Since the last time we talked, EE went national. Our little social experiment has now been seen on CNN, MSNBC, and will be on Fox Business next week. We have a lot of folks talking now. "Can you do it?" "Is this racist?" "Will it make a difference?" "Why buy Black?" "Why is it so hard for Black people to support their own?"
EE To Do list.
1. Put our economic and empowerment issues back into the national dialogue. CHECK!
More and more people have started visiting our grocer, Farmers Best, our dry cleaner, Evans Cleaners, and my shoe store, Sensual Steps. You cannot imagine how empowering and inspiring knowing that is. So if you think criticism from a few cynics, racists, and the fringe types who won't even take the time to see that this about love, pride, and unity, and learning about how we can improve our communities for future generations - is gonna have me hesitate, rethink, stutter, hold back - then you have another thing coming.
You know what's coming? More and more folks thinking about the possibility of a new America. More and more Black people believing in the possibility that some of those big American brands that have come to symbolize the American Dream in action... just maybe one or two of those can be Black one day. We've been here just as long as everyone else (except for the Native Americans), so why can't one of those stories start with a Black family? The Sears story. The McDonald's miracle. The Hilton legacy. The Ford phenomenon. The Walmart success story. These are all entrepreneurs or families. These are wonderful American institutions, awesome businesses, pillars of strength and hope for the American economy and workforce. But what I want us to remember is that those businesses exist simply because of good ol' entrepreneurship. JCPenney began with James Cash Penney. Hilton is the story of Conrad Hilton. Walgreen's is the legacy of Charles Walgreen. The Ford empire is an American family's tale of triumph. We need to view these business giants as individuals and families who simply started a business and worked hard. EE asks us to start considering that the time has come that one of these entrepreneurs, one of these families can be Black. This country has been integrated for a while now. We've been here 400 years now. We have a Black President now. Why can't one of those department store chains come from a Black entrepreneur's success?
EE To Do List (continued).
2.Showcase those businesses we encounter that defy negative stereotypes about Black businesses (poor quality, poor service, high prices, no selection). CHECK!!
3. Inspire Black people to start believing in Black business, and thinking that supporting them could lead to improvements in our communities. IN PROGRESS.
4. Prove to ourselves that there can be a different economic reality for us, where our businesses and our local economies can thrive as well as, and are as great and successful as anyone else's. PENDING.
Alright, been a nice, productive couple of weeks for EE. So why am I calling this week's message "The Good Kind of Fear"?
Cuz I'm scared!
Can this really be it? Could we really have beautiful communities, with thriving businesses, lush parks, grocery stores with fresh produce, kids playing, well-funded schools, low unemployment, high esteem? Is this where this "little" project is taking us? What if I'm right?
What if this is the beginning of that? What if all it took is more and more of you showing and proving your love for, faith in, and support of your own people? Wasn't it that kind of love and unity that got us out of slavery, Jim Crow, and got us the right to vote?
What if all of us came together, made little sacrifices, and insodoing, we made America a better place for all of us?
What if there came a day when Americans of all races were shopping at one of hundreds and thousands of Jacksons department stores, Evans Cleaners, Hightower drug stores and Karriem's grocery stores? What would that do for the Black child in America? Wouldn't that be a wonderful time for America?
Wow. That is scary. I'm scared to even think of what we could accomplish if we used, strategically and proactively, all the passion, talent, history, and resources we have to make things better.
OK Maggie. Take a chill pill girl. Slow down now. You're really dreaming.
Yep. I am dreaming. And what's wrong with that? I'm American too! That's what I'm supposed to do.
That's my American Dream. And that's a good kind of fear.