Code M Magazine - Vol 2 - Spring/Summer 2019

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Marketers Reframing Manly Profiles Spotlight on Success: Tony Jimenez Fatherhood with No Regrets

Robert Ri'chard: Fit for Life Volume 2 | Issue 2 | SPRING / SUMMER 2019

Welcome all first-time readers! And welcome back to those who have spent time with us in previous issues. Last quarter we ventured a deep dive into MANHOOD. The feedback from our readers was positive and deeply appreciated. We love hearing from you! Manhood is such a wide ranging and intricately personal topic, I think we could have devoted the entire magazine to the subject. In this issue, we highlight FATHERHOOD. For some of you, reading this will evoke wonderful, heartfelt memories of your father. For many others, the topic may arouse feelings of anger, abandonment, or regret. In any case, your relationship with your father — or the lack of one — is an important part of your overall foundation and beliefs as a person, and without doubt directly impacts your approach to parenting. We are acutely aware of the importance of a mother’s role in bearing, nurturing and shaping the lives of children. The father’s role in parenting is often overlooked or ill-considered, especially in communities of black and brown skin complexions where absentee fathers is often the focus. We all know the alarming statistics of fatherless children and how the absence of a positive relationship with one’s father can permanently damage chances of a stable and productive life. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, “Black dads who live with their children are actually the most involved fathers of all.” There are so many factors that affect a man’s decision to actively be involved in child’s life or not. The reasons, valid or otherwise, will have a direct impact on his children and even succeeding generations. When our communities focus on the importance and impact of fathers, it can change the dialogue between men and women, and encourage men to become more engaged not only with their own children, but also with children in homes where fathers aren’t present. As a father of two sons and a daughter, and grandfather of three beautiful granddaughters, I know there is no other role in my life that has been more demanding and important! I was blessed with loving parents and I was determined to give my children the same. I’m not saying it was easy, Lord knows I had my challenges, but quitting the work or denying my kids the gifts and importance of my love, guidance, discipline, hugs, encouragement and laughter, was never an option. I challenge every man reading this, especially if you have children, to examine your heart to see if you are giving your kids what they really need. If not, ask yourself how you can build a healthier and better relationship with your children. I ask mothers who are in any way denying a father the opportunity to be in his child’s life, to consider the damage that may be done to your child’s mental and emotional security and stability. None of us is perfect, we are all afflicted in some way. But must we unintentionally or intentionally set out to damage our children at such an early age? I know this can be a difficult conversation but it’s an important issue we need to lift up and address both individually and collectively as communities of color. I also know many things are competing for your time, so thank you for choosing to spend time with us. It’s about time and it’s about CODE M magazine. #LIVEBYTHECODE

Bilal S. Akram CEO / President CODE Media Group, LLC

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Publisher Bilal S. Akram Contributing Editor Richard T. Andrews

contributing writers

Senior Adviser Alexandria Johnson Boone Special Adviser David Christel Media Coordinator Paula D. Morrison Asia Affiliate Cyril White

David Christel

Jewel Love

Leah Lewis

Nicholas Kelly

Kirby Freeman

Kenneth L. Wilson

Raymond B. Webster

Dan Dean

Paul Hobson Sadler, Jr.

Europe Affiliate Sharif Akram North America Affiliate David Williams Account Executives Bilal S. Akram Christopher Torrey David Williams Graphic Design & Creative Jennifer Coiley Dial Coy Lee Media LLC Director of Photography Sonya Holland Staff Photographer Franklin Solomon Social Media Eugene Miller Demetrius Calloway Rachel Woods Christopher Torrey

Richard McDonough

Special Mention Annalise Akram Madison Akram Nora Thorpe Advertising

Subscribe FREE online: Š 2019 Code Media Group LLC

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Philip S. Hart, PhD

Elton Alexander

COVER PHOTO of Robert Ri'chard by Xavier Albert

Letter from the Editor

It’s about time and it’s about CODE M magazine.

Finding the Groove I think of editing this magazine as having a contract with you, our readers. Our responsibility is to bring you articles that you will read, whether because the subject excites you, the story compels you, or the writer grabs you and doesn’t let you go. We’re happiest when all three things happen simultaneously, along with some surprise, some knowledge transfer, some curiosity arousal, and some entertainment. In this issue we return some of your favorite writers and introduce some new ones. We broach some new topics like technology that will likely be shaping up as an expanding regular section. And we sharpen our focus on vital matters like health and finance. And topically, we share a variety of views on fatherhood, including one on Father Time. Here at CODE M, we look back, ahead and all around to ensure that we bring you our best every issue. How are we doing? Warmest regards,

R.T. Andrews

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contents 9

Men Discovering Their Voice: A Lifelong Journey by David Christel

Healthy Masculinity Inc.: How Male Identity Brands are Leading the Way 12

by Jewel Love


Love, Respect & Sex: A Love Letter to Men by Leah Lewis


Three False Notions About Weight Loss by Nicholas Kelly

Unemployment is Low: Do You Feel Richer? by Kirby Freeman 18


Toiling for Tech Opportunities

by Kenneth L. Wilson

Inventor’s Circle: Little Known Stories of Fabulous Inventions by African Americans 25

by Raymond B. Webster


The Chronicles of Aspirations: Tony Jimenez by Richard McDonough COVER STORY:

Robert Ri'chard: Fit for Life by R.T. Andrews 31


Fatherhood with No Regrets

by Mickey Kesselman as told to Dan Dean 39

An Ode to My Father

by Paul Hobson Sadler, Jr.

Father Time Rules as the Undefeated Patriarch by Philip S. Hart, Ph.D. 41


A Look Back in Anticipation of Tokyo 2020 by Elton Alexander

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Men Discovering Their Voice:

A Lifelong Journey by David Christel Men today are going through the meat grinder. They’re being characterized and labeled in so many different ways by society, culture, religion, education, business, and politics that they’re finding it hard to navigate the often-treacherous waters of their gender no matter what arena they’re in. It’s a Catch-22 of damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Somehow, in this chaos, they’re supposed to discover who they are and what their purpose in life is. They’re supposed to figure out how to comport themselves in a competitive, critical, and anything-goes world. The upshot is that men are supposed to find their “voice” and know how to use it appropriately and effectively. That’s a hard thing to come upon, especially when they have such an array of “models” from which to choose from gangsters to saints and everything in between. Most men want one thing: to be heard and seen for who they truly are. That’s a daunting challenge when they’re taught to mask their true selves and their feelings, to fit within the prescribed parameters of other people’s agendas and systems. Yet, not only can it be done, it is imperative. Steven Griffith grew up in Chicago. He had no father figure in his life or mentors. His mother worked long, hard hours to support her two sons. For Steven, life was about fending for himself and if he wanted something, he had to figure out a way to get it. Lucky for him, he had an inherent inner drive to push, as well as to improve himself.

Steven’s family was in the lower income bracket and lived in an apartment. His mother, twice divorced, struggled with depression. Steven didn’t invite friends over out of shame. A tall, skinny kid, Steven was bullied in school and he was told by school staff that he was no good, a troublemaker. Steven ended up being sent to the principal’s office a fair number of times. Dealing with low self-esteem, he was an average student who was also challenged with dyslexia. Life got better for Steven in high school where he was playing basketball, baseball, and football. It was here that he developed dreams of an athletic career. He began working to develop greater physical mass and strength and to improve his skills. A natural communicator, he thought he knew his voice. In college, Steven pursued collegiate football and boxing on the side. His boxing coach, Tom, saw him for the person he truly was and became a life-long mentor. Tom really knew how to reach Steven, how to motivate him. Steven went on to win the 57th Annual Chicago Golden Gloves Super Heavyweight Division in 1984 during the football off-season. But, as life would have it, in a short period of time, Steven tore the same hamstring three times playing football and injured his back while boxing, which would require surgery. His dreams of an athletic career were over and now he was adrift not knowing what to do with his life. He felt like such a loser, that he hadn’t and never would | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 9

Most men want one thing: to be heard and seen for who they truly are. accomplish his goals.

aren’t places where guys can go and just be guys. Men’s clubs have disappeared. His idea is to develop educaBut, not long after, he opened a gym with a partner. This tional and social centers where men can come togethcaused internal conflict for him because he was working er focused around a value system and code of conduct. with elite, high-level athletes, some of the best in the These centers would facilitate and allow men to be men, world, but he would never be a pro athlete himself. Put- explore who they truly are, and rise to greater levels of ting on a strong front, his true voice was hidden behind authenticity. feelings of not being good enough. He believes men need to stop whatever they’re doing Then, Steven made the decision to either keep living his and spend time with themselves, whether that’s through life unhappy and frustrated or make a shift. He began journaling, self-reflection, contemplation, or meditaworking with a therapist who suggested he go on a Na- tion and ask, “Who am I, what are my talents and gifts, tive American vision quest. In that quest, Steven real- and what am I interested in?” ized that he’d been living his life according to a story based on his past, not his present. He asked the all-im- Men need to take the time to listen to themselves, to portant question “Who am I?” discover the universal wisdom already residing within them. They have so many external messages coming Realizing that he’d listened his entire life to others tell- at them that they’re getting distracted, hijacked, and ing him who and what to be, he now determined that hoodwinked into buying other people’s messaging and he needed to focus on what was truly important to him agendas. Men aren’t asking, “Does this feel right for me, and why. What Steven discovered is that deep within is this who I truly am? How do I connect to my talents his core, he wanted to help people, to be of service. To and gifts and bring them to the collective to make the do that, he needed to take that fundamental desire to a collective better?” higher level. Again, Steven feels men need to get together with men. Today, Steven is a highly-sought after high-performance There needs to be more face-to-face time, even if it’s on coach working with corporations, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Skype or Facetime. Men being with men and commuexecutives, celebrities, the military, and professional nicating with each other is imperative because there athletes. He is a speaker, seminar leader, and best-selling are so many men who are afraid to communicate their author who has written several books on performance feelings, desires, wants, and creative and crazy thoughts and communication. Through introspection, research, because of the world we live in. and contemplation, Steven found his voice, the one that expresses his fundamental, authentic self. Steven recently made a trip back to Chicago and realized that Chicago is no longer his town. His story has What distinguishes Steven from so many men is that he changed, he’s grown, he’s no longer living in the skin chose to discover who he is. Through that process, he and consciousness of his past. Once again, it required found his voice and modified it as appropriate to his life him asking, “Who am I now?” experiences and growth. His perspective now encompasses a much larger world, Steven’s perspective today is that there are a multitude one more sophisticated, introspective, congruent with of mixed messages of what the outside world is saying to who he has become. This is the journey all men are on, and about men, from “toxic masculinity” to the move- a process of maturation, of rediscovering their voices, ment to feminize men and their voice. He feels that men of being true to themselves — because the greatest gift can certainly be more sensitive, but that we’re moving a man can give himself and anyone else is the truest esagainst what we are biologically. He’s noticed that there sence of who he is. David Christel is a writing coach, editor, ghostwriter and author. He serves as a Special Adviser to CODE M. 10 |

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An advertisement for Dove Men+Care

Healthy Masculinity, Inc.

How Male Identity Brands are Leading the Way by Jewel Love

As the healthy masculinity movement grows, the question shifts from who’s on board to who’s on your board? In the wake of #MeToo and the repercussions that have happened in the past two years, we've already seen radical change. First and foremost, many men are beginning to see their gender construct as an essential part of themselves, with positive and negative social ramifications in the workplace and elsewhere. A number of powerful men have been stripped of their titles and responsibilities in light of sexual assault charges from women and others in the workplace. What was once a personal matter swept under the rug is now being blasted on main street media for public debate.

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These radical shifts don’t affect just the aggressor or accused; they are shaping our society as a whole. Each #MeToo accusation pivots male consciousness toward greater awareness of their behavior and sensitivity towards women in the workplace.

Socially, the #MeToo movement has given women and others more confidence in sharing their stories of sexual abuse openly with friends, colleagues, and the media in order to receive healing support and professional redress. At the same time, these disclosures are encouraging greater corporate and public education for men and boys about sexual harassment and consent. While it may seem like an easy fix to punish the wrongdoers and teach men to lay off sexually harassing women, the answer isn’t always so simple. In some cases, educational courses and trainings can do the trick, but grey areas still loom. In the corporate setting, should a man be alone in a room with a female colleague? How about getting drinks with her in a bar for networking purposes? While these are often common practices between men in the workplace, and may contribute to career advancement, they can be problematic when gender differences are present, and can inadvertently increase the possibilities for sexual harassment attempts and accusations to occur. The modern male dilemma. Where do men search for answers? Traditional cultures have long instructed men how to be men. Faith systems provide unifying narratives for men and societies on what was expected for male gender roles and behaviors. However, many social forces — the queer movement, feminism, the cultural revolution of the 1960s, psychotherapy, the internet, and workplace automation, among them — have pushed formerly concrete gender roles well outside the traditional “man box.”

In addition to changing gender norms, the current opioid crisis, mass incarceration, homelessness, and industry automation which disproportionately affect men, are additional factors leading men to contemplate their unique roles within society and their individual purposes in life. This is not a knock to feminism. In fact, this role upheaval is a nod to feminism. Women are doing a great job at clearing the path for themselves, genderqueer people, and others in workplace and educational institutions. While many feminists wish progress were happening faster, there is no doubt that change has occurred. Psychologically speaking, men are in a descent. A descent is a downward trajectory or crisis that individuals, groups, or entire societies face in order to reevaluate their identity and purpose in being. Not surprisingly, the free market is realizing this descent and is capitalizing on this growing market. What they are noticing is an emergence of men wanting to be seen as complex beings who honor traditionally masculine values such as power and authority, alongside traditionally feminine ones such as empathy and care. How can companies reflect our changing reality in ways that feel authentic to modern men? How can new messaging be delivered without seeming moralistic or nihilistic? We’ve seen brands succeed and fall hard in the last few years. The push is on.

MALE IDENTITY BRANDS Out of the therapy office and into the mainstream, male identity brands such as Dove+Care, Toyota, and Gillette, are for better or worse, paving the way for an upFeminists are pushing for equality and more in rela- dated presentation of masculinity that welcomes in the tionship to men. Equal earnings, equal protection, the emotional and psychological diversity among men. de-stigmatization of raising children alone without a father in the home: these all seem like irreversible trends. While male identity brands such as the NFL, NBA, NHL, the US Military, PornHub, Fortnite, UFC, Old Today, single parent female-led households are the Spice, and Ford Trucks still market traditionally mascunorm in many urban environments, leaving men to ask line traits of physical aggression and male sexual virility, “What is my role in the family? Am I truly needed?” If a new strain of male identity brand is on the block. women don’t need their protection or provision, how do men define themselves? If male professional success An emerging shift toward a strain of manhood called begins to be viewed by society as an evil patriarchy, “healthy masculinity” is rooted in emotional well-being what achievements should men work toward? The twin for men and boys. While traditional structures within pillars of manhood, protection and provision, appear to the movement for healthy masculinity include support be crumbling. In some quarters, they've already fallen. groups, therapy groups, and male wings of religious or| SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 13

ganizations, we are now seeing positive values such as respect for women, emotional intelligence, family values, life purpose, meaningful relationships, being woven into mainstream media efforts.

adult into the military. It’s a sentimental moment showing both responsibility and emotional attunement. As traditional roles of fatherhood and responsibility still ring true for a majority of men worldwide, there is undeniably a culture shift happening around gender, and A few years ago, Dove+Care released a commercial of large corporations are now appealing to the softer side men rescuing kids from dangerous situations. A kid of men. hanging on the monkey bars screamed for “daddy” to save her, and he came rushing over to catch her just in Whether you're a consumer of healthy masculinity time. This sort of imagery shows men in a traditional products and services such as psychotherapy and men’s protector role, coupled with the caring nature of a gen- empowerment books, or you are a provider of prosocial experiences for men such as support groups or tle father. via large-scale male identity brands, this movement is A Toyota commercial shows a father raising his daugh- going mainstream quickly and the time is now to get on ter, eventually watching her trot off as a full-grown board. Jewel Love is a licensed psychotherapist and the founder of Black Executive Men. His company helps Black men in Corporate America find inner peace through psychotherapy, medication management, and corporate wellness programs. In addition, Jewel is the founder of Urban Healers, a leadership program for social entrepreneurs seeking to launch male-identity brands. He can be reached on LinkedIn or at

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Love, Respect & Sex

A Love Letter to Men Dear Brother:

For nearly half-a-millennium diabolical forces have sought to separate and destroy us. Unfortunately, there have been far too many instances where they were successful. From the separation from family and friends endured by our Ancestors stolen from the Great continent of Africa, through the rigors of the Middle Passage (also known as the MAAFA) experienced over the Atlantic Ocean, during the vicious trials and tribulations of chattel slavery experienced in the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States, and U.S. social welfare laws and policies, men and women of African descent have been targets of disunity, confusion, disruption, and destruction for centuries. Let us not succumb any longer to these heinous schemes. Let us not take on and internalize the hatred others have for us. We cannot give place to this fear and loathing that is not a part of our original character and world order. As the descendants of the original man and woman, we ought to embrace our organic brilliance, divinity, and spirit of cooperation. There is a notion called African Complementarity. This concept is ancient. Complementarity takes two forms. First, there is the Complementarity that concerns itself with gender — the basic, male and female (I acknowledge the historical existence of the intersex, which is as common on the earth as humans with red hair). In this initial conception of Complementarity the male and female are deemed co-equals, each with their own particular set of gifts. Accordingly, where the female is more gifted, she is to take the lead in aid to her union with the male. Conversely, where the male is more capable, he provides the leadership for the benefit of the relationship. Ultimately, such balance contributes to happy, healthy, whole, high-functioning relationships. Each positive relationship builds healthy people, which then in turn builds a healthy community. The second form of Complementary considers genders and all of Creation and urges humanity to honor and respect the physical world and the unseen spiritual plane. We, by God and by our initial African heritage unsullied by colonization, are called to be loving brothers and sisters who work in concert for the benefit of ourselves and all of life. Love and unity are foundational for us. Notions of the other genders as foreign, as our enemy, or beneath us, is not a part of our humane African constitution. Vile rhetoric and acts that diminish the value of any person, persons, or genders in our community are tricks intent on destroying us through a divide-and-conquer strategy. Do not fall for it! Rise above it and love. Godspeed, Leah The Rev. Leah C.K. Lewis, J.D., D. Min. (ABD) is a 2005 graduate of Yale Divinity School and holds degrees from Howard University School of Law [1985] and Bowling Green State University. She is the author of Little Lumpy’s Book of Blessings. | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 15

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Three False Notions about Weight Loss

by Nicholas Kelly, MS, RD, LD

As a dietitian, I am frequently asked about weight management methods and how to achieve effective weight loss. In today’s society, achieving weight loss is one of the most coveted accomplishments. With access to so much information and ever-changing fads and trends, it is difficult for lay people to sift through and navigate what is reliable, accurate, and credible. In this column I will review three of the most common misconceptions associated with weight loss and healthy eating. Misconception 1: Not eating/skipping meals is an effective way to lose weight Many people think they will lose weight if they simply do not eat, a thought which, taken at its premise, is valid. However, this is not a long-term solution because the body needs fuel to run effectively. Not eating consistently causes the body’s metabolism to slow down, and thus go into starvation mode which makes the body store more food when one finally eats. This tends to lead to increased weight gain over time. Correction: The body would like to be fueled consistently 5-7 times a day. This does not have to be large meals but rather moderate meals with balance (i.e. fruit with granola, turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, carrots, and milk). Overall, the amount of food consumed and the timing of consumption are vital elements in understanding and managing weight loss. Misconception 2: I can eat whatever I want as long as I exercise Exercise and nutrition are ideally in perfect balance in support of your overall health. One does not function well without the other. I like to equate it to hands: exercise is the left hand and nutrition is the right hand. A person can still function with only one; however, the ease, functionality, and efficiency change dramatically. Correction: A healthy balance between exercise and nutrition is ideal. Avoid the idea of “cheat-days.” There is nothing to cheat on when talking about eating; there are merely healthy choices and less healthy choices. The goal is to make more healthy choices than not. On the other hand, staying physically active, 30-60 minutes daily as an adult is ideal. A person’s activity should be a balance of strength training and cardiovascular exercises for maximize results. Misconception 3: My friend lost a lot of weight on a fad diet, so it must be good The issue with fad diets is most of them work in the sense they will make a person lose weight rapidly. However, the method and stringent eating pattern one has to follow is not realistic long term. As a result, those people are more than 75% likely to gain 80% or more of the weight back long term. Correction: Avoid fad diets: they can be harmful and detrimental to your person’s long-term goals. A healthy rule of thumb is to lose 1-3 pounds per week. Overall, the key is balance, patience, and focusing on things like increased energy, better sleep, and loss of inches. Nicholas Kelly, MS, RD, LD is a registered and Licensed Dietitian with ten years of experience in weight loss and nutrition. He counsels individuals on weight loss, co-morbidities, sports nutrition and health and wellness, and has conducted wellness seminars to Fortune 500 companies and sports teams at all levels. | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 17

unemployment is low

Do You Feel Richer? by Kirby Freeman If you’ve been watching cable news over the past few months, you would be excused if you felt like everyone’s been telling you that you’re supposed to be happy.

6.7% in April 2019. The rate of U.S. black unemployment has ticked up slightly since May 2018, when it fell to 5.9%, the lowest it had been since the Labor Department began recording black unemployment in The U.S. Labor Department report- 1972. ed in May that the nation’s overall jobless rate fell to 3.6% in April, the Gallup Inc. polling found that most lowest rate since December 1969. As Americans are feeling some of the expected, the media widely touted gains, with about one-half of Amerthe statistical economic accomplish- icans recently reporting an “excelment of joblessness rates falling to lent” or “good” rating, regarding levels not experienced since about their financial prospects. the time the Jackson 5 first appeared On paper everything seems to be on the Ed Sullivan Show. rosy, right? The economy was reported to have added about 263,000 jobs in April, Despite the reported economic representing a record 103 consecu- gains — other recent studies have also noted distinct anxiety about tive months of job gains. the future. Even with job gains that Reflecting the relatively low over- the media has reported, it is the diall rate, the official African Amer- rection of long-term structural ecoican jobless rate was unchanged at nomic and societal trends that have 18 |

been casting shadows on the recent employment trends. Up until recently, the strongest growth has been toward lower-level jobs in service categories – specifically, health care and retail. It has been widely reported that many mid-level service managers and manufacturing employees have experienced difficulty finding employment at the same pay levels they had in the 1990s and early 2000s. Another cloud on the horizon is the amount of public, corporate, and personal debt that we all seem to be amassing in this country. For starters, the budget deficit for Fiscal 2018 (the period from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018) was estimated at nearly $780 billion. But the budget hole is expected to balloon to beyond $1 tril-

lion a year for Fiscal 2019 and 2020.

Moody’s Analytics estimated that outstanding U.S. government debt Much of this gap is attributed to rose by 7.6% to $17.9 trillion by a combination of the sustained year-end 2018, continuing a trend military commitments in Iraq and of all-time highs. But, government Afghanistan, expected increases debt is not the only area that is being in military spending by the Trump monitored by analysts. Administration, as well as the projected $1.5 trillion tax cut over In April 2019, Deloitte Services LP the next 10 years from the 2017 Tax estimated debt outstanding for nonReform Act. financial businesses stood at about $15 trillion by the end of September The current economic expansion, 2018, with corporations accounting which followed the Great Recession for nearly 64% of that total. Deloitte of 2007 to 2009, is about 10 years noted that nonfinancial corporaold, and has been widely celebrated as the soon-to-be the longest recovery in U.S. history. But, the federal Long-term government has not historically carried multi-trillion dollar budget structural deficits in the latter stages of economic expansions. As a result, the economic and federal government has to borrow societal trends money by issuing and selling hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. have been casting Treasury bonds, largely to foreign investors.

Analysts will be closely monitoring whether consumer debt could be rising faster than U.S. incomes, potentially raising the prospect of consumer defaults, which were a major spark of the last recession. Finally, and probably most importantly, analysts and observers have noted ominous signs from ongoing trends toward income and wealth inequality, and a hollowing out of the Middle Class. In the approximately 10 years since the end of the last recession, it has been widely reported that income inequality in the U.S. – the level of income received by the richest 20% of the nation’s households versus those of the remaining 80% of the population – is worse than at any time since the 1920s.

Normally, toward the later stages of an expansion, high business optimism and strong job growth would fuel tax collections. Usually, this serves to drive down budget deficits – and may even generate budget surpluses, as they did during the economic expansion of the 1990s.

According to data collected by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and reported through the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), shadows on the the top 1% of U.S. income-earning recent employment households received nearly 20% of pre-tax income in 2013, which is nearly double the average of about trends. 10% from 1950 to 1980. The IRS estimated the threshold to be in the tions are currently carrying more top 1% in of households in 2013 was debt today than just before the Great to earn adjusted gross income (AGI) Recession. of about $430,000.

Given the occurrence of $1 trillion deficits in the face of economic growth, how much more will budget gaps balloon when times get tough? When a recession hits, the government will be expected to spend billions on public assistance programs and employment initiatives. The next downturn could be especially rough if Uncle Sam is already tapped out.

American Banker magazine also noted continued concern with nonmortgage debt, which includes student, auto and credit card debt. The magazine, which reported on data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York hit record highs again in the 2018 fourth quarter, with aggregate credit card balances of $870 billion, reaching prerecession levels.

In contrast, the bottom 50% of households received only 13% of the nation’s pre-tax income in 2014. According to the IRS and CBO, this proportion dropped 20% in 1979. Income for the middle 40% of U.S. households also fell to 41% total pre-tax income in 2014 from 45% in 1979. The factors behind growing income and wealth inequality — steady au| SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 19

The factors behind growing income and wealth inequality are not likely to disappear anytime soon. tomation of millions of mid-level jobs, globalization of economic competition to developing countries, and ongoing funding constraints in public education — are not likely to disappear anytime soon.

the rate for other groups remained stable or increased. College-related debt has effectively served as an impediment to career development for a whole generation of young people – a point poignantly illustrated recently by billionaire private-equity investor Robert Smith’s The Great Recession exacerbated income and wealth commitment to pay off the student loans of the nearly inequality in the U.S., and some population groups — 400 graduates of Morehouse University. mainly minorities and millennials — have still not fully recovered. So, yes, the low jobless rate has had a positive impact on the economy. But for many Americans looking for a According to the Urban Institute, African-American full recovery from powerful, negative factors that have rates of homeownership, the most common source of been at work for a few decades now — it’s only just a wealth, dropped by 4.8% between 2000 and 2017, while beginning. Kirby Freeman is a Cleveland-based economic and business columnist, and currently serves as a consultant for several small firms and nonprofit organizations. He has had many years of financial and credit experience and has recently served as a real estate private equity analyst, an economic and community development director, and a business advisor. He and his wife have three adult children. He is also an avid sports fan and an unreformed news junkie.

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Toiling for Tech Opportunity by Kenneth L. Wilson

In 2019, we are living in a technological revolution of unprecedented global proportions. Nearly half of the world’s 7.5 billion human inhabitants are connected and affected. In 2019, cars drive themselves, aircraft fly themselves, and diseases may soon cure themselves. This same technological revolution is producing smart robots, DNA diagnosis, gene sequencing, neuro-technology, nanobots, artificial intelligence, big data, analytics, implantable devices, mind mapping, machine learning, virtual reality, clean energy, and a ubiquitous-global internet. The revolution is transforming neighborhoods and nations. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that this revolution is revolutionizing how the entire world works, plays, and lives. The verdict is already in: Our dependence on digital smart phones is obsessive and irreversible. For better or for worse, technology is deciding the fates or fortunes of every enterprise on the planet. While technology brings wealth and prosperity for some companies, it brings disruption and displacement for others. Canon, Netflix, and Amazon adapted and are alive and lucrative. Kodak, Blockbuster, and Sears did not adapt and

paid the ultimate price. Driverless Transportation On April 7, 2016, a convoy of self-driving trucks completed the world’s first European cross-border trip. According to The Guardian magazine, “Truck platooning” involves two or three trucks that autonomously drive in convoy and are connected wirelessly, with the leading truck determining route and speed. Proponents of truck platooning are ecstatic, but naysayers point out that potentially one third of all truck driving jobs might vanish in the next ten years. Most industry experts believe it’s only a matter of time before autonomous vehicles are going to be part of our core transportation network. General Motors self-driving vehicle unit, GM Cruise, is running neck-and-neck with Waymo, a subsidiary of Google. The two companies are considered the leaders in a crowded field. And toward helping our green planet survive, both companies are investing in electric cars. The GM Cruise uses modified Chevrolet Bolt EV electric cars, which are fitted with their autonomous-driving hardware.

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Cruise Automation Generation 2 Bolt EV AV self-driving technology on the streets of San Francisco in November 2017. (Photo: Karl Nielsen) Uber, Amazon, and The Platform Economy Platform Technology is a powerful business model powered by digital technology that enables value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. The platform’s purpose is to effectuate matches between producers (also known as providers) and consumers. Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba, Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, Wikipedia, and eBay are examples of hugely successful companies utilizing platform technology.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders puts it, “There is something profoundly wrong with this picture.”

Boom the Economy for Everybody Bernie’s right, and 70% of Americans agree. However, to fix America’s income-inequality problem, I like the audacity of three of the proposals offered by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who like Sanders, is running for President in 2020. Warren’s prescription: 1. Break up the Tech Giants; 2. Charge a 2% “Wealth Tax” to everyone Platforms make it easier for “ordinary people” to earn a with a net worth over $55 million, and; 3. Make Public few dollars providing their products or services. Uber Colleges Tuition Free. drivers and Airbnb hosts come to mind. In a January 29, 2019 article, “How Many Uber Drivers are There,” Break up the Tech Giants Ridester estimated there were over 2 million Uber driv- Tech giants like Amazon and Facebook must be broken ers. That helps lots of “ordinary people” meet month- up because their dual roles of controlling a giant platform ly financial obligations. And, some “ordinary people” and also selling on that same platform eliminates any earn substantial income providing their products and competitor from besting them, because as the platform services on platforms. Nonetheless, the overwhelming owner, they make and break the rules of competition lion’s share of platform revenues and clout go to the on their platform. To make the “free economy” fair and owner of the platform, which is not a problem in and free, they must be broken up and be forced to choose to of itself. But when a fair portion of those revenues and either to run the platform, or sell on the platform — not clout are not directed toward the overall benefit of soci- both. ety, then it is a problem. Charge a 2% “Wealth Tax Concerning the 2% wealth tax, $5-10 trillion can be Income Inequality In the United States of America, prosperity and wealth generated simply by taxing only those with wealth over abound with riches overflowing. But this prosperity, $55 million. That means that 99.99% of Americans abundance, and riches belong to a tiny few – like the receive the benefit, and only 00.01% of Americans get Walmart family heirs ($163 billion), Jeff Bezos (Amazon; taxed. The wealth tax is fair because for decades, the $158 billion), and Bill Gates ($101 billion). In America, 99.99% of us helped the super wealthy obtain their the top one-tenth of one percent of Americans own as wealth, because we helped pay for the roads, bridges, much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined. As law enforcement, utilities, and educated workers they 22 |

used to obtain their wealth.

embracing change and positioning oneself to benefit from the inevitable is a good bet.

Make Public Colleges Tuition Free Concerning Tuition-Free Public Colleges, 21st-century But the bottom line is: We must vote and put people in jobs require this education, and that education should office who are committed to leveling the playing field not just go to those who are already wealthy. and helping all Americans – providing justice and economic equality for all. Sadly, we do not have those peoGet Educated and Vote ple in the White House or leading the Senate today. Progress is a double-edged sword. In the next 10 years there will be an enormous exodus of jobs for old-fash- We Must Regain Control of Democracy ioned vehicle operators. The good news is: In the next Day-by-day as we toil, we chip away at reducing run10 years, there will be an unprecedented demand for away income-inequality. And reducing income-inengineers and remote-vehicle operators. Clearly, the equality requires that we control the “free market.” And time to pursue training as engineers and remote vehicle getting control of the “free market” requires that we get operators — trucks, drones, satellites — is now, because control of democracy. Kenneth L. Wilson is a tech entrepreneur with more than 40 years of experience helping people use technology creatively.

| SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 23

INVENTOR’S CIRCLE: Little-Known Stories of Fabulous Inventions by African Americans by Raymond B. Webster THE FIRST United States patent granted to an African American inventor was acquired by Thomas R. Jennings, of New York City, on March 3, 1821 for a clothes scourer (cleaning) process. Martha Jones of Amelia County, Virginia was the first African-American female inventor granted a United States patent which she received on May 8, 1868 for her invention of a corn-husker machine. Jan Ernst Matzeliger’s invention of a shoe lashing machine was considered the greatest forward step in the shoemaking industry. Patented in 1883, his machine revolutionized the entire shoe industry in the United States and around the world. Matzeliger was born in Paramaribo, Surinam in 1852. In 1871, he shipped as a sailor on an East Indian merchantman for a two-year cruise debarking in Philadelphia. Matzeliger worked odd jobs in Philadelphia until 1876, when he migrated to Boston. A year later he settled in Lynn, Massachusetts, at that time the largest shoe manufacturing center in the United States. Matzeliger held several jobs in a shoe factory, operating a sole sewing machine for turned shoes, running a heel-burnisher and also worked as a maintenance man on buttonhole machines and repaired machinery. There were, when Matzeliger was working, machines that could cut, sew and tack shoes efficiently but no machine that could last shape the upper leather over the lasting machine and attach it to the bottom of the shoe. A number of inventors tried to develop an appropriate lasting machine. The US Patent Office from 1880 to 1892 granted approximately 225 patents for various type lasting machines and improvements. Matzeliger’s machine was the only one to prove successful. After years of development of his invention and then development of a working model, Matzeliger attracted investors, C.H. Delnow and M.S. Nichols, for the price of two-thirds ownership to finance development and patenting of his lasting machine which was originally patented in 1883. When Matzeliger’s system was reviewed/ demonstrated for patenting as opposed to the manual production of a master shoe laster, it produced 700 pairs of shoes (per a tenhour work period) as opposed to 50 pairs produced manually (per the ten-hour work period) by an individual master shoe laster. Patents were also granted Matzeliger in 1889 and 1890 for a mechanism for distributing tacks and nails and for a tack separating and distributing machine. Patents were also granted in 1890 and 1891 for improvements to the lasting machine, which were granted posthumously (the 1890 patent was applied for in 1885 and the 1891 patent in 1888).

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is conducting a study on the number of patents applied for and obtained by women, minorities, and veterans. As part of the study, USPTO is seeking recommendations to increase the number of women, minorities, and veterans who participate in entrepreneurship activities and apply for patents. Your insight and experience can influence the final report. Here’s how: Submit written comments by email to by June 30, 2019. Comments may also be submitted by postal mail addressed to: Office of the Chief Economist Mail Stop OPIA U.S. Patent and Trademark Office P.O. Box 1450 Alexandria, VA 22313–1450 | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 25



of Aspirations:

Tony Jimenez by Richard McDonough

As a teenager, Tony Jimenez knew he had aspirations. A specific plan, though? No. He did know that going to college was critical, but how to earn that higher education was a dilemma. He was raised by a mom and dad – Cecile and Ray Jimenez – who had limited resources. His father was of Puerto Rican descent, while his mother – who grew up in Alabama – had roots in a variety of places, including Cuba. While neither parent finished high school, each earned a GED. Ray Jimenez served our country in the United States Navy for 20 years. While stationed in Florida, he met Cecile in Pensacola. “I was told that it was love at first sight,” says Tony. They were married a few months later. While in the Navy, the family moved around to various locales. During his teenage years, Tony was raised in northern Los Angeles County in California. He worked a variety of jobs while going to high school. His initial goals were to earn enough income so he could buy a car and have some spending money. 26 |

“I delivered two newspapers – one in the morning before school started and one in the afternoon after school,” Tony says. “In addition, I delivered the local Thrifty Nickel once a week.” Beyond delivering news publications, Tony also cut grass, edged lawns, and provided a variety of landscaping services. “I started out using my parents’ lawn mower,” he explains. “By the time that lawn mower broke, I had earned enough money to buy a better lawn mower. As I earned more money, I was able to buy additional tools so that I could offer my customers even more lawn care services.” After graduation from high school, Tony joined the United States Army. “My father didn’t encourage me to join the military,” remembers Tony. “Both of my parents, though, encouraged me to go further with my education. I joined the Army because I saw the military as a way to serve our country and at the same time enhance my skills through education. I believe there were greater opportunities within the military for a person like me than existed outside of the military,” Tony explains. “Everyone was equal within the Army. Barriers that might have presented difficulties for someone like me outside the military did not exist within the military. If you worked hard, you were able to see success. I started to believe that the only thing that could stop someone like me from success would be me.”

“I served as a Contingency Contracting Officer. My responsibilities included securing the products and services needed by the Army, including such items as water, fuel, food, latrines, and tents, as well as other products and services.” Through the years, his responsibilities grew into telecommunications, internet connections, and other technology-related products and services. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army in 2003. A year later, in 2004, Tony and two other partners founded MicroTechnologies, LLC. The firm operates under the “MicroTech” name. Initially, MicroTech was owned by these three men, Tony and two passive investors. “In 2015, I purchased the entire company,” he says. “MicroTech offers technology integration, telecom and cloud solutions, and product solutions to commercial enterprises as well as the public sector,” according to the firm’s website today. “MicroTech is a Service-Disabled,

Tony attended night school his first three years in the Army. He then was able to complete his college education through the Army at Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. He later earned two Masters degrees. His official biography details a Master of Arts Degree in Computers and Information Systems from Webster University, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Acquisition Management from Florida Institute of Technology. Overall, Tony served 24 years in the United States Army, five years as an enlisted member and 19 years as a commissioned officer. “I was stationed in a number of communities throughout the world,” Tony explains. “Locations included Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, among other nations, as well as places in Alabama, Texas, and Virginia, among other states.”

Tony Jimenez served in the United States Army for 24 years. This photograph is from when he served in Bosnia in 1995. | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 27

“Today I want more than ever to help others and to prevent what happened to me from happening to others,” says MicroTech owner Tony Jimenez. “My aspirations of today are different from my aspirations earlier in life, because earlier in my life I was naïve and believed that as long as you were trustworthy, kind, reverent, ethical, and you basically lived a clean life, good things would happen to you. Fact is that’s only partially right, but the truth is had I not been trustworthy, kind, reverent, ethical, and living a clean life I would not have survived my ordeal.” Veteran-Owned Small Business… that is afforded special status based on established federal government programs.”

much of their life does not typically become a successful business person,” Tony shares. “I’ve also had individuals question my business experience because of my background Jimenez has a 30% service-related as a Hispanic individual who grew disability. “This is the outcome of up without all of the opportunities living in a variety of environments that others might have had.” during my years with the United States Army,” he explains. Jimenez noted a major difference between life within the military and Today, the company reports annual life in the business world. net revenue for MicroTech of approximately $14 million. About 75 “In the business world, you can do people work at the business head- everything correct and yet fail,” he quarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia, explains. “There are far more varilocated in suburban Washington. ables that affect outcomes in the business world.” Growing a business has presented a number of opportunities for suc- “In the military, the environment is cess, but it also presented a number different. Your success, career-wise, of difficulties. is dependent on working hard and following a set path.” Jimenez has faced questions that appear to be rooted in assumptions In late 2013 and early 2014, Mr. and stereotypes. Jimenez found his life turned upside-down. In the years since found“I have had people question me ing MicroTech, he had achieved a because, from their perspectives, number of successes in business and someone who was in the military for had been honored by several groups 28 |

within the small business, veteran, and Hispanic communities. A series of news articles detailed allegations that some of his successes were ill-gotten. An investigation was undertaken by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Audits were done by several Federal agencies. Debarment – an action that would preclude MicroTech from doing business with the Federal Government – was a possibility. “It was a tough time period,” recalls Tony. “I chose to fight the allegations. I removed myself from day-to-day operations of the firm. I appointed an interim Chief Executive Officer and instead focused on long-term aspects of the business as Chairman.” “When you’re successful and that success is not typical for people like you, others naturally have suspicions,” he says. “Did the person cheat to get success? Did the person

actually earn his degrees in higher “Some of our previous customers education? Did the person act as a came back,” he notes. front for others?” Even today, though, Jimenez indi“People are skeptical when success cated that there are times when prodoes not match expectations.” spective customers of MicroTech question him about the allegations. Through it all, Tony appreciates that “There have been times where peosome stood with him and Micro- ple have done internet searches, see Tech. some of those news articles, and then decline to do business with us.” “I learned who really were true friends during this time period,” he A bright spot for MicroTech has recalls. Not everyone was support- been its work for several departive of Jimenez and MicroTech. ments of the Federal Government. “Many people showed their true selves,” he says. “Some stopped doing business with us. Some didn’t return phone calls. Some took longer to pay us for work completed. Some took advantage of the situation and did not pay for invoices for work previously done by MicroTech. Some employees left the firm.” “I decided to fight rather than give up,” he resolved.

In 2017 and 2018, MicroTech was one of nine businesses selected by the General Services Administration to participate in a $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract for the Federal Government. This contract includes a fiveyear base period and two five-year options, according to a news release from the firm.

In addition to MicroTech, the nine businesses include such firms as That decision to fight the allega- AT&T and Verizon. “We are the tions eventually worked. Jimenez smallest of the nine businesses,” resumed his CEO role a few months notes Jimenez. later after coming to an agreement with the SBA. As part of the agree- His successes have not gone unnoment, he attended ethics and com- ticed. In 2016, the Hispanic Heritage pliance classes. “These were classes Foundation awarded Tony Jimenez that I was more than happy to at- its Tech Award at the 29th Annual tend,” he says. Hispanic Heritage Awards.

and as a role model. As a Veteran, he also represents the great patriotism we share as Latinos. All our Honorees, including Tony, embody what it is to be real Americans and a source of inspiration. The Hispanic community has made significant contributions throughout history, and we are proud to recognize that impact in the present and the future.” In the same year, Mr. Jimenez was the recipient of the highest honor, the Reginald F. Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award, of the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council. According to a news release at that time, “This award is given to an individual who is considered to be most closely walking the path paved by Reginald Lewis, an entrepreneurial legend, brilliant financier, and business manager, who left a roster of accomplishments that compares to those of any great man in history.” In December of 2018, Hispanic Executive named Jimenez as one of its “Top Ten Líderes.”

“Each year, Hispanic Executive selects ten outstanding leaders who have made a marked impact on their respective fields, including everything from the media to construction,” according to a statement on the website of Hispanic Executive. “This year, each member of our “Some likely hoped that I would grow Jose Antonio Tijerino, President ‘Top Ten Líderes’ has made a major bitter because of what happened. I and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage contribution through their role in decided to focus on business and be Foundation, detailed in a news re- the Latino Donor Collaborative.” as successful as possible.” lease why Jimenez was chosen for this award: “He has been an exam- With hard work, dedication, and That focus on moving forward has ple of what Latinos are capable of in education, Tony Jimenez has shown helped MicroTech prosper. the tech sector for years as an inno- that success is possible. vative visionary, as a businessman, Richard McDonough is a prolific writer whose work has graced many publications. He lives in Philadelphia, PA. | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 29

28 |

Robert Ri’chard: Fit for Life by R.T. Andrews

PHOTO CREDIT: Reginald Duncan

| SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 31

We don’t know which sage first observed that “we make our living

by what we do. We make our lives by what we give.”

But that adage came to mind as we reflected on our wide-ranging conversation with veteran actor Robert Ri’chard, which took place not long before the nationwide rollout of his latest film, Bolden, the first weekend in May. [Watch trailer here.] It wasn’t the first thought that came to mind as we chatted with Ri’chard. He spoke with such gusto about his new film — one of several he’s working on this year — that we might have been forgiven for thinking he played Buddy Bolden, the flamboyant cornet player whom many credit with having invented jazz. Instead, the Emmy-winning actor played Bolden’s clarinetist, George Baquet. Ri’chard shared that he learned to play the clarinet in preparation for the film by practicing 16 hours a day and sleeping with music in his ear. His connection to the film about the legendary New Orleans musician may be rooted in Ri’chard’s DNA. Although he was born and raised in Los Angeles, South Central to be exact, Ri’chard’s father descends from French Creole stock, and the actor’s great uncle was Plas Johnson, the saxophonist perhaps most famous for his rendition of The Pink Panther theme.

Ri'chard in the movie Bolden [2019] with Gary Carr. Photo courtesy of

While he spent his summers back in Louisiana with his grandparents, Ri’chard’s school years were spent in the crucible of L.A.’s Crenshaw neighborhood, at a time when gang affiliation was generally considered crucial to survival. He was born January 7, 1983 and grew up just two blocks away from Nipsey Hustle, in fact going to high school with Nipsey’s widow, Laura London. Oddly, it was gang activity that bred Ri’chard’s serendipitous discovery of acting and literally opened the door upon his career. He recounts how he was walking home from school one day and, feeling himself in danger, “ducking into a random building, which turned out to house a faith-based acting school. “Faith Acting School,” he says, “saved my life.” Ri’chard was far from a model student in class, and jokes that he won an award for being “the kid most likely to be absent.” But he clearly had a spark, whether it came from his stenographer mother who loved tennis, or his stern ex-military father, who was already 50 when the future actor was born. His parents were divorced but his father’s influence was steady, as he coached his son in baseball, basketball and football.

32 |

PHOTO CREDIT: Stuart Matthews

| SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 33

Ri’chard speaks fondly of the elders who had a hand in shaping his career, from a host of great teachers [shout out to Mrs. Van Zant and Mrs. Farr], to his grandfathers, one of whom, he says, invented the visual slope indicator used by pilots as they approach landing.

Obviously, Ri’chard has abundant energy. He has scuba dived, sky dived, and tried bull riding in Montana.

Graduating in 2000 from L.A.’s famed Hamilton High School, which counts Forest Whitaker, Usher, and Vanessa Williams among its alumni, Ri’chard took his musical training east to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he wanted to be an engineer and work on NASA missions. That sort of work couldn’t keep a hold of the budding actor, who was already stringing together television credits and was not far away from making it to the big screen with a role in the iconic Coach Carter [2005].

Not terribly long ago, Ri’chard found an arena that both refuels his energy and supports his quest to be of service to his fellow human beings. It goes beyond his public appearances and speeches and afterschool programs.

The actor now has more than a dozen film credits under his belt, in addition to countless television appearances in all sorts of series. But our conversation dwelt less on those professional achievements than the host of passions that truly animate him. Acting, he says, has been a tool that helps him be more readily accepted as he moves through life.

“I love what I do,” he says. “It’s important that you find something that gets you out bed enthusiastically.”

Ri’chard has become a health, fitness and nutrition apostle, though he might not describe it that way. “I work out to recharge,” he says simply. But how can he not be an apostle when he works out with 200,000 followers on camera? Along with his physician, Ri’chard has developed a series of tenminute low intensity workouts, at least one of which he does every single day. On the internet via Instagram, YouTube, etc. — from wherever he happens to be — Ri’chard is engaged with his followers.

Of his workouts and the testimonials he has received Ri’chard says that he has “a quest to connect. … That’s from people who have benefited from his no-cost what we are all here for.” training sessions, he says unaffectedly, “I know that I’m an example for a lot of young people. … God put me Connected is something Ri’chard always seems to have on earth to give much, ask little, and inspire all.” That been. He met then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton last maxim is inscribed on the shared tombstone of his as an eight-year-old and introduced him at a student maternal grandparents. assembly. Growing up, he got to spend time with Rosa Parks, Greg Hines and the famed Nicholas Brothers. Ri’chard cites Einstein, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk as models for his aspirational life. Somewhere along the line, he became fond of travel abroad, possibly tracing to when an uncle invited him “I have a lot of work to do in the world,” he said as our to London to see a stage performance of The Lion King. time expired. Since then, Ri’chard counts visits to more than sixty countries, all over the globe, including Jordan. He tells I could write more, a fascinating tale of his encounter with a Jordanian but I think it’s time national in State College, Pennsylvania during a for my ten-minute snowstorm in 2009 that hinges on the actor’s ability to workout. converse in Arabic.

Ri’chard describes his workout program, HighwayFit, as “low intensity, medically sound, and physician endorsed.” Learn more: Follow Ri’chard on IG: @therobertrichard 34 |


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#Man Codes:


“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.” – Walter M. Schirra, Sr. “Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.” – Charles Kettering “You only appreciate your father the day you become a father yourself.” – Iranian Proverb “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” – Charles Wadsworth “Becoming a father isn’t difficult, but it’s very difficult to be a father.” – Wilhelm Busch “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – Theodore M. Hesburgh “The best gift a father can give to his son is the gift of himself – his time. For material things mean little, if there is not someone to share them with.” – Author Unknown “Black Fatherhood is an incomparable gift to Black men that truly comprehend what it means to be called dad, daddy, father, or pops. What a privilege it is to raise a child with patience, understanding, communication, support, encouragement, friendship, guidance, and unconditional love. It is an absolute honor!” – Stephanie Lahart “From the first time the doctor placed you in my arms I knew I’d meet death before I’d let you meet harm. Although questions arose in my mind, would I be man enough?” – Will Smith “ ‘Father’ only means that you’re taking care of your children – that’s what it is to be a father. ‘Father’ doesn’t mean that you’re havin’ some babies. Anybody can have a baby. Havin’ a baby does not make you a father. Anybody can go out and get a woman pregnant. But not anybody can take care of that woman. There’s another word for it: It’s called ‘responsibility.’ ” – Malcolm X “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, ‘Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.’ ” – Proverbs 4:1-4 36 |

celebrating fatherhood

Fatherhood with No Regrets by Mickey Kesselman, as told to Dan Dean When my father pulled in the driveway at 5 o’clock every night, everything was right in the world again. He’d beep the horn and we’d go out to greet him with a kiss. I kissed him when I was 5 and 15 and 22, which is how old I was when he died. It didn’t embarrass me. I kissed him in front of my friends when they couldn’t even shake their father’s hands in public. It wasn’t important to them or it was off-putting to show affection to their dads. For me, it was my connection to him. My dad was a salesman. Instead of staying out on the road towing the company line, he’d make sure he came home for dinner. He picked us up when we fell down. He came to all our JV games. He took a keen interest in us. All that kindness and goodness and love made a wrinkle in my brain for the way I wanted to live my life and the way I wanted to be a father. I was a great dad, too. I loved playing with Becca and Bobby. I loved listening to them and being with them as they grew up. Every time we’d get in the car, we’d find a new park to play in. Like any parent, I made mistakes. But I tried to teach them what my father taught me: integrity. I always told them the truth. That was important to me. Raising my children was the most essential thing I could do in my life. More important than my profession. More important than working 70 or 80 hours a week. I didn’t want to be an absent father who worked all the time. I had plenty of opportunities as a lawyer to work more hours and earn more money. I loved law. But it wasn’t as important to me as my family, even though that decision came with financial sacrifices. I didn’t want to have any regrets. I brought these two lovely children on this earth. I didn’t | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 37

want to miss out on the ups and down of their lives. I I never had any regrets about spending more time with didn’t want to miss out on the opportunities to support her. There were never any “I wish I had” moments. I did them and to enjoy them. They brought me a great deal spend the time with her. of joy, the kind of joy you can’t replace. Most parents who lose a child want to kill themselves. When Becca was 16 and Bobby was 14, we moved out to You can’t see the pain, but it screams inside. Sometimes San Diego when I started a couple of businesses. Becca I thought it would have been easier to take the seat belt was funny, kind, and intelligent. A wonderful daughter. off and hit the wall at 100 miles per hour in order to be After a couple of years, she started getting headaches. in a less painful place, to be wherever Becca is. The doctors initially thought were related to sinus issues. One day she got a headache that wouldn’t go During the first couple of years, when grieving her loss away — severe enough that we went to the ER. As they was absolutely terrible, I tried to be there for Bobby. I were running some tests, the headache went away, but tried to be the best father I could possibly be. He dea doctor wanted to rule out the impossible just to make served a life with a father who cared about him. Because of Bobby, I decided to live. His life is important, and he sure, so he ordered a brain MRI. deserves to be happy. He came back. He didn’t say “cancer.” No one said “cancer.” They called it a mass. They said there was Even though it’s been over 25 years, we still grieve her something wrong up here, pointing to an area of her loss. She was his best friend. We still cry about her, take brain. I knew what was happening. She had a grade 4 a deep breath and move on. astrocytoma. Life stopped for me. I got more involved in the cancer community after BecI used to say my daughter was my heart and my son was ca died. While she was in treatment, she’d invite a bunch my soul. I was 44 years old and my heart was breaking. of teens and young adults for a support group to our We turned our home into a hospital. We brought a hos- home. Running that support group after her passing pital bed into our room where Becca lived and received was my first foray into the non-profit world. treatment. My marriage didn’t survive. I moved back to Chicago My priority was her survival and health. I was lucky and asked myself, “What do I want to do with my life?” enough with my businesses to take time off. When she Giving back felt good. The non-profit world felt good. went for chemo treatments, I’d go with her. When she went for check-ups, I’d go, too. When they’d do blood I kept doing law, but on a part-time basis. I became the transfusions at the house, I’d be there with her. One Executive Director of the Jewish National Fund, then of the worst aspects of her brain cancer was when she the Executive Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma got grand mal seizures. I learned how to handle them. Society of Illinois. I also took a turn running an ALS When she’d seize, I’d hold her and talk with her. organization. Sometimes I’d put my hand on Becca’s arm to see if I could somehow get the brain tumor from her body into mine. If she could live and I could die, that would be okay.

I’m 74 now and I do elder law part-time. I’ve tried to be a good parent to Bobby, who is a successful editor, voice over actor, and businessman in Los Angeles. He’s a wonderful son and my best friend.

She died in our arms after 11 months. We buried her on I live my life one day at a time, but my heart is broken. her 19th birthday. Dan Dean is a survivor of stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and founder of M Powerment to bring men of all ages together to lead amazing, impactful lives after a cancer diagnosis. 38 |

celebrating fatherhood

An Ode to My Father by Paul Hobson Sadler, Jr. I was raised, the youngest of four brothers who grew up in an all-black working class community in West Philadelphia. Virtually every household had two parents and most of them were headed by the now coveted BMWs (Black Men Working.) All of my parents’ friends and all of my adult male relatives were hard working men, who did their best to support their families and provide opportunities for their children, that their parents could not afford to them. Many may say that my experience has skewed my view of contemporary reality. In fact, some may say that my experience is (and perhaps was) an anomaly within the African American context. But I’m not so sure that is true. Our image of ourselves has been largely shaped by the media: by what we see on television, on the internet and what we read in newspapers and magazines. These images of African Americans, and of African American men in particular, are seldom flattering and are often downright false and misleading. I once heard the actor Chadwick Boseman say that he lost his first major job in television for questioning why the role he was portraying on the show had to be so stereotypical. The character given to Boseman was a young African American drug dealer, a one-dimensional role that the actor felt was too frequently portrayed in the media. Boseman’s query caused him to lose the job and ultimately get blackballed in the industry for several years. My dad did not represent any of the stereotypes that the media presents of black men. He completed two years of college at Hampton University before setting out to pursue his dream to be a jazz musician. His dream took him all around the globe, recording music, performing in night clubs, in dance halls and on the radio. He even acted in two feature length black movies, that were produced before the writers of Shaft and Superfly were born. When he married my mother, he settled down and took seriously the role of husband, father and breadwinner. He | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 39

her with random acts of kindness. I watched him leave the house early in the morning and come home late at night, when he could get a second shift to help pay bills or make a way for us to go on the annual vacations we took each summer. I listened, as my father taught me important and sometimes painful lessons — lessons that have carried and kept me for a lifetime and that I have passed on to my children. Most importantly, he taught me how to be a father and how to be a man. By his example, he taught me that a father is responsible for his family and provides for his children. He taught me that a father works hard for the betterment of his family. He taught me that a father loves his children’s mother and respects her at all times, but especially in front of them. He also taught me the importance of chasing my dreams and allowing nothing to put limits on my possibilities. He taught me that a man does not allow anyone else’s expectations to shape his reality or limit his vision. As the youngest of my father’s children, I got to see a lot. He taught me that the only limits that exist for my life I saw my father deplete his savings account to get more are the limits that I allow to dwell in my mind. than one of us out of trouble. I saw him cry when his mother died, leaving him as her only surviving child, So, in this season of celebrating dads, I am abundantly the last remaining member of his family of origin. I saw grateful for the lessons that I have learned. Though it his chest swell with pride as he would tell his friends, has been many years since my dad left this earthly plain, and anyone else who would listen, about all of our ac- I want to say thank you, Dad, for all of the lessons I have complishments. I saw his love, respect, and devotion for received from you. my mother and observed how he lavished his love on raised four sons to adulthood, with a firm hand and a loving heart. He worked, sometimes seven days a week, to keep food on the table. He experienced many of the indignities that were inflicted upon black men of his time. Though he had been trained as a machinist, when he completed his course of study, all of the other students in the class, who were white, were given positions in the machinist shop, but he and the one other African American in the class were handed brooms. They were told that this was the position where “Negroes” started and that they had to work their way up from there. He ended up working as a ship fitter in the bottom of submarines and battleships and frequently suffered from galvanize poisoning until he retired, after thirty years of service to the United States government. Through all of this, he seldom complained and never missed a day of work because of illness.

The Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr. has been Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion Congregational Church UCC in Cleveland, Ohio since 2003. 40 |

celebrating fatherhood

Father Time Rules as the Undefeated Patriarch by Philip S. Hart, Ph.D. For Father’s Day 2019 I would like to salute Father Time. He has stopped many fathers in their tracks since time began. Take me for example, a father and grandfather who will be praised on Father’s Day for my support and dedication to my family. Father Time will be there as well making sure my aches and pains are real as I celebrate another birthday just four days before Father’s Day. My long round ball career with my undefeated 6th grade Columbine Cardinals team in Denver where my teammates included the Branch twins, Milton, a retired cruise ship executive, and Melvyn, a mechanical engineering emeritus professor, and Cary Gagan, an FBI informant in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal courthouse bombing case of domestic terrorism. My 1962 Denver Prep League championship East High School team included Richard Tate and George Rausch who both played on the Utah Final Four team in the historic 1966 tournament that saw Texas Western take home the trophy. For both Richard and George, the visit by Father Time was followed by a visit from the Grim Reaper, taking them to basketball heaven. I went on to play at Colorado College and University of Colorado. One of my Colorado College teammates, Bob Heiny, met the Grim Reaper recently after retiring as a professor of mathematics. In his obituary Bob said one of his proudest moments was holding future NBA champion Paul Silas to under 40 points when we played Silas’ powerhouse Creighton team in Omaha in November 1962. I fought off Father Time and was able to play competitive pick-up basketball at the Hollywood, California YMCA until I turned 70. I cherished the bumps and the bruises. I played with many actors, producers, writers and directors that are well known for their movies, television shows, and work in commercials. Slowly but | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 41

celebrating fatherhood

surely Father Time caught up with them as well and they turned to other activities to stay in shape other than the young man’s game of basketball. Here in Los Angeles, Lakers fans are holding their breath as LeBron James turns 35 next season with the big question looming, “When will Father Time get King James?” Many basketball fans suspect the real reason LeBron signed a 4-year deal with the Lakers was to build his business brand as a Hollywood producer. Give him credit for putting in place a long-term business strategy once Father Time makes it difficult for him to continue doing his day job effectively. All athletes, whether professional or amateur, will ultimately face Father Time. Over the years we have seen Father Time overtake the likes of Muhammad Ali, Derek Jeter, Tim Duncan, Peyton Manning, and others while the 42year old Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is doing his best to counter Father Time’s inevitable effects on both body and mind. As to the game of basketball and Father Time, this summer on August 6 the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is opening an exhibit I co-curated on basketball and Martha’s Vineyard titled “The Soul Cup: From Naismith to the Inkwell.” James Naismith invented the game of basketball in December 1891 at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA. In the summer of 1891, he attended the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Institute where he learned many principles that he used in his invention of the game of basketball. My co-curators for this exhibit — attorney Fletcher ‘Flash’ Wiley, real estate developer Richard Taylor and real estate equity investor Duane Jackson — and I co-captained competing teams in the Soul Cup tournament we held on Martha’s Vineyard each Labor Day weekend for nearly 20 years starting in the mid-1980s. The losing team would salute the winning team on Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs at the Soul Cup trophy presentation. Yes, we four former basketball junkies are now curating a museum exhibit about the game of basketball — a game we can no longer play because we can neither run nor jump — courtesy of Father Time. Our exhibit will include basketball junkie and former President Barack Obama, a seasonal Vineyard resident through Alexander Wolff ’s book, The Audacity of Hoop, as well as another seasonal islander Spike Lee (He Got Game), and much more. Keep marching Father Time and in the meantime have a Happy Father’s Day!

Philip S. Hart, Ph.D. is the author of more than ten books and over 100 articles. Hart is a member of the University of Colorado Distinguished Alumni Gallery. He is author of the Spring/Summer 2018 CODE M magazine article “James Herman Banning: The First Black Pilot to Fly Across America.” 42 |

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A Look Back in Anticipation of Tokyo 2020 by Elton Alexander The 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan are just around the corner. Are you ready? Just the word “Olympic” brings to mind visions of something grand and over the top, big and riveting. Few people remember, before there was the Titanic, there was the cruise ship “Olympic” which lived on after the other sunk. There are few things, if any, greater than something “Olympic” in size or individually, bigger than being an “Olympian.” This will become a space for us to look back and look ahead at the Olympic Games to come in Tokyo. The Olympics are the height of athleticism, regardless of the sport, and to get a gold medal in any of the disciplines, but especially track and field, is the accomplishment of a lifetime. Personally, I believe the 1960 USA Olympic team goes down as arguably the best collection of Olympians ever. Even a brief list of US Gold Medal winners is astonishing: Ralph Boston, Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), Wilma Rudolph, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Glen Davis, Al Oerter, Otis Davis and Rafer Johnson to name several.

Rome 1960 Olympics. Wilma Rudolph (USA) wins Gold in the 100m, August 3, 1960.

Maybe it was because 1960 was the first Olympics covered extensively on TV. But I was glued to the black and white TV faithfully watching Rudolph win individual and team gold medals, Ali box, and what now would certainly be considered a true basketball “Dream Team” of its era. Not just Robertson and West, but also Jerry Lucas, Walt Bellamy, Terry Dischinger and Bob Boozer among others. | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 47

“The 1960 USA Olympic team goes down as arguably the best collection of Olympians ever.�

Olympic basketball became a favorite. While the 1964 team was somewhat faceless, the 1968 unit was considered almost a one-man team led by high school phenom Spencer Haywood, along with the incomparable JoJo White and Charlie Scott. This begat the infamous 1972 Olympic basketball team, the first Americans to lose an Olympic Gold Medal in a game versus the Russians that remains highly controversial almost 50 years later. This in turn led to my personal Olympic memory in 1976, when Quinn Buckner tucked the ball in the crook of his arm and pumped his fist like a jackhammer when the USA reestablished its basketball supremacy. Nationally, however, the most indelible Olympic moments arguably came with the 1968 games. More and more throughout history the games had become a stage where politics was a subtle backstory. That became front page at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. For the first time ever, Germany was not entered as one country, but two representing the split between the East and the West. Social unrest spilled into Mexico City streets where college students protesting for political change, brought out soldiers and armored tanks to keep demonstrations under control while the games unfolded inside stadiums and arenas. The social activism for civil rights going on in American streets with rising black youth pierced Olympic tranquility when track and field medal winners John Carlos and Tommie Smith stood on the medal stand.

A silent demonstration: Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Their raised fists became a silent protest against racial discrimination in the US.

As the National Anthem was being played 200-meter Gold Medal winner Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos bowed their heads and raised their hands | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 49

clenched in a fist wearing black socks on their feet and a black glove on their hand. In support, Australian silver medalist Peter Norman wore a civil rights badge on his uniform. Smith and Carlos were banned from participating in the Olympics for life, while Australia barred Norman from the next Olympics.

Bob Beamon (below) shattered the Olympic long jump record in 1968. Later, he rolled up his sweatpants before stepping onto the medal stand to display the black socks he wore in solidarity with Smith and Carlos.

Remarkably, inside that chaos was an individual Olympic performance that overshadowed all of the politics. In front of a national TV audience, American Bob Beamon shattered the Olympic long jump record with a leap of 29 feet, 21/2 inches. It was a record that would stand 23 years, shattering the previous Olympic mark by nearly two feet (212/3-inches). It was such a dominating performance that few took note when Beamon, who was kicked off his college team that spring for participating in a boycott in support of civil rights, protested again at the Olympics. Beamon rolled up his sweatpants before stepping onto the medal stand to display the black socks he wore in solidarity with Smith and Carlos. And after the National Anthem played, Beamon would look at the stadium crowd and raise his right arm in a clenched fist, black power salute. Yet unlike Smith and Carlos, Beamon was not banished from the 1968 Olympic Village or banned from further participation in future Olympic Games. Beamon’s stunning athletic feat was and remains emblematic of the Olympic Games that continue to draw us to the TV screen every four years hoping to see something just as big and riveting that will remain etched in our minds forever.

Elton Alexander is a retired sports writer with over 40 years of experience who has covered major sports including college and professional football, baseball and basketball, professional golf, auto racing and the Olympics. He has worked at the Kansas City Star, Dayton Daily News, Detroit News and The Plain Dealer. | SPRING / SUMMER 2019 | 51

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