $1000.00 per year towards charitable efforts. Whether to civil charities or to their church of choice,
Americans believe in sharing and in helping those who need assistance. Why then do we see homeless people and people in need in our communities? Do we feel it is the responsibility of the Federal government to provide for those in our communities needing assistance? Have we as an ethnic class relinquished the responsibility of caring for our fellow man and the goodwill of our community to the local and federal political machines? If governmental agencies are being relied upon to promote charity and goodwill then our communities are
©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
by Rev. Bruce Norris
soon going to be in dire straits because they rely heavily upon charitable donations from citizens of the local community to operate. The responsibility of seeing to the needs of the community can be delegated to organizations, but the responsibility of funding those organizations lies with the people of the community. It is in this obligation that the concept known as “Paying it Forward” originates. Paying it forward is a term used in contract law and it simply applies that a creditor offers a debtor the option of “paying” the debt forward by lending it to a third person instead of paying it back to the original creditor. In other words someone else steps up and offers to pay a debt that someone cannot pay back themselves. This concept migrated into the sociological world and is called “generalized reciprocity” or “generalized exchange” and is now a household term which implies the compulsion to share with others simply because we are in a position where we can now share with others.
When is the last time we considered our own blessings? When was the last time we allowed our selfish nature to go to sleep? Taking inventory of what we already possess should cause us to reflect upon the goodness of the Creator in our own lives. This inventory should not be done in comparison to what others on a higher economic scale possess, but what those on a lesser economic scale possess. The sad truth is that we always compare ourselves to those to whom much has been given, rather than those to whom not so much has been given. Simply because we have been blessed with knowledge, education, wisdom, business savvy, or some other means of acquiring wealth does not automatically mean everyone does. It is like the commercial where someone says “If I can do it, anyone can do it!” Ridiculous! If everyone could do it then everyone would do it. This year, let us challenge ourselves to do an inventory and be appreciative of what we have and possess, instead of what we do not have and wished
we possessed. Do we have excess in our lives that someone else could take advantage of and appreciate? Is our closet so full that a few pair of slacks and shoes would put us out of house and home? Isn’t it time that we pay it forward? There are and will always be those less fortunate than us. No matter what our economic station in life is, we should look for ways to pay it forward. Not having money does not rob us of time – everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. Not having money does not mean we cannot volunteer in ways to better our community, be it actively participating or simply attending events to support those who are affecting change. Paying it forward should become an everyday event in our lives. Someone can always use something we have, even if we feel it is of no value. Make time to take time this year to pay it forward. You will find the word of the Bible is true where it says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive!”
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RENEW YOUR MIND by Pastor Darryl Brown Jr.
Watching the Gates It is a scientific fact that the mind retains at least a percentage of things seen or heard. Some students are such firm believers that when studying for a test, they may sleep with headphones playing the reading material they will be tested over. When singers are trying to learn a song, they may play the song on repeat multiple times. When cooks are trying to learn a recipe from a TV cooking show, they may record it and watch it time and time again. The mind retains things seen or heard. Not only is this scientifically true, but also spiritually true. Our mind is a spiritual battleground. Our mind has so much to do with who we are and what we display that the Apostle Paul identifies the mind as the root of our life’s transformation. He told the Roman Church not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. The enemy, our adversary, Satan, is well aware of the power of the mind. Solomon, in his wise sayings known as the book of Proverbs, declared that as a man thinks, so is he. Your mindset becomes your reality. With such knowledge, Satan tries to affect our minds in a multitude of ways. He seeks
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to plant ungodly thoughts, develop unhealthy thought processes, and focus our minds on everything other than what should be on our minds. How does he accomplish this? He seeks to control or at least affect what we see and hear. When you recognize that your thoughts and thought processes are unhealthy, ungodly, and leading down an incorrect path, you have to ask yourself a question: What have I let in the gate? Your ears and eyes are gateways to the mind. I remember growing up as a child and having to play primarily inside my grandparents’ gated yard. Whenever we would come in or out of the gate, one of my grandparents would always be right there to remind us, “Close the gate.” They were protective over what could or could not come into their yard. I believe we have to take that same mindset with our ear gates and eye gates. Know when to “Close the gate!” Things that should not be heard or witnessed, I commit to closing the gate to. Tell yourself today, “I’m closing the gate to negativity. I’m closing the gate to distractions. I’m closing the gate to things that mean me harm and not good. I’m closing the gate to faithless
conversation. I’m closing the gate to bad examples. I’m closing the gate to unholy ways. I’m closing the gate to gossip. I’m watching the gates and nothing that shouldn’t be filtered in will be in. My mind is too critical for me to allow it to be negatively affected.”
“Reminders can come the easy way or the hard way. The easy way is no different than when you lose something valuable.” Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We should desire to grow our faith by continually hearing the Word of God. We walk by faith and not by sight. We should focus our eyes on vision and not the other distracting things going on around us that may catch our sight. We should commit to hearing God’s voice and seeing God’s vision for our lives!
©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
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RESTORE YOUR BODY by Lesley Leach
strengthening and toning your
If your goal is to strengthen and tone your back and chest, then this exercise routine is exactly what you need. These are some of my favorite workouts because it involves very little weights and uses your own body for resistance. Perform each exercise 10 times, and then repeat the entire sequence again. NOTE: As always consult with your physician before starting any exercise program.
Low Back Hyperextensions
(Great for strengthening your lower back) 1. Begin with your hands behind your head (as shown) or with arms to your side. Take a deep breath. 2. Exhale while lifting your chest off the floor and squeezing your lower back making sure your feet stay on the floor. Hold for two seconds. Repeat ten times.
(a favorite since it works your back and glutes) 1. Begin by lifting your right arm and left leg off the ground (as shown). Squeeze your lower back and glute at the same time. Hold for two seconds. Then release by placing both arm and leg on the ground and inhale. 2. Exhale while you lift your left arm and right leg at the same time. Hold for two seconds. Repeat five times each side. Note: Another option is to lift both arms and legs at the same time as if you are flying.
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ÂŠ2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
Chest Press with Dumbbells 1. Lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor, hold the dumbbells with your palms facing away from you. Make sure elbows are under your wrist. Inhale. 2. While pushing the weights toward the ceiling, exhale. Squeeze your chest at the top. Repeat ten times. Note: Yes, ladies you need to do these too, they will help you gain strength in your chest, shoulders and triceps.
Chest Flys with Dumbbells 1.Lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing in towards each other, weights touching, and elbows bent as if hugging a big tree. Inhale. 2. Slowly open your arms. Maintaining the elbow bend, bring elbows just above the ground as shown. Exhale as you return to the top of the movement, keeping elbows bent. Repeat ten times.
(Advanced movement on toes. Knees are an option.) 1. Start in the top position, hands just outside your shoulders. Draw your abs into your spine to protect your lower back. Inhale as you lower your body to the floor (as shown). 2. Exhale as you push up through your palms to the starting position. Repeat ten times.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lesley Leach Lesley Leach is an Ace-Certified Personal Trainer, National LesMills Body Pump trainer and Registered Nurse. Lesley is also the author of the book, Just Move.
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RECLAIM YOUR FAMILY
the importance of manners
Do manners really matter? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, manners are defined as a way of acting. It is also defined as a distinguished or stylish air. This is all the more reason why our children should learn appropriate manners. Manners are more than just saying please and thank you. It is a part of who one is. It’s how you carry yourself. It’s how you interact with others. Many children do not know or understand the importance of learning and using manners. I currently teach an anti-bullying class, and I include “proper etiquette” as part of the curriculum. I explain to my students that manners are essential to social skills and to being respected by others. We must be willing to teach children the difference between our actions at home and our actions “in public”. There are many adults who may not have learned manners themselves. Therefore, it is important that they learn what manners are and how to apply them to their lives.
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©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
by Yvette Coppage
Here are a few basic tips for teaching your children manners… Table Manners
This is the one area of using manners in which people tend to have more difficulty remembering to put into use. This includes speaking quietly, not loudly; elbows are at the edge of the table, not on the table; napkins are to be placed on the lap (to keep clothes clean and to catch falling food); and not talking while chewing food.
The cardinal rule for any theater, whether it is a performance or a movie, is silence. This not only includes talking, but also the use of electronic devices, such as using cell phones and texting. Conversations should be at a minimum and in a whisper. Feet should remain on the floor, not on the chair in front of you. If someone needs to pass by you to get to their seat, the proper thing to do is stand to let them pass. If you are in the aisle seat, stand and step out into the aisle to allow them to enter the row. When the performance has ended, clapping without yelling or whistling is the appropriate way to express appreciation (whether the performance was to your liking or not).
Thank You Notes
When someone has given a gift, attended a special event, or has offered kindness, we must remember to thank them. Writing thank you notes to those individuals is another personal way of expressing gratitude. This not only teaches children manners, but it also helps improve their writing skills.
Being Assertive, Not Aggressive
By being assertive we tend to
feel more confident and secure in ourselves. Therefore, we are more likely to transmit that toward others. For example, instead of pushing others or saying “move”, we say “excuse me”. This also includes, “may I…”, “would you please…”, “I’m sorry…”, etc. When we are assertive we do not need to be loud, aggressive or have an attitude. Manners do matter when it comes to how others see us and how we see ourselves. Positivity and optimism are projected when we use our manners. This may be difficult for some of us who are facing challenges. However, we must remind ourselves that we are better than our circumstances. We may have to continuously remind ourselves to use our manners. Nonetheless, when we use our manners on a daily basis, it becomes a natural way of life for us.
Restore. Rebuild. Revive! Let’s take this journey together. ReviveTwinCities.com | (612) 870 -1300
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REDISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE by Viv Ewing, Ph.D.
CREATE, MOTIVATE and stimulate
If you want to excel in life, self motivation is essential. You must know how to motivate and stimulate your life. You must be able to keep your spirit high no matter how discouraging a situation is. The question is: how do you motivate yourself? Here are several tips to help motivate and stimulate your life:
Have a cause A powerful source of motivation is to identify a cause that you care about. It can be a community cause, civic cause, or family cause. Such causes can 12 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
inspire you to give your best even in the face of difficulties. It can make you do the seemingly impossible things. An example of this is when my two daughters come home for Christmas. When I know the date that they will arrive, I write it in my planner and make a list of everything that I need to do before they arrive. I want our home to look and feel like Christmas. In addition to working full time, church activities, community service, and helping my husband John with his campaign for U.S. Congress, I have a lot to do to get
the house ready for their arrival. Some of the items on the preparation list include buying their favorite foods, hanging the Christmas decorations, cleaning, etc. Surprisingly enough, I can get all of this done and more in about three days before they arrive. I can do it because I have a cause. The cause was to get the house ready so that it looks and feels like a traditional Christmas. Identify your own cause as a source of motivation. What is your cause? Think it, write it, and fulfill it. ÂŠ2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
You must know how to motivate and stimulate your life. You must be able to keep your spirit high no matter how discouraging a situation is.
to complete the degree in three years and then move on with my career. I was determined to not let anyone or anything stop me. After a lot of hard work in school, working during the day, driving one hour at night for classes, raising a small child, and much prayer.... the result...I completed my Ph.D. in three years. My hunger for the degree propelled me to the finish line in spite of obstacles and difficulties. That same hunger can help you create a plan for your life. That same hunger can help stimulate your creative ideas for moving ahead. What are you hungry for? What are you going to do about it?
Have a big dream
Don’t compare yourself to others
A book titled The Art of Selling Big says that you should dream big, think big, and act big. Having a dream is important because it’s difficult to be motivated if you don’t have anything to strive for. Just think about people who participate in paid weight loss programs. Will they be motivated to participate if there is no goal to aim for? I don’t think so. They need a goal. You need a goal. That’s what your big dream is for. Your dream must be big enough to inspire you. Make it a God sized dream. In other words, you can’t do it without God. The dream must be realistic and challenging. It must stretch your ability beyond your comfort zone. The Bible tells us that without a vision people perish. In other words, we need to know where we are going. Take a few minutes to identify your God sized dream.
Be hungry for your dream
You need to have hunger and not just desire for your dream. Having mere desire won’t take you through difficult times since you don’t want things badly enough. In many cases, hunger makes the difference between the best performers and the mediocre ones. Les Brown once said that wanting something is not enough. You must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way. When I was in college working on my Ph.D., I wanted
Comparing yourself with others will demotivate you. It takes the wind out of your sail. Even if you start with enthusiasm, you may soon lose your energy when you compare yourself with others. Don’t let that happen to you. Comparing yourself with others is like comparing the performance of a swimmer with a runner using the same time standard. They are different, so how can you compare one with the other? The only competitor you really have is yourself. The only one you need to beat is you. Have you become the best you can be?
Don’t give up
When you meet obstacles along the way, there could be the tendency to quit. You may think that it’s too difficult to move on. The difference between winners and losers is that even though both of them face the same difficulties, the winners have the courage to continue. You may think that your dream is impossible to achieve, but don’t give up. Take one step at a time. Make a list of what you need to do to overcome the obstacle. In difficult situations, just focus on taking one more step forward. Don’t think about how many more obstacles are waiting for you. Winston Churchill said don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up. To motivate and stimulate your life, don’t give up on your dream for yourself, your family, career, finances,
and community. Focus on taking the next step and keep moving forward.
Let go of the past
A Bible passage from the New Testament says that we should not look behind, but look ahead and press forward. Your past can haunt you if you allow it. The good news is it’s a burden you don’t have to carry. Take it off your shoulder and leave it. You may have made mistakes in the past, disappointed others, or wish that you had done some things differently. Realize that the past is over and allow yourself to let it go. When those negative thoughts about the past come into your mind, immediately replace it with positive thoughts. The Bible says that God’s mercies are new every day. We should take comfort in knowing that each day is a blessing and a challenge to be met. Let go of the past if you want to motivate and stimulate your life. ment Magazine and Community Empower An African-American Lifestyle
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REPRIORITIZE YOUR FINANCES by Gregory Johnson
a pennysaved… is a pennyEARNED
Steps to Ensure a
Good Savings Plan We have all heard the expression “a penny saved is a penny earned”; however, this expression overlooks the impact of taxes. A saved penny is in fact worth more, often much more, than an earned penny because you pay taxes on an earned penny, but not on the penny you save. Therefore, tax-free savings with earnings compounding over the years, can really increase our nest egg. One way to accumulate assets for retirement, education and other major goals is to reduce your spending. Following some of these money saving tips can help you accomplish your goals.
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Prepare A Financial Plan
While most people appreciate the importance of a financial plan, too many put it off to the tomorrow that never comes. It is important to identify your goals and determine how best to achieve them. A financial plan can help you do this.
But don’t stop with automatic savings. Put aside everything you can. If you invest $50 a month in a mutual fund, you could have as much as $25,000 in ten years, depending on the rate of return. A well thought out budget can help you determine how much you can save.
Save Your Income
Cut Your Mortgage Costs
Use an automatic savings plan to make sure you save a percentage of your paycheck every payroll period. The percentage should be determined by your financial planning needs. Some people need to save 10% of their gross pay, while others need to save more. It would be even better if the amount saved goes to a 401 (k) plan or other tax-deferred plan.
Consider paying down your mortgage. For most people, paying down a mortgage is an effective way of saving and increasing net worth. Decide that you will pay $50 or $100 per month or more in mortgage principle, and do it faithfully. Consider refinancing your mortgage. See if you can save money by
©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
refinancing your mortgage. Go through the calculations and see whether the reduction in your monthly payments would be worth the costs involved with refinancing. The general rule is that a reduction of at least two points will make it worthwhile to refinance, if you intend to stay in the house for at least five years.
amount in savings. The rest of your funds should be put to work.
Use CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) instead of incandescent bulbs.
When ordering checks, don’t order them through your bank. Many check printers charge less for check orders than the printers used by banks.
Keep the thermostat at the lowest (in the winter) or highest (in the summer) temperature consistent with comfort.
Cut Your Credit Card Costs
Do some shopping for a life insurance policy. It pays to check prices on life insurance policies periodically. Rates change frequently. Also, if you’ve quit smoking, you may be entitled to better rates after a few years.
There are many ways to cut your credit card costs. For example, switch to a card that charges less. Stop charging on your credit cards and try to pay for everything in cash. It is a good way of disciplining yourself.
Cut Your Bank Fees
Consider the following ways to reduce your bank fees: Is your checking account resulting in wasted fees? Find out what you need to do to get free checking and free ATM usage, and do it. Keep a minimum balance in the account, and use only ATM’s at your own bank. You may want to join a credit union instead of using a bank, since credit unions typically charge less for banking services. Don’t keep too much money in a lowinterest savings account. Find out how much money you’ll need access to in an emergency, three to six months’ worth of expenses, and keep only that
Fine Tune Your Insurance Coverage
Cut Your Phone Bills
Today’s cost-cutting competition among phone service providers offers many opportunities for savings on your phone bills, such as:
Insure your home and automobiles with the same insurer. You may be able to get a break by doing this.
Make sure you’re paying as little as possible for long-distance charges. Take the time to investigate which long-distance carrier will save you the most, including cellular service alternatives.
Install smoke detectors and burglar alarms to save on homeowner’s insurance.
Don’t dial “Information”. Look it up online or in the phone book.
Get rid of private mortgage insurance. Once you have enough equity in the home, ask your lender to cancel your private mortgage insurance.
Use e-mail or a VoIP, such as Skype, to correspond with relatives and friends.
Cut Your Utility Costs
Ask the utility company if they have a program that subsidizes making your home more energyefficient. Even if there is no help available from the utility company, it is worth it to caulk your windows and make sure your insulation is of a high enough “R” factor.
Forego One Big Expense Per Year
For instance, skip your yearly vacation this year or take a less expensive one. Another way to save one big yearly expense is to swap an expensive gym membership for a YMCA plan. By reducing your spending and changing a few habits, you can achieve your financial and personal goals.
MODEL CITIES 45TH ANNIVERSARY 60’S PARTY Saturday, July 21, 2012
8pm-12am Urban Cadence Band DJ Ray Richardson Food • Dancing • 60’s Attired Drawings • And More! The Crown St. Paul Riverfront 11 East Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul Tickets $45/person Call 651-632-8350 for tickets!
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REBUILD YOUR COMMUNITY by Gary Cunningham
we all do better The late, great Senator from Minnesota, Paul Wellstone, in a 1999 speech to the Sheet Metal Workers Union stated, “Whatever happened to the idea… that we all do better when we all do better? When I travel the country, much less travel Minnesota, I’ll tell you this: I know what people are focused on. People are focused on: how can I get a decent living so that I can get my children the care that they need and deserve. People are focused on: how can I make sure my children get the best education. People are focused on: 16 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
how can I make sure that we don’t fall between the cracks and get decent health insurance coverage.” We are part of an interconnected and interrelated system that includes roads, schools, transit, housing, economic infrastructure, commerce, the environment and governance. Unless we understand this interdependence and the need to invest in the whole community and target our resources to communities that are not connected to opportunity, we will continue to make inefficient and ineffective use of our
when we all do better! limited resources. In other words, we all do better when we all do better.
Working Twice as Hard
As we emerge from the Great Recession, not all of us are rising with the tide. African Americans remain at the bottom of the well of economic prosperity in America, along with other people of color and Native Americans. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the high poverty rates are directly linked to high unemployment rates. In the Twin Cities, this is ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
particularly true for African Americans. In his 2009 report, Uneven Pain: Unemployment by Metropolitan Area and Race, Dr. Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute documented that the unemployment rate for African Americans in the Twin Cities was one of the highest in the country and that the disparity in White–Black unemployment was also the highest. Dr. Austin cited a disproportionate high-school dropout rate and lack of education as major contributors to the high African American unemployment rate. He also cited discrimination in the labor market and the relatively young age of the African American labor force.
The impact of these dynamics in the labor market and education is often racialized and uneven, john powell, of the University of California, Berkeley, advises caution in focusing just on the disparities. One reason is that eliminating disparities does not suggest the need to improve the condition of the dominant group. If the needs of the dominant group are ignored, a disparity-focused approach is often not sustainable. Instead, powell recommends an approach he calls “targeted universalism.” Its goal is
universal, such as good health care or schools for all. Its approach is targeted because groups are situated differently in relation to opportunity structures. Targeted universalism requires an approach that is sensitive to the needs of different communities. The concerns and needs of the marginal communities are not lost, while the dominant group is neither ignored nor privileged. It is important to emphasize that the universal focus is on the goal side, not the strategy side. According to john powell, “We need to think about the ways in which the institutions that mediate opportunity are arranged, the order of the structures, the timing of the interaction and the relationships that exist between them.” To make his point, powell uses the example of an escalator: “Some people ride the up escalator to reach opportunity and others have to run up the down escalator to get there. Others are in wheelchairs and cannot access the escalator at all. Institutions continue to support, not dismantle, the status quo. This is why we continue to see racially inequitable outcomes even if there is good intent behind policies, or an absence of racist actors (i.e., structural racialization).”
African Americans remain at the bottom of the well of economic prosperity in America, along with other people of color and Native Americans. If we are going to make progress we need the political will to begin rebuilding the leadership and civic infrastructure within the African American community. We need to set clear measureable objectives, holding the system and each other accountable for universal goals, while ensuring that approaches we advocate for are targeted to communities who lack access to opportunity structures which includes education, jobs, transportation, housing and health insurance. Indeed we can all do better, when we all do better. The consequences for failure are clear.
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it’s the system man…
something is wrong with the system. Today’s economic situation and the state of the African-American community are creating a feeling of deja vu. It’s reminiscent of a scene from a movie, where a brother from the street stands up and says, “There’s something wrong with the system, man, there’s something wrong with the system.” Back then it was made to sound humorous and to others it seemed like an excuse. It appeared as if someone didn’t want to take responsibility for changing his own circumstances. Coming out of previous generations that did whatever it took to make sure their children lived a better life than they did and that every new generation surpassed the previous one, it was hard to accept the “there’s something wrong with the system” argument. But now, it’s become 18 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
obvious that the brother on the corner was on to something. It seems everywhere I go these days, across the country, people are beginning to admit that something is wrong. They don’t always say it’s the system, but now we have groups focused on policy, structural racism, and other terms like opportunity indexing. When you boil most of the complex models and case studies down, you will find a common theme, “something is wrong with the system.” Yes, personal responsibility still has its place. We are still in control of much of our destiny, especially when we each do our part and just as importantly, we work together on a common vision and mission. Even in the face of the darkest realities, we have always come together
to surpass what was expected of us. We have overcome slavery. We have overcome lack of voting rights and legal segregation. We have overcome doubts about our ability to participate and lead in sports and run successful businesses. We have always been a race of people that have overachieved through persistence, intelligence, hard work, collaboration, and faith. Even with structural obstacles in our way, it’s vitally important despite any situational condition or circumstance that we do our part. What I mean by that, is that we must read to our children, become members of our neighborhood association, participate actively in the voting process, support stores in our neighborhoods, become mentors and coaches, and attend school board and council meetings to ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
by Willie Barney
voice our concerns and offer solutions. Even when we didn’t have more than dimes and dreams, we still took care of business and took care of each other. We can’t be the world’s most conspicuous consumers while producing and selling less than 5% of the goods and services in our own community. We must save a percentage of our income whether it’s a little or a lot. We need to support businesses in our community. We have to invest in things that accrue in value, instead of things that lose value immediately. We need to clean up our neighborhoods and make sure that trash doesn’t accumulate. As adults, we must model better behaviors before our children. And, though it’s a touchy subject, we must address the high percentage of our children (75%) born to unwed parents. There are things that we must address to help improve ourselves and help our community. When we work together to use what is in our hands and pool our resources, we can reverse many negative trends and over time make measurable, tangible change in our communities. Addressing these issues and working together to develop and implement these solutions will have a significant impact on our community. In addition, there is a growing consensus and acknowledgement that we didn’t get in this position by ourselves. Whether intentional or not, systems, policies, laws, and structures have been put in place that have made it increasingly difficult for people of color and people from specific geographic areas that have severely limited pathways to success and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This is not to say that people cannot overcome poverty, lack of education, unemployment or living in a violent neighborhood, but research and data is increasingly showing the repercussions of being raised in neighborhoods that do not have access to healthy foods or adequate health care, schools that are not fully preparing students for success, urban areas lacking livingwage employment opportunities, neighborhoods with high levels of violence, and homes with excessive
levels of environmental issues. 40+ years after the successes of the civil rights movement, in most urban areas, AfricanAmericans are still living the reality of the “tale of two cities” and the enduring “separate, but not equal” status. We should have paid more attention when the comment “there is something wrong with the system” was echoed more loudly in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. These street philosophers and social justice advocates were on to something. While politicians and others were quick to accuse African-Americans of not having family values, laziness, poor work ethic and so many other unflattering and untrue descriptions, what they missed were some of the underlying causes of the family and community breakdown—high unemployment and underemployment. If we closely examine the trends and rates of employment and unemployment in urban areas, we will see a direct correlation with violence, drug use, the breakdown of the family, and a rise in other social issues. Most have argued that the breakdown of the family created the environment of violence and unemployment. I would suggest that structural racism, disinvestment, lack of access to employment, and the flight of white and black residents from our urban communities have led to many of the social issues that we are facing today. Dr. john powell goes so far as to say that if the nation would have paid more attention and diagnosed what was really happening to African-Americans in urban areas, we may have had more time to prevent the coming economic crisis that we are facing now. He said in a presentation that we should have realized that it was just a matter of time before the economic depression started to spread throughout our nation. Instead, the people in need became vilified and the focus shifted. The effort to address the poor people of the nation was put on hold to fight the Vietnam War. The War on Poverty turned into the War on Drugs. Funding for job training and summer jobs was reduced while investments in police, the justice system and prisons increased dramatically. The urban manufacturing economy turned into
Even with structural obstacles in our way, it’s vitally important despite any situational condition or circumstance that we do our part. the Information Age and Service Industry and left African-American men on the sidelines. Brown vs. the Board of Education and the end of legal segregation produced a massive move to the suburbs and the formation of new school districts. The movement to help African-Americans achieve economic equality turned into a successful campaign for white women to enter to workforce in record numbers. While there’s this common undertone that tells African-Americans to “get over it,” you have your civil rights, the reality is that the masses of African-Americans are no better off or marginally better off than 40 years ago. In order for Minneapolis and our country to be at their best, we must fully embrace solutions that address all citizens. If we fully engage all parts of our community and nation, we can turn our diversity into a competitive advantage. The future of our cities and nation rest on our ability to collaborate with people of all incomes, from all backgrounds, from all parts of our nation - urban, suburban, exurban and rural - to innovate on job creation, job training, entrepreneurship and business development, while reinvesting in education, housing, health, infrastructure and providing much needed social services for those most impacted by economic instability.
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employment GAP by Willie Barney
100% employment. Is it possible? What will it take?
Those involved in education and community work are consistently challenged with questions about closing the achievement gap. How we reduce the academic performance gap between African-Americans, Caucasians, Asians, and others, has been a major topic for 40+ years. Books, documentaries, case studies, and extensive research have been published on the topic. Another gap is finally getting much needed attention. How do we close the large and growing employment gap between African-Americans, Caucasians, and others? It has been well-documented that the city of Minneapolis has one of the largest 20 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
employment gaps in the nation. Interviews with leaders in the Twin Cities area are not only raising questions about employment, but also about the ever expanding gaps in wealth and business ownership. Recent reports show that the housing collapse and Great Recession had a major impact on the whole nation, but it has pushed the already suffering African-American community closer to the edge of the cliff. Home ownership rates once rising, have fallen dramatically. Business ownership and sales have not kept pace with other communities. The wealth gap has increased measurably. Unemployment among AfricanAmerican men has hit Great Depression
levels. If these elements are not a wakeup call, the nation is stuck in a deep unconscious slumber. If you look closely at what’s transpiring across the nation, you’ll begin to notice the topics of economics, empowerment, and wealth-building are coming to the center stage. Yes, the Trayvon Martin case is getting most of the press, but beyond those headlines, something else is building. This year’s theme for the national Urban League Conference is Empowerment: Employment, Education, and Civic Engagement. The annual Essence Music Festival is hosting its high-powered day of music and fun, but also presenting a full day Empowerment experience focused on ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
Faith, Family, and Community. George Fraser, President of FraserNet and long-time champion of networking and entrepreneurship in urban communities, continues to make employing African-Americans through business development a major priority of his PowerNetworking Conferences. Years ago, Jessie Jackson wrote a book stating the Economics Movement would be the next great movement. In the words of Dr. King, “Now is the time.” Recently, the African-American Leadership Forum hosted a regional and national retreat with African-American leaders from Minneapolis, Des Moines, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Omaha. The themes that emerged from the two-day conference were employment, empowerment, unity, and action. One of the groups pushed the envelope and challenged participants to think about a goal of 100% employment among African-Americans. In meetings with thousands of residents and leaders, over the past few years, the common top priorities are jobs, job training, business development, and education. While there’s great work happening on the education front, there hasn’t been as much intense focus on a collaborative,
comprehensive effort to deal with unemployment, underemployment, and growing a more successful black business class. Somehow, the message of jobs, job training, and entrepreneurship was lost amidst the call for more social support, reforming schools, building affordable housing, and fighting drugs and violence. The social solutions and funding for programs and organizations working to relieve the stress, pressures, and emergency needs of a devastated community took precedent and captured the headlines. The needs were and still are so great. Still, behind the scenes, black businesses have grown at unprecedented rates, but have not received the focus and financial support to help them reach higher levels of financial success. And, while some African-Americans were able to use the victories of the Civil Rights movement to navigate through to college and the promise of higher incomes, the masses were and are still stuck in poverty or one pay check away from poverty. Simultaneously, blue collar jobs, the engine that produced the black middle class were evaporating from urban areas, moving overseas or hard to reach locations.
In the upcoming pages, you will read about concepts and innovative models to help address the employment, economic, and wealth gaps that exist in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
How do we close the large and growing employment gap between African-Americans, Caucasians, and others? Beyond the housing crisis, at the heart of this recession and slow recovery is the question that must be faced by this generation and beyond, ‘What will we do to create jobs and businesses that produce sustainable, living wage jobs for every person that is prepared and wants to work?’ What will it take to get to 100%? First, we must close the existing gaps, and then use our creativity, innovativeness, and embrace our diversity to develop and implement strategies to make this global marketplace work for all people.
For more information or to register, visit MMSDC.org or call (612) 465-8881. Registration Deadline: 5pm, June 22nd Read more online at ReviveTwinCities.com REVIVE! Twin Cities | 21
Perspectives from community leaders on
Closing the Employment Gaps
State Senator Jeff Hayden
Dr. Joseph White
Causes of the Employment Gap “We haven’t done a good job of dealing with a deep level of generational poverty. We have produced safety nets, but haven’t created a strategy to lift people out of poverty. Poverty in Minnesota is a lot like many of the lakes that we have here. They aren’t very wide, but they are very deep. Our pockets of poverty run very deep and we’re finally moving from denial to action.” – State Senator Jeff Hayden “We’re dealing with a persistent employment gap. It’s become more and more evident that this is largely a structural racism issue. It has been persistent for a very long time. People are beginning to recognize more clearly that without addressing the racism, we will not close the gap.” – Ann Mulholland, Vice-President of Grants and Programs, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners “This is a systemic issue. It’s quite likely that unconscious institutional racism is at play. When I say that, I mean these systems that were designed in some cases decades and centuries ago and we’re still operating on them. They were created before civil rights, before affirmative action, and before other advancements. We are operating on antiquated systems. These systems were not designed with the intent of being equal. And, sadly, we’re suffering the consequences of it. Let me be clear. We have very well meaning leaders in the community that want to do the right thing. My statements are not meant necessarily to blame or attack them, but it must serve as a wake-up call to fix the systems that we operate under.” – Rod Brown, Vice President Lutheran Social Service 22 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
“As you know, back in the 40s and 50s and maybe even early 60s, there was somewhere near 90-95% employment of Black males who lived in urban America. They worked in factories, auto plants, tire building plants, TV plants, washing machine plants, General Electric, etc. The jobs were located in the neighborhoods in South Chicago, Akron, Ohio, West Philadelphia, etc. Somewhere in the late 80s, 90s and the turn of the 21st century, the jobs left the neighborhoods where Black people live. For example, in the tire capital of America, Akron, Ohio, most of the rubber plants such as Firestone, etc., are now closed or only have minimal employment. A generation of Black men whose fathers and grandfathers worked in these plants found themselves living in a community which no longer needed their skills.” – Dr. Joseph White, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine University of California and “godfather” of the field of Black Psychology
Solutions to Close the Employment Gap “At the Summit Academy-OIC, our fundamental belief is that ‘the best social program in the world is a job.’ Everyone knows the major disparities that we’re facing in our city with regards to employment and education. With that in mind, we focus on two major industries, construction and health care. We are one of the leading organizations putting people to work. If you look at the major construction projects in the city, our people are there. Whether it’s the new stadium, Target Center, or light rail, we have people on the site.” – Louis King, President & CEO, Summit Academy OIC ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
“We need to realize that we do need effective partnerships. The sooner that we all realize that if one person, if one soldier is in trouble, then we are all in trouble. At some point it is a heart issue and spirit issue. The value of a human life is no different for anybody. With all of our market approaches, we have put a hierarchy on human value. All life is valuable. Partners must recognize that a healing process must take place. One of the healing processes is including all people in the economic growth and vitality of the community. Inclusion is not something that we should have to demand. It is something that should come natural. Until it is natural, we still have more work to do.” – Rod Brown “I’m a big believer that the education gap is one of the key factors in closing the economic gap. Some promising initiatives include, the Promise Neighborhoods efforts, the Strive Model which was identified by the African-American Leadership Forum, early childhood council, and the transit-oriented corridor collaborative. In all of these the philanthropic, civic, and business community are coming together to develop solutions. We have to take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us. As an example the corridors of opportunity surrounding transit are the great equalizers. Transit is what allows people to get to jobs, housing, and education.” – Ann Mulholland “Getting to 100% African American employment means we need to look at the issue as something that can be solved. It also means that we need to have a holistic approach that includes a strong educational system, vibrant overall economy, cutting-edge job training programs, a culture of entrepreneurship, and a healthy community. I don’t think that the unemployment issues of the African American community can be solved with incremental change, we need a systems approach.” – Trista Harris, Executive Director Headwaters Foundation for Justice “One of the solutions is closing the achievement gap. We also need to keep a laser focus on contracting and employment related to the Viking Center and other public projects. We have worked on inclusion language and increasing the goals for minority participation. We have to focus on entrepreneurship and workforce development. We must get people trained including programs offered by the Urban League and OIC. We need to make sure that those most impacted are at the table and actively engaged in developing the strategies. We can’t do this without them at the table.” – State Senator Jeff Hayden
Solutions to Build Wealth and Accelerate Economic Development “To increase economic development in distressed urban communities we need to ensure that those communities are receiving top notch public services. Plowed roads, post offices, reliable police and fire services, and thriving public schools are all critical ingredients that need to be in place to encourage private investment. As a community we also need to support our businesses, especially Black-owned businesses, in urban communities. Dollars that we spend in our own communities will be recycled in our own communities.” – Trista Harris “We have also developed an initiative called HIRE Minnesota, which stands for Health, Infrastructure, and Renewable Energy. HIRE is a coalition of over 60 organizations focused on bringing Labor, Minnesota HR, Light Rail, and Minnesota Department of Transportation, and others to the table to address employment and contracting. We’re an advocacy group and we’ve addressed the Legislature and others to make sure that we are generating job opportunities for our people.” – Louis King “I live in a community which has a lot of Asian Americans (first generation) who came here in the last 25 years. Since that time, they have developed banks, supermarkets, educational support systems, real estate companies, restaurants and other businesses. I think they came here with the idea in their head that economic development was part of the way to get a stake in America. With that concept, they somehow pooled their resources and got it together.” – Dr. Joseph White “In all of the efforts that I’ve been involved in, there’s a notion that we must close these structural gaps. We can’t be successful without closing them. Corporate Minnesota is equally concerned and focused on it. The corporate world is beginning to realize that they need to think real seriously about how they are creating access and the ability to get to those jobs.” – Ann Mulholland “Here at the Summit Academy, we are focused on data, return on investment, and making a measurable impact on the street by preparing the workforce and putting people to work. We are the front lines. The African-American Leadership Forum is strategic and must press to make changes at the policy and larger level. It’s like they are the strategic airstrike and we are on the front lines. You need both to be effective. As a community, we’re moving toward being more resultsoriented.” – Louis King “I think we need to close the achievement gap and make sure our children have the core skills in math, science, reading and computer literacy to compete in the 21st century. Second, I think we need to teach our children from early childhood how to make money grow, turn over and stay in the community. Black people spend a lot of money, as you know, but the money flows out of the community and never comes back in.” – Dr. Joseph White
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Economic Development Workgroup of the African-American Leadership Forum
One of the groups working towards solutions to the employment gap and building wealth in African-American communities is the African-American Leadership Forum. The movement which was launched in the Twin Cities over four years ago has expanded to include Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Des Moines and a partnership with the African-American Empowerment Network in Omaha, Nebraska continues to emerge. The presence of the Forum is already being felt throughout the Twin-Cities region as residents and leaders across many sectors: nonprofit, grassroots, faith, political, government, business, philanthropy, education, health, and arts – are working together to develop, lead, and advocate for change in the community. The biggest impact has been in advancing the strategies of the Education and Lifelong Learning 24 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
workgroup. Participants understand that these education strategies are a significant part of closing the employment gap. The Forum has launched comprehensive efforts that include: introducing the STRIVE model to Minneapolis; forming teacher forums and supporting alternative licensure; actively participating on the Early Learning Council; hosting forums for the school board elections; and publishing the special report, Crisis in the Community – What we must do to close the five gaps in education. Forum members have also actively supported and partnered with Eric Mahmoud at Harvest Prep, Sondra Samuels at the Northside Achievement Zone, and provided leadership in other initiatives like the Minnesota Promise and strategic work in partnership with the Dr. Bernadeia Johnson and the
Minneapolis Public Schools District. Using the strategies of the Education and Lifelong Learning successes as a framework, the Economic Development Workgroup (EDW) has worked diligently to gather data and gain insights. The EDW has 60 members from a variety of professions including large and private corporations, small business, government, non-profits and faith community. Participants primarily live in the seven-county area. Most of the participants are leaders in small and large organizations. The group has been able to maintain a significant youth connection and strong bi-partisan political representation. Another core element that is vitally important to the group is the inclusion of all people of African descent- including AfricanAmericans, Africans, and immigrants. In alignment with the Blueprint established by the Forum in 2011, the ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
EDW is preparing to launch the most updated strategy to engage members and partners across every sector in closing these gaps for goods. The foundation of the strategy is the understanding that according to the Selig Center, African-Americans in the state of Minnesota have $6 billion in spending power. In addition, Minnesota is recognized as having one of the fastest growing consumer markets for blacks in the United States. Consider these facts: The African-American community is 250,000 strong. There are over 7,000 African-American owned businesses. There are more African-American elected officials at every level – local, state, and federal – than any other time in the history of the state. Minnesota has long been noted for the high number of AfricanAmericans in professional roles in the corporate setting. According to the American Community Survey, nearly 30% of working AfricanAmericans in the state of Minnesota are in management, professional, or related occupations. With these kinds of numbers and people in influential positions, the likely question would be, “What’s the problem?” That’s exactly what the Economic Development Workgroup (EDW) is attempting to document and present to AALF members and the community at large. How can African-Americans in the Twin Cities have the largest education gaps and one of the largest employment gaps in the country with such strong and growing consumer power? At the heart of the EDW’s workplan is wealth creation. The four core strategies identified are business development, job creation, accessible housing, and accessible transportation. The group follows the key principles of the Forum, diligently seeking to create transformative change through three primary means: Convening, Collaborating, and Championing. Realizing the importance of structural barriers, the group has also emphasized advocacy and policy work. The EDW is in full agreement with the rest of the Forum work groups in realizing that real change will come with these three core beliefs: 1. It must intervene powerfully
in public policy decisions that impact the communities and families most. 2. It must engage all levels of the larger community in the AALF vision. 3. It must be goal oriented. Leaders of the strategy to create wealth are quick to say that wealth is not just economics, but it must also include the other three pillars that represent the issues, challenges, and opportunities in the Twin Cities. They are preparing to launch a bold strategy with a goal of increasing the wealth of AfricanAmerican families in the Twin Cities significantly by 2017. Currently, the strategic framework is as follows: Mission: The African-American Leadership Forum’s Economic Development Workgroup is committed to increasing wealth and leveraging economic opportunities in alignment with the Education/Life Long Learning, Health/Wellness, and Family/Culture & Spiritual workgroups for AfricanAmerican families in the Twin Cities. Vision: African-Americans will increase our economic, educational, health, spiritual and family prosperity by achieving our biggest possibilities that leads to sustainable breakthrough results. Values: We work together to advance our economic conditions by doing business with each other and employing each other. We value honesty, integrity, and excellence in our interactions with each other. We value the sacrifice (Stand) that will be needed to achieve our biggest possibilities. High Level Strategies: Convene – we will build coalitions between AALF and key organizations in the economic development landscape. Collaborate – we will support local African-American organizations in creating opportunities for economic development and engagement. Champion – we advocate for policies that produce wealth equity and opportunity for economic prosperity. The group has identified opportunities, acknowledged challenges and areas of concern, but are focused on a formula for success:
Extraordinary Thinking + Extraordinary Action = Extraordinary Results! As evidenced by the well-documented employment and wealth gaps, the work and success of this group is vital to the African-American community and city as a whole. Without significant increases in wealth and measurable improvements in the employment rate, progress will be extremely difficult.
A new day is emerging among AfricanAmericans. Building on the significant strengths and assets of the African-American community provide hope that the mission and vision can become reality because African-Americans have always overcome, no matter the circumstance. With a renewed and intense focus on economic development locally, nationally, and even internationally, a new day is emerging among AfricanAmericans. One of the most exciting elements is the commitment of AfricanAmericans to work together to develop their own plan and then partner with others to make it a reality. The group has established a FUBU (For Us By Us) mentality and is preparing to be a positive agent of change and create a pathway that builds wealth and elevates the whole community. They seek to engage all levels of the community and stress the need to generate a grassroots movement. Now is the time to make it happen. Co-chairs of the Economic Development Workgroup: Rod Brown – Vice President of Family Services, Lutheran Social Services; Morris Goodwin, Vice President of Finance and Administration, Wilder Foundation; Readus Fletcher – Deputy Director, St. Paul Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity; Joyce Norals – Chief Human Resource Officer, Lutheran Social Services.
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ROD BROWN: working towards Major Breakthroughs Photo by Tim Davis.
Rod Brown has a burning desire and passion to positively impact and change lives. He is a proven innovator and trailblazer. He serves as one of the volunteer co-chairs of the AfricanAmerican Leadership Forumâ€™s Economic Development Workgroup which is on the verge of a much anticipated roll-out of the next stage of its strategic plan. Brown has an extensive background in the corporate and non-profit world. In his professional work, he has received recognition for his leadership including being honored with the Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award from his alma mater Mankato State University. He is a business graduate of what is now known as Minnesota State University, and held senior management positions at top level companies Oracle and Xerox Corporation. Brown 26 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
has executive experience, serving as CEO of Compatible Technology International in St. Paul and has also had the opportunity to engage his entrepreneurial interests as the former business owner of SADAKA Technology Group in Minneapolis. Currently, he is the Vice President of Family Services for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, one of the largest non-profits and social agencies in the region. He leads teams that are responsible for strategic management, operations, planning and key initiatives relative to services with children and families. His time is in high demand, as he and his wife, Floriane, are co-founders of Nibakure Childrenâ€™s Village in Rwanda, which offers a range of care and
education to orphaned children. He has served on several key boards in the Twin Cities and most recently was appointed to the Greater MSP Partner Advisory Council. Revive Twin Cities Magazine was blessed to have the opportunity to catch Rod Brown and gain his insights on the AALF Economic Development Workgroup and efforts to close the employment gap. Based on his passion to improve the lives of AfricanAmericans, his greatest venture is still in front on him. He provided some heartfelt and straightforward thoughts and comments on the causes of the employment gap and his hopes that the AALF will make a tangible, measurable difference in the community by utilizing a strategy similar to the Education and Lifelong Learning Group. ÂŠ2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
Q&A: ROD BROWN How do we solve the Employment Gap?
“When it comes to impacting this unemployment gap, we need a cohesive strategy with public, private, philanthropic, non-profit, social service agencies coming together to create a system that does three things: 1. Instills accountability into the process. We need electronic data, tracking of all participants, including those who were hired and fired. Accountability goes deeper than just counting the numbers. We need to check into the impact of education. One of the key parts of the 2009 Economic Policy Report was that when African-Americans and others have the same levels of education, African-Americans were still not doing as well with employment and advancement. I’m not hearing enough discussion about this topic. We know that education is important. Education is a hallmark and very necessary component of a growing and free market. It should be the key to increase one’s livable wages, but this study showed that this wasn’t the case in Minneapolis. Why is that? We have to zero in on this and answer the question. 2. Secondly, we need bold and courageous leadership. We need to think and imagine the new possibilities. Possibilities not just for African-Americans, but for our whole city and nation. We cannot be satisfied with business as usual. We have to look for breakthroughs. We will need to work together in partnerships and look at what we can do differently. What are the sacrifices that are needed by all of us? We have to be able to sacrifice to support our own businesses even if they are on the other side of town. With the internet, that barrier should be reduced. We may have to pay more in some cases, but there must be a commitment and shared sacrifice. We have to be able to make sacrifices to help ourselves. We can’t do this in isolation. This conclusion is what led to my involvement in the African-American Leadership Forum. This is a rare opportunity that has so many senior and top level leaders in all sectors. By coming together and using our collective, personal and institutional influence for the benefit of the community, that’s powerful. Groups have been working in silos and usually competing for crumbs instead of going for and expanding the whole pie. Research shows that we have the economic power to do this. What we need is to be open, disciplined, and trustworthy to work as a collective movement. 3. We have to build on our breakthrough thinking, creativity and ability to innovate. Now is the time! We’re at a critical juncture in our nation and world. We have everything we
need to maintain our position as one of greatest nations in the world. As African-Americans, we need to rediscover that we are one of the most creative people in the world. We have to revert back to our breakthrough thinking. We have to nurture it, appreciate it, and not undervalue it. If you look at major breakthroughs over the centuries, AfricanAmericans have always been creative and innovative. Look at the sciences. Look at music, fashion, and many other sectors. We are innovators. We always have been. I’m not making an egotistical, I’m better than you statement, I’m just trying to get us to realize as African-Americans that we create value. “The EDW is designing partnerships with corporate, education, community groups, non-profits, and others. In order to deal with this wealth disparity, which is 20x between AfricanAmericans and White, we must bring all of these key groups together. We need to build on this desire for change. We need bold leadership to change the game. We will use the playbook and framework that was implemented by the Education and Lifelong Learning Work Group. We are finalizing our white paper. We’ll soon present our strategic action plan. We’re also actively forming partnerships like the one that was just created with the Greater Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership (Greater MSP).
“Recently, I attended an Urban League Gala. The former Mayor of Atlanta, Ambassador Andrew Young spoke at the gala and emphasized the harmony that we need to create. He said that the political discourse has become so wide and we are not harmonizing the way we used to. We are not creating harmony with one another. He said there was a time that you could have your differences, but you would come together for the betterment of the country. We need to harmonize, that’s what we need to do in our community. We’re starting to do it. That is to include all of our ethnic groups and all of our diversity. He used as an example the 1996 Olympics. When Atlanta landed the Olympics they thought they would get a two to three billion dollar boost. It multiplied to six billion. Young said, Atlanta had every single person call their home country and we maximized their relationships. In Minnesota, the majority population are not adept to working with African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, Native Americans, and Africans. AALF-EDW is a bridge that brings both the corporate business community and the African American community together. As Mayor Young states, we need to maximize all of our diversity in the 13 county area of Minneapolis.”
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Hussein Samatar: building wealth
communities Photo by Tim Davis.
Hussein Samatar’s story is simple and amazing at the same time. In less than 20 years since coming to America, Samatar has risen from an immigrant fleeing from civil war to founding and leading one of the most dynamic organizations in the Twin Cities, the African Development Center. The progress and results of the Center rival the best of any community development centers in the nation. How did this African immigrant achieve this level of success in such a short time and what can we learn as we venture towards 100% employment and closing the wealth gap in Minnesota? 28 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
Coming to America
A Somalia native, Samatar was a college graduate who fled his home country when the war broke out. He ended up like thousands of other African immigrants that moved to the city of Minneapolis. In his words, shortly after arriving in 1993, he immediately went about the business of learning the language. Coming to the United States with a B.A. in Economics, he knew how business worked. It was with that knowledge that he landed a job with Norwest Bank. “I was truly lucky to have the opportunity to start at Norwest Bank before it became Wells Fargo” said Samatar. “It gave me the foundation that I needed.”
Everything worked out great. He maximized the window of opportunity and had a very successful career at Wells Fargo. Yet, something was yearning inside of him. He never forgot the challenges he faced as an immigrant trying to find his way in a new city and country. He was concerned with the issues facing others in the African community and specifically the lack of economic development. Fueled with strong desire to make a difference, he jumped into community organizing from 2002 to 2004 while simultaneously earning his MBA. From there, Samatar started gaining knowledge and experience in commercial lending and housing development. There was no question, he had found his passion. ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
Fueling the Fire Within
Memories of the challenges he faced integrating into a new culture and society remained fresh in his mind. “As an immigrant, you can get so happy about paying tribute to the great things that African-Americans were responsible for well before we got here, that you can miss the memo that tells you that you are black and that black has a different meaning in the United States. As immigrants we are truly blessed that African-Americans have established civil rights and won victories. We’re ready to go right to work. Then, the reality of structural issues comes to the forefront.” “As immigrants we may come with a college education and business degree, but we begin to see right away that something is not right here,” said Samatar. “We have to learn how to navigate a new culture and community in a dignified way.” “You know something is wrong, but you can’t quite relate to the issues as completely as other African-Americans because we haven’t had that complete experience. Then you begin to realize that what’s happening to me is happening to other Africans and African-Americans. We can overcome the language. What is more difficult is working inside of a corporation, always feeling like you’re outside looking in.” Samatar’s words flowed so naturally and quickly, you would have thought he came out of the cradle speaking fluent English. What’s even more impressive is that he speaks five languages. He talked of how he had to relearn his identification. “What happens when you’re no longer Nigerian? Not Somalian? Not that you’ve left your real identify behind, but what does that mean in the United States. You are now an American. What does that mean?” A transformational moment for Samatar was when he finally realized that he needed to become comfortable as a black American. The breakthrough occurred when he observed that just as blacks in the Caribbean, blacks in Colombia, and blacks everywhere in the world, we are all dealing with the same disparities.
The disparities are everywhere. This brought Samatar to this question, “Africans and African-Americans are keen and intelligent students, why are some segments left behind? What can we do to fill the gap?” He went on to say, “It made me want to figure out how we can solve these disparities not only for my children, but for other children. What can we do collectively to mitigate these issues?” The fire inside continued to grow.
Moving from Vision to Results
In 2004, grounded in a strong understanding and intimate knowledge of finance, commercial lending, and housing development, Samatar launched the African Development Center. Utilizing his insights regarding the challenges faced by African immigrants and other groups that were being left behind, he set out on a mission that he quotes with deliberate ease, “to help people that we serve build wealth.” It has been a near perfect match. He has grown the organization from a start-up to a high performing and community impacting operation. ADC is successfully implementing strategies that most groups are just now beginning to discover. At its inception, it started with serving African immigrants. Since that time, the organization has grown and impacts a much more diverse group of people. Recently, they have expanded to Rochester and are looking to implement similar strategies. And, why not? It is working. “We have maintained our focus,” said Samatar, “building wealth over time for the people that we are serving.” With focus comes results. ADC has been recognized as the number one micro lender in the area. They have helped over 150 businesses with a $5 million dollar portfolio. He consistently outperforms the banks and other financial institutions. ADC has discovered they are the largest community development organization that primarily serves African immigrants. Not only are they involved in development, but have expanded to empower clients through financial management and are intentional to
also actively engage youth through entrepreneurship including starting and running two coffee shops. Samatar emphasizes “wealth over time” to youth and adults alike.
You know something is wrong, but you can’t quite relate to the issues as completely as other AfricanAmericans because we haven’t had that complete experience. Then you begin to realize that what’s happening to me is happening to other Africans and African-Americans. Revive! Omaha Magazine salutes Hussein Samatar and the fantastic work of the African Development Center. Mr. Samatar is paving the way forward by serving others, building generational wealth, and rebuilding communities. What’s most impressive is that Samatar and his team are doing it the same way that African-Americans built strong churches, institutions, businesses and communities as we moved out of slavery, pooling our resources, working together, innovating, creating, and supporting each other. He essentially is using the model that African-Americans created to help people create their own American dream, on their own terms.
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Q&A: HUSSEIN SAMATAR How are you achieving success in this environment? It comes from observing the AfricanAmerican experience. How is it possible that communities over time cannot build wealth? What is wrong with this experience? We learn that we can’t just consume. We must build wealth.
It comes through first time home buyer education. It’s not about public housing or section 8, but you owning a home and owning a business. By any means try to get there and stay there. Own your own home. Essentially, that’s how it starts. I am a big historian. Look at what AfricanAmericans did after slavery to build communities and that’s what we need to do now. Re-read the Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson published in 1933. What he’s talking about is how a community can build wealth and what they can do to keep their dignity. He’s talking about people defining their work, not institutions from outside the community deciding what we should do. We focus on the basics. We emphasize keeping our connectedness.
Tell us about the results. What outcomes are you producing?
Thank you for the question. Quite insightful. It’s never simply about activities. We are constantly asking ourselves, ‘What’s the impact?’ When you look at the ADC web-site, you will see that it’s about impact? We’re even more encouraged because of a strategic report that was just finished by Wilder Research. It clearly documents that the money invested in ADC is producing a high return on investment. It shows that for every dollar invested in our work, there is a 1 to 6 ratio. One dollar invested, $6 dollars returned. Through our work in home ownership training and counseling, we have helped the people we serve build to a point 30 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
where they are now creating 25 million dollars in taxable income. We focus on documenting and reporting results. We show it in a way that the mainstream community can understand. We use our own data to make decisions. We also provide our data to other organizations that are recognized as experts by the larger community, like Wilder, to evaluate and show our impact through their own methodologies. We do business surveys. We collect the data. We engage young people. One of them is from Yale. We’re asking her to lead. We consistently produce social media and news from ADC. We host a luncheon and policy breakfast. We then post the meetings on Twitter and Youtube. We are strong believers in building strong networks and that’s one of the reasons we believe so strongly in connecting with the African-American Leadership Forum.
What are the key principles for successful wealth-building?
1. Education. We have to collectively educate our children. We have to teach them how to work for others and how to work for themselves. 2. Financial systems. We have to understand lending. We need to understand how housing works. We need financial education. We must get comfortable with finances. We need a clear understanding about the American economy. It’s up to us and we must own it. Everyone needs to know their credit score, and please understand that the credit system and finances run this country. 3. Institutions. We need institutions that truly understand where people are and where they are headed. We need grassroots organizations, but they must be able to talk to big businesses and government. We have to
communicate. We must create plans to transfer wealth to the next generation. We must consistently engage and support the community.
What are three things that we need to do to increase entrepreneurship? 1. Take the risk. They used to say “Just Do It.” Just get in! Somewhere along the way, we stopped working for ourselves. We believe it’s too risky. We have to have the audacity to believe that we can achieve in business. 2. Network. Network. Network. You have to have people that are championing and sharing your cause. We have to build social capital. Then, we must leverage social capital and build even greater networks. 3. Always give back. There are many opportunities. I believe in youth and our children. People have to find something they believe in and give back. Whether it’s your church or mosque, just give back something. You don’t have to give all of your money, but give something back.
Closing Comments If we as a black community are wanting to create a larger and larger tent, we need to create one that recognizes Africans and African-Americans, no matter what state they grew up in, no matter what country they grew up in, no matter what education level they have, we need to create our own larger and bigger tent where it creates more successful Africans and African-Americans. We must create the understanding that when the black community is stable and prosperous, the nation is prosperous and everyone wins. ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
is critical to the African-American communityâ€Ś by Dell Gines, Senior Community Advisor Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
This past recession has hit African Americans extraordinarily hard. At a faster pace than most other ethnic groups, we have seen our savings dwindle, our unemployment rate soar, and have lost our homes. Many economists predict that when the economy recovers, it will not be the same as we once knew it. Companies will contract out more work, and they will require a more flexible and knowledge based workforce. If you combine this with the critical issues in our community, including our challenges in the education system, our returning citizens from incarceration, and the limited traditional economic development that occurs around many of our homes, it is clear we need a strong strategy. It is because of our economic condition and the change that our economy is undergoing that entrepreneurship must be made an African American priority.
Here are three reasons why: 1. The need to create jobs 2. The need to develop our communities 3. The need to provide role models for a sustainable future Currently, the national African American unemployment rate is 13%, over one and a half times the national rate. All of the net new jobs over the past five years have been created by small businesses. Big corporations are actually eliminating jobs at a staggering rate. If you combine this with the fact the African American business owners are more likely to hire African American employees, including those who have been incarcerated, you have a winning solution in entrepreneurship. Many of the key urban core areas that we live, work, and play in are on the decline. By adopting an entrepreneurship development
strategy, one can create local businesses that help our communities recover. These entrepreneurs create businesses that attract local, regional, and national dollars back to our community, improving overall community health and wealth. One of the most important features of entrepreneurship is that it provides positive role models to youth in our communities. As these entrepreneur role models increase, more of our children will see it as a viable opportunity. This puts us on a solid foundation for future economic growth and well being. Entrepreneurship is a powerful and necessary strategy for job creation, community development, and providing role models to create a healthy economic future. We must continue to look for innovative ways to develop and support African American entrepreneurs in our communities.
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DR. BEVERLEY Hawkins:
45 years of
Photo by Tim Davis.
By all accounts, Dr. Beverley Hawkins and her team shouldn’t have been able to accomplish what they have with Model Cities. She readily admits that she doesn’t have the background or training that most would expect her to have. Yet, she has quietly built a smooth running community and economic development machine that is generating measurable results and quite likely implementing what many organizations are just beginning to talk about. She prefers not to give it a name. Hawkins says, “She’s meeting a clear need in the community.” Model Cities has been at it for 45 years. The idea for the Federal Model Cities program emerged after the riots in the 1960’s. Hawkins says most people didn’t expect the organization to exist past the initial five year pilot. Most of the other national Model Cities efforts have long passed into economic development and place-based initiative history books. Model Cities of St. Paul started as an organization focused on being a primary health care provider and was launched out of the basement of the St. James AME Church. Since that 32 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
time, it has become a multi-faceted development organization that is changing lives and neighborhoods. At the foundation of their model is the premise that building communities is more than economic development and employment, but also to recognize the importance of strong families, crisis intervention, youth development, juvenile detention alternatives, housing, and education. The community development mission on the Model Cities website reads: to carry out community-based development that improves the quality of life and contributes to the revitalization of urban communities. “We have evolved from a primary health care provider, to housing, community development, real estate development, new construction and single family home ownership, and now focus on mixed-used projects,” said Hawkins. “We buy property and we develop, but we have a broader way of defining community development. It’s human development, real estate development…someone’s life should
be changed. Someone should get a job. We have an obligation to be helpful to the community.” That is exactly what they are doing. After purchasing lots or buildings, Model Cities looks to identify the best use for the property. Once the plans are developed by using input from the community and those most impacted, they create strategies that include: innovative resident and neighborhood engagement; creating short-term and long-term job opportunities through construction and permanent careers; identifying entrepreneurs that are working in their homes, but need support to move into a retail location; and, partnering with other innovative and collaborative organizations to turn visions into reality. Hawkins is a great example of a person that makes things happen without much fanfare. A person of faith, she gives all the glory to God and those who planted the seeds for their success. “We’re standing on the shoulders of Mrs. Vann. I wasn’t prepared for this work, but God is stronger than my ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
weaknesses. We shouldn’t have been able to do this, but the Lord is blessing us. People say that we don’t have capacity. We started with nothing. We focus on what we’re doing. We don’t believe in the silo approach. Everything is so interrelated, jobs, housing, education, families, if you focus on just one you will miss it.”
Model Cities Partnerships and Projects Frogtown Square Development A shining example of what’s possible with holistic community development is Frogtown Square. The project stands on a corner that was once a magnet for negative activities, but has been transformed into a beautiful, fully functioning mixed-used development. The story behind the development started when members of the Asian community wanted to redevelop the Unidale Shopping Center. While there was nothing wrong with the plan, they didn’t realize that the center had been developed by one of St. Paul’s first CDC’s, an African-American development group. The AfricanAmerican community was not happy about the proposed development and approached the City Council with a plan to increase the capacity of AfricanAmericans. After some large group meetings, one private developer, Archie Givens, a few CDC’s, and community council members stayed at the table long enough to develop a plan. The result was the community outreach library and 80 units of housing on the southwest corner of Dale and University. With that successful project completed, their attention then turned to the northeast corner. “We wanted to have a black presence there,” said Hawkins. University Dale Redevelopment Holding Company (UDRHC) formed a partnership under the name of NEDU, with four of its members: Greater Frogtown CDC, Model Cities, Neighborhood Development Center (NDC), and Aurora St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Company. The mixed use development now includes a barber shop, restaurant, Sunday’s Best – a clothing business,
and other small cottage businesses. Hawkins stated, “Mike Temali, President of NDC, one of our partners, has had great success working with people of color and women, bringing them out of their home-based businesses to retail locations. People who are ready to move to a store, but don’t know what to do.” Upcoming Projects Model Cities is working on $22 million in new projects including the Central Exchange and BROWNstone Development. The Central Exchange project will include over 8,100 square feet of commercial space including retail and offices. It will be a green building, using geo-thermal, energy saving appliances and devices, green roof, urban gardens, and the latest in green technology. Hawkins says they will also focus on attracting clients that have a like interest in green technology. She explains that the project is a prototype for green in-fill, smaller transitoriented development. While most developers are interested in corner lots, Model Cities is also emphasizing the importance of integrating green technology, innovation, and transitoriented development in the middle of the block. Hawkins says, “We want to demonstrate what can be done.” The Exchange project will also include 32 units of studio, one and two bedroom apartments. “We are targeting people who want to get on a train, go to a game and not have to fool with parking. They want a sense of safety and also want to be outside.” The plan is to have a green terrace with vegetation, edible food and other elements unique to the central corridor. Partnerships are forming between groups that are very interested. Underground and surface parking will be available. Central Exchange, once fully developed, will be a $9.3 million to $12 million investment. While the Exchange Project will be infill within the block, the BROWNstone Project will be on a transit corner. It is a 32,000 square foot building, but after in-depth analysis will need to be torn down and replaced by new construction. “Parking became
a business issue. Parking and the accessibility needed to run successful businesses just wasn’t available. We will create 10,000 sq. feet of lease/ commercial space, house offices for our part of our own staff, and create 12 units of housing.”
A person of faith, she gives all the glory to God and those who planted the seeds for their success. Hawkins had this to say about the Brownstone and future developments: “A vision for a cultural district between Victoria and Western is emerging. We need to look different. I’m thinking about the feeling you get when you approach Navy Pier in Chicago. We’ll be the gateway to this new district and people need to see something different. When people walk into BROWNstone, they will experience diversity. We are going to change the way the community looks.” “African-Americans have wanted to own and do something different. They want to own their own businesses. Most of the businesses are Asian owned. African-Americans want more of a business presence. The expectation is that the BROWNstone development will get more African-Americans into business in the community.” “We’re going to build University,” Hawkins said. “We will change lives through economic development, building strong families, and creating jobs.” Revive! Twin-Cities Magazine salutes Dr. Beverley Hawkins, her team at Model Cities, and the partners that are making great things happen on University and throughout St. Paul. Those interested in true holistic community and economic development would learn a tremendous amount from their evolving model.
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Dr. Randal Pinkett Making A Measurable Impact FOUNDATIONS FOR SUCCESS Dr. Randal Pinkett is living proof of what is possible and shows again the resiliency of African-Americans to overcome the most difficult circumstances to achieve against the odds. After the untimely death of his father while he was a high school senior, Pinkett’s mother picked up the pieces, working two jobs to make ends meet and put her two sons through high school and college.“She did what she needed to do to pay the bills, keep the lights on, and put food on the table,” said Pinkett. “My older brother was in college and I watched her hold things down on her own.” Pinkett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but his mother, Elizabeth, and father, the Late Leslie Pinkett, moved Randal and his older brother Dan to East Windsor, New Jersey when he was just one year old. Pinkett remembers his parents consistently stressing and emphasizing the importance of education. As he was growing up and moving through the educational system, Pinkett was always a strong student and became a three sport athlete. People that knew him would tell you that he was always an overachiever. 34 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
Upon graduating from high school, Pinkett was offered a full-ride academic and athletic scholarship to Rutgers University. When we asked him how he determined which college to attend, Pinkett responded, “It wasn’t much of a discussion. My mother told me I was going to Rutgers.” It was the best offer on the table and his mother was his biggest inspiration. Watching her work two jobs and out of a general concern for her well-being, Pinkett worked hard and pushed himself to succeed. “I figured if she was working that hard, the least I could do was pay attention and come home with good grades. It would have been an insult to not do my best. I had to take full advantage of the sacrifices my mother was making. It would dishonor her and my father’s legacy if I didn’t hold up my end.”
The College Years It wasn’t easy. “My freshman year in college was extremely difficult,” Pinkett said as he reflected on his college years. He remembers taking a full load of twenty-one engineering credits and feeling the heavy weight beginning to crush him. He told his track coach that he was considering leaving the team so that he could focus solely on academics. The coach made a recommendation that he reduce his class load, stay with the track team, and finish school in five years instead of four. He didn’t know it at the time, but
this turned out to be a key point for him. Pinkett took the advice, continued to run track and eventually became the team captain, participating in the high jump, long jump and relays and focusing on his academics through a lighter load of credits and more manageable schedule. After his four years on the track team and his eligibility was over, he used his fifth year to make up any remaining classes. The strategy worked even better than he could have imagined. He graduated with a 3.9 grade point average and was recognized with a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University. Pinkett made history as the first AfricanAmerican ever to receive a Rhodes Scholarship at Rutgers. Pinkett is committed to lifelong learning. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, he has gone on to achieve four more academic degrees. He has a Master of Science degree from Oxford University, England; Master of Science degree from the MIT School of Engineering and Master of Business Administration degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management; and Doctor of Philosophy degree from the MIT Media Laboratory.
National Impact Dr. Pinkett is probably most widely known from his season four victory on Donald Trump’s hit television
show The Apprentice. The show and the experience served as confirmation for Dr. Pinkett that he could lead and manage a multi-million dollar operation. Over time, Dr. Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author, scholar and community servant. He is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm based in Newark, New Jersey. BCT Partners works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the areas of housing and community development, economic development, human services, government, healthcare and education. A partial list of BCT’s clients includes: Johnson & Johnson, Ford Foundation, Pfizer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hewlett-Packard, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Microsoft. Dr. Pinkett currently resides in New Jersey, where he is happily married to Zahara Wadud-Pinkett, a Senior Alumni Relations Officer at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. They are both proud parents of their daughter, Amira Leslie. Dr. Pinkett is an active member of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey, and firmly believes that “for those to whom much is given, much is expected.”
“Pinkett and Robinson’s ‘10 Game-Changing Strategies’ should be for people of color what Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits’ were for highly effective people.” —Roland S. Martin, Analyst, CNN Host, Managing Editor, Washington Watch, TV One Cable Network Senior Analyst, The Tom Joyner Morning Show
“This book is a ‘must read’ to fully understand the Black experience in any professional setting. Black Faces in White Places takes a look at race and professional accomplishment in post-Obama America. Drs. Pinkett and Robinson interview entrepreneurs, corporate execs, educators, religious and community leaders to identify 10 clear strategies to be successful oneself–and to help others as well.” —Soledad O’Brien, Anchor and Special Correspondent, CNN
“At last, a book that isn’t narrowly focused on how to become ‘successful.’ Black Faces in White Places challenges each of us to look beyond our individual agendas and chart a course for ‘greatness’ – a collective agenda of helping others, thus creating a ripple effect that is felt for generations and generations to come.” —Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
RANDAL PINKETT, PH.D. is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, an information technology and management consulting firm. He was the season four winner of “The Apprentice.” JEFFREY ROBINSON, PH.D. is a leading business scholar at Rutgers Business School. PHILANA PATTERSON is a business news editor for the Associated Press.
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Q&A: DR. RANDAL PINKETT Tell us about your firm, BCT Consulting. What type of work are you involved in?
To understand BCT is to understand our mission and that is to build organizational capacity, strengthen communities, and improve the quality of life in communities. Most if not all of our projects hit on those core themes. We focus primarily on underserved communities. As an example, we were intimately involved with crafting Mayor Corey Booker’s transition plan. Our primary role was on the economic plan. We helped to develop a strategic agenda for small business development, commercial and real estate, and attracting businesses. Many urban markets are struggling to bring grocery stores into their neighborhoods. We put a plan together to attract a grocery store and a new hotel into the core part of Newark. We work with our clients to ignite wealth creation by getting business owners active and engaged. We develop plans and research. We also work with the federal government and help to assist grant recipients in managing their approved and funded projects. Our primary interest is in helping them to save money and build assets. Our firm goes across the country helping non-profits to implement programs, engage residents in creating strong credit, and finding families to build wealth.
What are the keys to building wealth in AfricanAmerican communities?
There are a variety of angles on how to approach this. The primary path for families to build wealth is through home ownership and savings. Home ownership is the cornerstone of the American dream. We also focus on Individual Development Accounts. 36 | REVIVE! Twin Cities
This is a great solution for low income families. Every dollar that they save, someone else matches those funds. The money can be used for education, starting a business, or retirement. It’s a great way to increase wealth and build assets. It follows the key logic of ‘what you keep after what you get.’ From a broader stand point when you look at the whole community, entrepreneurship is our focus. And when we say entrepreneurship, we mean across the age continuum – college students, professionals, and others. The fact is that 7 out of 10 millionaires will tell you they became wealthy by owning their own business. There’s a difference between having wealth and being wealthy. A business is the best way to be wealthy and the most prevalent way to do so. Because of this, we have helped low income families start businesses. We have helped non-profits start their businesses and launch into entrepreneurship successfully.
One of the primary concerns consistently raised by small businesses is the lack of access to credit and capital. How do you address this challenge? Providing solutions to access to credit and capital is about identifying the right partners and the right underwriters. Banks typically don’t lend to entrepreneurs, they see it as too risky. Our role then is to let someone else guarantee the loan. We have to find other organizations that are willing to invest. The SBA 7A program is one of the most popular forms of guarantee. Some banks do back the SBA and other programs are funded by foundations and even some non-profits. A great example of this is Brick City Development Corporation
(BCDC). Again, many small businesses struggle to get loans, especially in this environment. If a business needs to borrow $250K to expand their business, BCDC, a non-profit, agrees to put up $150,000 and maybe two banks put up $50,000 each. BCDC makes the first investment and then backs the rest of the loan. They organize it and make a deal possible that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
The Twin Cities have one of the largest employment gaps and one of the largest wealth gaps in the country? What’s your key message to the Twin Cities?
The message builds on what we’ve been talking about. We must create more jobs. The key is that we must focus more energy on small businesses. Small businesses generate 99.7% of the business in our country. They create 75% of the net new jobs. Most communities want to focus on the major employers. We need to realize that large companies are still laying people off. Read the news. One company just laid off 75,000 people. Here’s the secret, the action is when businesses with 50 employees expand to 100 employees. Companies with 200 employees expand to 300. The key is helping existing businesses to be more successful and helping to launch new businesses and creating new entrepreneurs. We also need to link these small and medium sized businesses to large corporations. As an example, in Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, they have created Minority Business Accelerators. The MBA’s link large corporations with local minority businesses to get more deals flowing. They work to court other large organizations by identifying where the businesses are spending money. Is it ©2012 Revive! Twin Cities Magazine
graphic design? Paper? Real estate and development? Where are these large companies spending money and how do we connect them with qualified minority firms? We work with these groups to help structure the deals.
You talked about the private businesses, what about the public side?
Absolutely, the public sector is a key piece of this strategy. In Newark and DC, when bidding for a contract, the businesses will get points if they are locally-owned, resident-owned, or hire in a geographic area that has certain disadvantaged populations. These cities realize the importance of local reinvestment. On the individual side in the Twin Cities, we have to go beyond looking for a job. I encourage our community members to really look hard at entrepreneurship and creating your own jobs and businesses.
Talk about your faith and role it plays in your success?
My faith is the foundation. It guides me in matters personal and professionally. It governs my behaviors and decisions. It is the prism through which I see the world. I try to live a life that is
consistent with my Christian faith. I’m not perfect. Even in my professional life, I have three partners and we worship at the same church. We pray together in the office. Faith is one of our corporate values. We don’t impose it on our employees, but we are transparent. I attempt to see my faith reflected in our culture and as an individual. It’s part of who I am and I don’t leave it at the door.
I can’t do the interview without asking, how did The Apprentice change your path?
Now, that’s a good a question. Usually people will ask, “What was it like to work with Donald Trump?” How did The Apprentice change my perspective or path? First of all, being on the show it put me in and among successful business people and some that were good at entertainment. Winning the competition reaffirmed my confidence and resolve. It helped me to realize that I can be successful in business. You have to realize that I was pretty young seven years ago, probably 33 years old. Being on the show and having that experience gave me a confidence boost. Having the opportunity to
work with Donald Trump demystified for me what it was like to run a multibillion dollar corporation. There were more zeros on the spreadsheet, but it wasn’t unlike what I was already doing. It wasn’t too different. I had my own ideas on how to improve the business. I went back to my company renewed, with my sights set on taking my business higher. I said to myself that I can do more. I could see myself running a much larger organization. It changed my trajectory.
What’s next for you?
Quite simply, grow the business and more specifically grow the company. I want to get the company to the point that even if I walked away, it could be on a growth trajectory. I also want to encourage those who are really interested in making this all a reality to read my new book Black Faces in White Places. It comes from a perspective of African-Americans that have been successful in environments where they may be the only one in the room. It’s also somewhat of an autobiography. It is worth your time and investment to learn more about how to make these concepts a reality in your life and community.
For information, visit SelbyAveJazzFest.com
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Published on Jun 12, 2012
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