Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Lora McDonald, a Kansas City woman (see her picture to the right), is stirring up buzz because she made a vow to only support Black businesses this year. While she has announced she will do EXACTLY what we just did... you should know that she is not affiliated with EE, has never reached out to EE, and did not bother giving credit to The Empowerment Experiment in her media appearances. The NBC Action News (Kansas City) reporter, Lisa Benson, (see her picture above Ms. McDonald's) who covered the story did not mention The Empowerment Experiment, reach out to EE, and has not yet responded to my email about this matter.
We will assume Ms. McDonald's vow is well-intentioned and wish her success in her endeavor to support Black businesses.
Here is the story and video: http://www.nbcactionnews.com/news/local/story/Woman-Vows-to-Only-Shop-at-Black-Owned-Stores/iIPO-DBzu0-0hEA_9SJHwQ.cspx
Monday, February 22, 2010
On the first day of February, I started drafting a Black History Month message with some progress updates on The Empowerment Experiment (EE). I wanted to give you some insights on how our life has changed since our year of living off Black business, tell you about how Kellogg has an outstanding team of researchers working on the historic study based on that journey, and promise you that the tour and a victory party are still in the works.
Last week I buried my mother. Everything I am and have been able to do - including my being a loving and devoted wife and mother, and including my conceiving and conducting The Empowerment Experiment - I owe to her. Her struggle with cancer took something from my whole family, and I have not been able to focus on EE as I would have liked.
So I write today, not to give you the project updates, but to send you love and strength. We will all need it if we are ever going to earn and create the justice and prosperity to which our people are entitled. She is just another fighter, another warrior, another teacher who went home before the battle was won. I will not disappoint her by living the easy and excuse-filled life. I am stronger than that and I hope you are too.
Each and every one of us can support a Black business everyday. Each and every time we do, we show our children and the world how special we are. Each and every penny we spend can contribute to resolving our community's social, educational, and health problems.
As far as updates are concerned, know that I am still trying to raise the money to make finding and supporting quality Black businesses easier for all of you. I am still working on ways to get more VIPs, celebrities, academics and community leaders to be more vocal about our economic empowerment. So don't give up on EE. And EE will never give up on you.
Please show your support at www.EEforTomorrow.com.
Please understand if we have not responded to your notes and emails.
We will get back to the good work very soon.
My mother was born in Cuba. She spoke Spanish. She taught me to fight for the less fortunate. She taught me to defend the poor and the exploited. She taught me to be smart and strong. Till the very end, she always said, "Lucha!” That means ‘to try’, ‘to struggle’, ‘to fight’.
Founder, The Empowerment Experiment
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Dr. King again said this about racism and our economic situation:
“Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice but tolerated or ignored economic injustice.”
They marched to integrate the schools and ensure the right to vote, but did nothing to work for our economic empowerment. In fact, some call us racists for doing it.
So if they won’t support us, and we’re not supporting us, then who is going to support our businesses? How are we supposed to make it? Does anyone think about or care about that?
When you listen to us during our television or radio interviews, you should notice that Black media like Black Enterprise and Tom Joyner always asked us about what have we learned, how difficult it has been, what haven’t we been able to find…
On CNN or NPR, the major mainstream outlets, they first ask why we made the pledge to live off Black business in the first place. We would say, “We are frustrated by the asymmetry between all the awesome Black talent, businesses and resources coming from our community and what’s actually represented in and reinvested in our community.”
And as much those well-intentioned, open-minded, liberal White people truly do care about the horrible social crises we suffer, and proudly brag about voting a Black man into the White House, they never bother connecting our social decay to the totally preventable and absolutely nonsensical economic exploitation we suffer.
You see, don’t have to explain the importance of “Buying Black” to Black people. We know it’s not racism. It’s about love, pride, improving our quality of life, creating jobs, and providing role models for our children. We get it and all want to do it more. But our media is just as culpable as the mainstream media who don't understand our pledge to support Black businesses. There are not enough Black people – especially in our leadership, academia and media – telling the world to support Black economic development. We talk about healthcare, incarceration, education, housing, but NO ONE with power tells the world the main reason we suffer disproportionately in all those areas! None of them say that our close to $1 trillion in buying power works its hardest to clean up and build up other people’s communities, send other kids to college, and empower other group’s dreams for owning a home and a business. Imagine what that money – our money - could do in Detroit, Gary, Oakland and the West Side of Chicago. Imagine. Just imagine. Just dream.
Because I dream, I support Black businesses. Because I love Dr. King, who told us to move our money to Black banks, I support Black businesses every day.
Dr. King said this the day before he was killed:
“...We've got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in Tri-State Bank—we want a "bank-in" movement in Memphis. So go by the savings and loan association. I'm not asking you something we don't do ourselves at SCLC. Judge Hooks and others will tell you that we have an account here in the savings and loan association from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. We're just telling you to follow what we're doing. Put your money there. You have six or seven black insurance companies in Memphis. Take out your insurance there. We want to have an "insurance-in."
So we honored his day by doing our part to activate it. What did we do? Honestly, not much. The girls were home from school, so we played all day, watched TV… and oh yeah, we went a little bit out of our way to drop some clothes off at our new Black-owned dry cleaner. The owner played with my daughter, gave her candy and said, ”Happy King Day!” In that little exchange, between the business owner who built an awesome, top-quality business in her own struggling Black community, and the Black family who went out of their way to support her, we did do something to make his dream, and our dream, come true.
If you want to make sure the media and the politicians – from all races – start paying attention to his entire dream, our dream, make sure you join The Empowerment Experiment today. Just go to www.EEforTomorrow.com now and click in the Join Our Mailing List box.