Friday, October 17, 2014
Maggie Anderson gave a Black business empowerment sermon! Based on her family's experience of buying black for one year, she provided with great detail the impact that the lack of Black support for black businesses has played in the nation. Few black grocery stories or dry cleaners. Just a few black banks. When she indicated that a black dollar stays in the community for 6 hours, versus 28 days or so in Asian communities, you can see why there are problems with unemployment in these communities.
It really was an ouch and Amen kind of program as I hope people left, like I did, asking what I can do to be more supportive. Knowing that New Orleans is a city that needs to employ black men, and thriving black businesses could mean jobs, maybe now is the time for the kind of movement we need to fix this problem.
We had a great time and learned a lot from a great guest. But the question remains:
What are we going to do?
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Monday was Columbus Day. But I know many brothers who discover America every time they have a run in with police. So in this era of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and others, we partnered with St. Augustine High School to host a summit where we want to begin a conversation on bettering the American experience for Black men.
I don't think this city has seen a panel like this before: Mayor, Police Chief, Sheriff, Judge, US Attorney and College professor. All but one a Black man. We began to start a conversation to teach young Black men how to engage the police. The students at St. Aug had fabulous questions, and we really needed more time.
But again this was a start. We will look for new ways to engage young men all across the city so that they can have good interactions not only with law enforcement, but with each other as well.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Last week we had a great conversation with Uncle Luke, formerly of the 2 Live Crew. For some folks having him speak on campus is a problem since their music was very sexual and profane. But we heard a man that has matured, who talked about First Amendment rights, and the state of music today.
I believe the music is worse today than anything they did, especially because there was always a comical element to the 2 Live Crew. That is gone today. Completely. But Campbell really articulated the complexity of defining the values of a society by which we make ethical decisions. Was what they did ethical? Based on who you ask and their value system, the answer might vary.
And that makes ethics a tough field to understand.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
In April I met with MC Lyte about a scholarship she wanted to do at Dillard. As we talked and bounced around ideas, one was to do a class to deal with lyrics in the music. So she agreed to co-teach the class which would include several trips on site. Her first visit was last week, and we started off with a campus empowerment program. This legendary MC inspired the students and guests to achieve their goals.
The next day we had our class. I watched her meticulously take notes as the students gave their impressions of our discussions on sex, gender and hip hop. She also wrote down the students' names so she could personally respond to them. She was such a natural in this small group and was very engaging. She is such a great partner for the university and we are thankful to have her.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
We kicked off a new season of Brain Food with former RNC chair Michael Steele. In a speech that gave equal criticism of both parties, Steele argued that the people need to take control over the country by truly holding politicians accountable. He mentioned Ferguson (as did I in my intro) noting that the people there have to elect those who will represent their interests.
About 250 people attended but the place should have been full. One guest said he was telling friends that he was coming to hear Steele and they asked him why he wanted to do that. Steele even addressed the fact that it has always been tough for him as a Republican & a Roman Catholic, but he tells everyone he was Black first. Anyone who heard him knew that.
My challenge is to get people to expand their minds by being willing to hear viewpoints that are different. The lack of critical thinking on display in the nation is the result of people not being able to listen to different points of view.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014
Congratulations to our athletic director, Kiki Barnes, who was selected by New Orleans Magazine as one to watch this year. She is nearing completion of her doctorate this year and has been named AD of the year for our athletic conference as well.