February 28, 2007

Police Arrest a 7-year old Child

My son is 7-years old. He is an active child who does well in school ... likes to play football and basketball ... enjoys X-Box and Nintendo ... reads ... goes to birthday parties. It is inconceivable to me that the police would roll up on our block and place my son in handcuffs, take him to the local precinct, fingerprint and book him.

Yet, that is what happened to a young boy in Baltimore MD earlier this week. The police say that he was illegally sitting on a dirt bike on the sidewalk.

Back in the day, the police would locate the parents of a wayward child, especially if the child was on his own block. They might put him in the squad car and drive him to his house. What are we coming to when 7-year old children are being placed into the criminal justice system?

In Miami, FL the police used a taser gun on a 6-year old boy at his school. In Cincinnati, OH the law says that a youngster can be shot with 50,000 volts of electricity from a taser gun. Efforts to raise the minimum age for this police action failed.

One common denominator for these cases? They each involved Black children. Why are we surprised that there is such a negative view of law enforcement in the African American community when we continue to see these examples of the lynching mentality that we're told went away many decades ago?

As the mother of the 7-year old child in Baltimore said, "This has changed his life,” she said. “He’ll never be the same."

February 27, 2007

Book Review: The World is Flat

I'm currently reading book called "The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century". I am early in the read. I am probably the last person on earth to read the book. It has been highly recommended by many colleagues for many years.

One of the early parts in the book is a list from him on the crucial developments that brought us to this place where we have over 55 million blogs and folks in India are doing tax returns for certified public accountants in America.

In his chapter, "Y2K to March 2004," he talks about a number of factors that serve to flatten the playing field between developed and developing countries. Which factor do you think is most important? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations, giving them a huge new stake in the success of globalization?

The world is a different place than ever before. As a person of African descent in America I am struck bythe continuing need for my people to get busy. We truly need to run faster in order to stay in place. You have to wonder if the world got too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?

Anyhow, I join with my colleagues in recommending this book by Thomas Friedman. He does a good job to demystify our global village. He is able to translate complex foreign policy and economic issues in a way that common folks (like me!) can understand. I am looking forward to finishing his book in the coming days.

I realize from my global widgets that there are many visitors to this blog from all over the world as well as many places here in the United States. Have you read this book? Do you have comments or thoughts on the book that you would like to share?

February 26, 2007

6 Secrets to Deal w/ Racism

Whether you are a business owner, a busy professional or a blue collar worker, if you are African American, racism will affect your personal and professional success.

Instead of feeling frustrated, learn to focus on things that will help you succeed! This 45-minute teleseminar includes:
  • Six secrets for succeeding in spite of racism
  • Ten strategies you can use immediately
  • Three things you should never do when confronting racism at work
  • A short list of recommended books & web-based resources
  • A link to download the free e-book: Racism Exists: Don't Let it Define You
Registration for this teleseminar is only $10.97 and you can sign up right now! Villagers have three separate opportunities to participate in this teleseminar: Mar 26 and Apr 23.

As an aside, the facilitator for this event is Tracy Brown. She is president of Diversity Trends and the author of five books on diversity in the workplace. The sister is deep!

I look forward to reading comments from any of you that attend any of these three sessions of this seminar.

February 24, 2007

N-Word Makes Comeback with StepNAS-Fetchit and Rudy

UPDATE: Joke is on Nas ... New York threatens to pull $84 million in funding because of his N-Word album.

UPDATE: Mo'Kelly shares his thoughts on Nas. He thinks Nas is a comedian...

I thought that the NAACP buried the N-word at their convention earlier this year? Apparently, the memo didn't get to Rudy Giuliani or Nas.

Admittedly, I wouldn't know Nas if he walked into my living room right now. I've placed a photo of the young man with this post. My grandmother would say that he is a handsome young man ... until she heard him speak ... then she would note that he didn't have any home training. Nas appears to be the 21st century coon. He is this generation's Stepin Fetchit. StepNAS-Fetchit should be the self-title for his new album. I wonder if he even knows how much of a fool he will be if he allows music industry executives to use the N-word as the name of his album?

On the other hand, Rudy is old enough to know better. Since he knows better and continues to trample on the dignity and respect of African Americans ... the logical conclusion is that he simply doesn't care. Rudy never had much love for Black people when he was mayor of New York.

He isn't showing much love for people of African descent as a presidential candidate. You may recall that Rudy selected a co-chair in South Carolina who feels comfortable enough to denigrate the NAACP (...calling them the 'National Association of Retarded People' in public speech..) and Black folks in general on multiple occassions. The South Carolina co-chair is 80-years old. I tend to give old white guys a break for being prejudiced. Rudy should know better ... he says he wants to president all the people, however, it continues to seem that he isn't as interested in representing Black people in America.

This week we learn that Rudy's Minnesota co-chair, Rick Stanek, had been fired from a public position a few years ago because of his frequent use of the N-word in the workplace and elsewhere. Do you sense a pattern here with Rudy's close cronies in this presidential election? I think that Rudy doesn't have much love for Black folks.

Too Sense pointed out that this could simply be the southern strategy for Rudy. They don't like his social policies on 'family value' issues in those red states ... but, they sho' nuff got themselves a dyed in the wool good ol' boy in Rudy. That might be enough to get him the Republican nomination for president.

Anyhow, I understand why Rudy didn't show up in Baltimore or Detroit earlier this year for the presidential debates on African American issues. He can't stand the heat of questions about his racist cronies.

Rudy and StepNAS-Fetchit are both fools in my opinion. What say u?

February 23, 2007

What Answering Service Does Tila Tequila Use?

Do you want to know something that nobody else in the world knows about the Villager? I have watched all four episodes of Tila Tequila's MTV show over the past couple of weeks. I honestly didn't know who she was before the first episode came on. It turns out that she is the most popular person in the history of MySpace. I imagine that she must get tens of thousands of phone calls on a weekly basis from people that want to get to know her better.

What type of mad answering service do you need to have in order to answer tens of thousands of calls each week?

My suggestion is MAP Answering and Call Center Service. In fact, Tila and any other villager can try a 7-day complimentary trial offer for this state-of-the art answering service. No pressure, no obligation.

I probably should mention this to Tila. Anyone have her phone number?

Sponsored Post

February 22, 2007

Immigration Impacts List of Top Ten Surnames in America

Can you guess what the most popular surnames are these days? My surname is Hicks. We ranked #155 in the country. I figured that Smith and Jones were still in the Top 10. I didn't know that Garcia and Rodriguez were on that list. This is another indication of the changing demographics of our country.

The top ten surnames are:
  1. Smith - only one if five Smiths are Black
  2. Johnson
  3. Williams
  4. Brown
  5. Jones
  6. Miller
  7. Davis
  8. Garcia
  9. Rodriguez
  10. Wilson
Click here to see if your surname is in the Top 500. Anyhow, the Census Bureau study found that while Smith remains the most popular surname, Latino surnames are increasingly edging out historically common Anglo names. The number of Latino surnames in the top 25 doubled to six, the study shows.

Immigration has been the major factor prompting the rise in the Latino population in the United States. During the 1990s, the number of Latinos in America grew 58 percent and accounted for 13 percent of the country's 281,421,906 million population in 2000; today the number of Latinos tops 44 million and they are close to 15 percent of the population. People of color, largely fueled by the Latino population explosion, now are the majority in California and are expected to be the majority of the U.S. population by 2050.

One of the other findings of the survey is that nearly 90 percent of Washingtons and 75 percent of Jeffersons in America are Black. I wonder what that says about our our early presidents, George and Tom?

February 21, 2007

How Did Bobby Brown Find His Apartment?

I've been married twice ... and ... divorced twice. I started to think about famous break-ups. I figure that Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown is one of the most famous break-ups in recent history. For over 14 years, this pop music pair endured tumult that would have brought down the mightiest of marriages: drug use, jail time, infidelity rumors, career slumps, a reality show, a crush by Osama bin Laden, parachute pants, colonics. In the end, we may never know what finally killed the greatest love of all. We do know that Houston filed for divorce in October 2006.

Brown's career future is hazy at best. Perhaps the former New Edition member will do some work with another break-up victim, Kevin Federline ... in any case, I'm fairly certain that Bobby will need to search for an apartment because he won't be able to stay in Whitney's mansion any longer!

I encourage Bobby and others in need of a quick move to a new domicile to check out Apartment Finder.

Sponsored Post

February 20, 2007


Can 30,000 bloggers agree to do something together? Rick at QuipSpot, Brian at Brave Humans, and Carol at My View of It think so.

Oddly enough, Ann Coulter gave rise to this cyberspace initiative when she called John Edwards a faggot while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference. A few bloggers wondered how they could make their voices heard. The original post is from QuipSpot and is calling bloggers to help out with a project—which Rick, Brian and Carol are calling an experiment—to get 30,000 bloggers to be heard together.

The plan is to get all 30,000 bloggers to each “make a single post”—with a certain word in the title and on a date to be announced—“about what you want for the world, whatever that may be.” As the Quipper describes, “the purpose is not to make a particular political statement, but simply to make a noise.” It’s not about any one political or social message. It’s simply to show that when people band together their collective voice can be heard—just like the “Yop!” shouted by the Whos in Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who.

I'm a new blogger. The idea of bringing 30,000 disparate souls together at a single point in time through cyberspace seems bodacious. But, many people thought the same thing in December 2004 when Minister Louis Farrakhan put out the call for one million Blackmen to march on Washington DC. The media and other pundits scoffed at the idea when it was first proposed. But, fast-forward ten months later ... October 16, 1995 ... I joined with hundreds of thousands of Blackmen from all over the country in the Million Man March. It was one of the memorable days in my life.

But, that is a different post for a different time.

I followed the directions to be part of the 30,000 ... the Electronic Village is #117 on the list. I encourage any bloggers that are here in the Electronic Village to be part of this historic effort. Head here and read what you have to do. For now it only involves emailing your blog name and web address. For those Villagers without a blog ... I will keep you informed here about the progress as we go along. I see that there are about 120 blogs signed up as of today ... only 29,880 to go!

Care to comment on whether you plan to Yop! when the time comes?

February 19, 2007

Bring Back BLACK

UPDATE: Many wonder what comes after the Jena March. Emerging Minds argues that it is time to Bring Back BLACK. We shared information on this last month. Are you going?

Bring Back BLACK is developing and implementing a more effective leadership model that better addresses the needs of African Americans who are disconnected from the mainstream in the USA and across the African Diaspora. This leadership model will address the need for more effective political action, and grassroots economic development that benefits African American communities.

Representatives of the Movement to “Bring Back Black” plans to hold a “Birth-Giving” Convention for a new national organization of Black Nationalists and Pan-Africanists to be named the Nationalist Black Leadership Council. The convention will be held at the Dudley Conference and Retreat Center in Kernersville, North Carolina.

What makes the convention unique and unprecedented is that three national organizations will hold their annual conventions in the same location at the same time. The New MATTAH Movement and the National Black Alliance Network will also hold their annual conventions at the Dudley complex in October 2007.

February 18, 2007

Blog Rush Used to Drive More Village Traffic

We recently redesigned the Electronic Village in the hopes that we can attract more villagers. I'm no different than most of you in that I like to know that people are reading my blog. Therefore, I am interested in this new service called Blog Rush. I have seen a great deal of blogs talking about this service in the past few days.

I think that this is a widget worth exploring. I hope that all bloggers in the afrosphere will give it a try. This Blog Rush widget attempts to promote your blog on other relevant blogs. Basically, this is a little widget that you put on your sidebar that displays posts others have written on their blogs (related to your blog’s content). Each time the widget displays you earn a ‘credit’ which means that a recent headline from your own blog will be displayed on someone else’s blog. If your blog gets 69 page views a day your headline will be displayed 69 times on other people’s blogs.

Not only that - they have a referral system so that if another blogger signs up to Blog Rush after clicking through to it from your widget you’ll get credits each time that the referral blog shows the widget. The referral system goes 10 tiers deep - so you can potentially get ALOT of credits.

I guess this is the time to remind you that there is no money changing hands. Blog Rush is free to participate in and you can opt out at any point. Here are some cool features that are worth noting as you decide what to do:
  • Attempt at Relevancy - they show headlines on your blog that are relevant to your content.
  • Filters - you can filter out any keyword that you want and any URL that you don’t want to display on your blog.
  • Multiple Blogs - you can split the spread of your credits among multiple blogs (ie if you have two blogs you can enroll with both). I added it to my other blog as well.
Anyhow, I've decided to give it a try. In fact, I've placed the widget in prime real estate on the right-hand navigation bar. I hope that the links are relevant. I decided that our village is primarily a 'political' blog. I didn't see another category that fit us better.

February 17, 2007

Jill Scott Twist on the National Anthem

Jill Scott talks about the relationship between a people and its government ... and how that relationship is damaged when there is no trust.

Sista has a new twist on the National Anthem, huh?!

February 16, 2007

Social Networks or Social Bubbles?

Dori J. Maynard is president and CEO of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the nation's leading trainer of journalists of color. She is the co-author of "Letters to My Children", a compilation of nationally syndicated columns by her late father, Bob Maynard, the first African-American to own a major metropolitan newspaper. Maynard was a reporter at The Bakersfield Californian, The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Mass., and the Detroit Free Press. In 1993, she and her father became the first father-daughter duo to be appointed Nieman Fellows at Harvard University.

Anyhow, Ms. Maynard had some interesting thoughts about the afrospere that I wanted to share with you:

First, the Jena 6 story lived on the Internet. Bloggers, many of them Black, members of listserves such as the National Association of Black Journalists and members of social networks like Facebook, used the Internet to spread the story before it took off with mainstream news organizations like CNN, The Washington Post, and NPR.

The fact that the "afrosphere" has largely received credit for driving this story is important to keep in mind when we think about what is going on in cyberspace.

At a time when "the digital divide" is still code for "people-of-color-don't-have-access-or-know-how-to-use-the-Internet," Jena 6 reminds us of the fallacy of that premise. African Americans used the web and alerted the world to what was going on in a small town and in a largely overlooked state.

True, there are still some significant hurdles for entry into a fully wired world. However, they are largely socio-economic. I once asked someone how many white homes in Appalachia have Internet access. Turned out not a lot. The digital divide is real. It's class, not race, that makes the difference.

The Jena 6 story also reminds us that while the Web may be a place where anyone with access and an idea can voice his or her opinion, it does not mean that every opinion gets the same amount of attention. Think of how quickly word spread about "Memo Gate" and how long it took the outside world to pay attention to Jena 6.

So, that leaves us with the question of whether this new technology is opening up our world or allowing us more time to hibernate in the comfortable corner of the world that reminds us of ourselves.

That is something I look forward to exploring as I look at diversity in an online world. I hope you'll help me so that together we can think this through.
I don't think that Ms. Maynard gives enough credit to organizations such as The AfroSpear or the Afrosphere Bloggers Association. However, I appreciate her acknowledgement of the growing influence of Black Bloggers ... some of whom will be on the November 2007 list of the Top Ten Black Bloggers shared by the Electronic Village on November 1st.

Personally, I hope that more BDPA members become bloggers in the coming weeks and months.

February 15, 2007

Blogging Star Award

Asante sana to Pop Culture Dish, Presented by Malcolm for taking time to award the Electronic Village with the Blogging Star Award. This award was originated by Barb at Skittles' Place. This award is for bloggers who shine their light throughout the Blogoshere. Some do it with humor, others with creativity, and others with their kind and thoughtful natures. We all know more than a few of them so why not give them some recognition?"

In order to spread the love to others that are worthy, I am giving the Blogging Star award to the following bloggers:
  • Field Negro - This blog recently won 2007 Black Weblog award. Field isn't much for these memes and such. However, his AfroSpear blog uses both humor and creativity to make a point. He is a daily read for me. I share this award in the hopes it will drive more traffic to this worthy blog.
  • Eddie Griffin (BASG) - This AfroSpear blog is focused on supporting those that want to make a difference for Black boys in the educational and judicial systems of our country. Bro. Griffin's personal history is an inspiration in and of itself. This is a brother experienced in many negative aspects of Black life in America, however, he uses his blog to help and uplift his people. He deserves this informal blogging award.
  • Modern Musings - This blog facilitates grassroots intelligence gathering, works toward a better world through information and action, and remembers to lighten up and have fun. Danielle was the first blogger to notice that the existence of the Electronic Village. Her willingness to share blogging insights and encouragement to me in the early weeks of my blogging career were invaluable. I'm pleased to be able to present her with this award.
  • Black Threads - This blog has a unique niche. Sis. Kyra shines the light on Black quilters all around the world. In addition, it was Kyra that told me about blogging in the first place. She informed me about Blogger and I started my blog that same day. I am glad to provide her blog with this recognition.
  • It's A Blog Eat Blog World - Morgen is the creative genius behind a number of weekly memes that demonstrate both creativity and information. The Electronic Village regularly participates in Manic Monday and Wordless Wednesday. Morgen is an experience blogger who shines his light widely. As such, it is with honor that we share this award with him.
All honorees are asked to do the following: (a) Proudly display it on your blog along with a link to who gave it to you; (b) mention that it originated at Skittles' Place so Barb can follow it's journey; and (c) Pass it on to any blogger(s) you think should have it.

Villagers, do you have any thoughts on these five blogs that you care to share with us?

February 14, 2007

Cincinnati Blogs

I was leaving a Cincinnati pub today after an interesting business meeting when I saw a local publication called CiN Weekly. Blaring headling on the cover of the paper said, 'Blog On!' with a feature article entitled: 'A Few Good Blogs: Online Reading That's Worth Your Time'. Of course, I picked up a copy of the magazine and checked it out.

The feature article is on six unique local-area blogs. I encourage you to read the full article for details on all six. The three that found a kindred spirit in the Village were:
  1. Radio Free Newport: Sociologist, musician and blogging veteran Dave Purcell has spent four years writing about the impact of race and class on the country and Greater Cincinnati.
  2. Rockin' Hejabi: Nur Jemal, mother of three, posts about what life is like as a music-loving Muslim mom living in Florence. Truth to tell, Nur has a second blog called Heartland Hejabi that I liked even more.
  3. The Nati: If you think there's not much to do or nothing good happening in Greater Cincinnati, Joe Hansbauer will tell you otherwise.
It turns out that there are over 500 Cincinnati blogs currently in cyberspace. Much love to the six that were featured in Cin Weekly. I imagine that each of us looks to get our 15 minutes of fame here in the blogosphere. I noticed one common denominator for each of the featured blogs was longevity. Each has been working their blog for years. I started this one about two months ago ... so I have a long way to go.

In any case, I'm wondering if you have a comment on which Cincinnati area blog you think should be featured as one of the best next time?

February 13, 2007

Chapter Success Metrics

I have been an active leader in BDPA since the late 1980s (That's me making a point in the photo). BDPA is a national association of Blacks in technology. It provides programs and services to advance the careers of African Americans in the IT industry from the 'classroom to the boardroom'.

My observation is that it is extremely difficult to build strong local chapters for any non-profit organization, including BDPA. Getting members to volunteer time is difficult. Achieving sustainability of programs is difficult when the leadership is constantly changing over time. I've watched chapters come, grow & go. The discussion about the major challenges impacting on non-profits is growing on a daily basis in our industry.

I decided this year to see if I could put some ideas in motion that would significantly improve the success metrics for any interested chapter. My proposal to any interested chapter is simple --> bring me on board for a couple of hours each month and my efforts will drive the chapter membership, corporate sales and program meeting attendance to all-time highs.

At this point, BDPA Austin and BDPA New York chapter have taken me up on the offer.

  1. BDPA Austin - I began this month (Mar 2007) working with Lorna Stewart-Booker and her chapter leadership team on the success metrics ideas. Already, in the first week the chapter membership has more than doubled ... moving them closer to the goal of having 100 paid members in BDPA Austin chapter by the end of the year. Judaea Lane is the president of BDPA New York chapter. I'll start working with her chapter
  2. BDPA New York - I will begin working on strategies to achieve breakthrough performance for this chapter next month (Apr 2007)
Anyhow, Villagers ... I will keep you apprised of how this effort is going as the leaders in these two cities truly want to 'make a difference' for people of color that aspire to greatness in the IT industry. Have you had any experience as a volunteer in a local chapter of a national or global organization? If so, please share your comments on volunteerism in professional organizations.

February 12, 2007

Disney's First Black Princess

My youngest daughter grew up with a strong attachment to all of the Disney princesses. Her room was decorated with Disney princess books, sheets and such. They also have some strong female characters like Mulan. But, they never had a strong sister in the mix until now.

Disney announced that its next animated princess, Maddy, will be a sister of color! The film that she will appear in will be "an American fairy tale" according to company officials. However, the film won't be available in theatres until 2009.

The downside is that my youngest daughter will probably be at an age in 2009 that seeing Maddy won't be "cool" any longer.

There are other more sinister and serious downsides about this Black princess. Jennifer Daniels previewed the story line and shares her concerns in an article entitled, 'Froggies & Voodoo & Maids, Oh No!

Care to comment on your favorite Disney character when you were growing up? Are there examples of Black characters on camera that caused more damage than good for our community?

February 11, 2007

Cincinnati Business Incubator

Great news! I learned today that the city manager signed off on our $100,000 grant proposal to provide incubation services in Cincinnati, OH for CY-2007. This is a critical part of the fundraising efforts that we are currently engaged in for our non-profit incubator. It isn't of global importance ... but, dayum ... it is a good feeling to know that our non-profit incubator is moving in the right direction!

One of my goals for this year is to find 20 corporations to match the $100k grant from the City government. I'll keep you apprised of how that effort goes over the coming weeks and months. Suffice to say that today was a good CBI day!

February 9, 2007

The Segregated Blogosphere

I'm brand new to the blogosphere. I never realized how many blogs are created on a daily basis. I'm many years into being a person of color. I am always reminded of the reality of being a person of color in America. The two issues ... race and blogs ... were discussed quite candidly in a ColorLines article written by Celina De Leon. ColorLines is a national newsmagazine of race and politics.

Methinks that many Villagers will find this article of interest.

Chris Rabb's life as a blogger started with an e-mail. For four years, he sent out an e-newsletter to thousands of names in his address book. The newsletter eventually became his blog, Afro-Netizen, which provided Rabb's commentaries on politics and news, with a focus on Black communities. Since then, Rabb has become one of the most outspoken voices on the racial divide in the blogosphere.

"As bloggers of color, we are such a smaller number of people than our white counterparts. That makes reaching the volume of traffic much harder, and the lack of social and financial capital also makes this harder," Rabb said.

People of color make up 40 percent of bloggers, but only 26 percent of Internet users. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project's "Blogger" report, which was based on findings from their February through April 2006 tracking surveys, 11 percent of bloggers are Black, 19 percent are English-speaking Hispanic and 10 percent are some other race or ethnicity.

3/17/07 Update - Our posting motivated Theo Johnson to create a feature on his blog that he calls "Black Bloggers Unite".

Click here to see the rest of the article ... Then come back and share your COMMENTS with us!

February 8, 2007

BDPA New Jersey

I am an active member of BDPA. BDPA is an organization focused on supporting career advancement of African Americans in the IT industry from the 'classroom to the boardroom'. As such, I'll often share updates on BDPA with those Villagers that come to visit this blog over the coming weeks, months and years.

Today, I was proud to see the unveiling of a new website in cyberspace to market our BDPA New Jersey chapter.

BDPA New Jersey chapter is led by a brother named Donald Brown. The chapter founded in Sept 1980 is renowned for its strong and consistent leadership over the past decade. Folks like Irma Pittman, Coram Rimes, Darin Wright, Robert Trewick, K'ren Moorman and others have consistently delivered quality programs and services for the IT professionals in their state. The chapter currently sits as the 15th largest chapter in the nation (out of 54 total chapters).

I encourage you to visit their website ... and feel free to share your comments to this post on your thoughts about BDPA or the BDPA New Jersey chapter website. I'm especially in hearing from those BDPA members & supporters that may be reading this blog!

February 7, 2007

Is Your Website Blocked in China?

During my travels in the blogosphere I came across a website (greatfirewallofchina.org/) that works to document censorship on the Internet.

The goal of this website is to be a watchdog and keep track of which and how many or how many times sites are censored. They seek our help to keep the censorship transparent. Each blocked website will automatically be added to the great firewall on their homepage.

It turns out that my blog cannot be seen by folks on the Internet in China. I guess that explains why my global map over on the left never has any visitors from that part of the world. Of course, it could also be that my blog is only published in English!

3/9/07 Update - According to the NeoWorkz widget at the top of the page, our Village has been viewed recently from folks in Beijing, Taiwan, Jinan and Shinzhen! I learned today that the 2011 Olympics will be hosted by Shinzhen. Amazing how the Internet can bring us all so much closer together.

Have any of you been to China? Care to share a comment on your experiences?

February 6, 2007

Million Mentor March

One of my clients at the incubator shared information with me about the Million Mentor March. The idea is for adults to take the time to mentor (help) just one child learn reading skills at an early age. There are five critical skills children must learn in order to be proficient readers by the end of the third grade.

The Million Mentor March intends to improve school readiness of preschoolers and facilitate academic achievement among elementary school children using a simple, effective and inexpensive resource to promote language and literacy growth.

The eZ Book Club House (use referral code: ZUL200) features unique interactive books that help children gain early literacy skills by giving them the opportunity to explore sound and the meaning of words which appear on the computer screen.

If you have know a child aged 2-7, then you are encouraged to use www.zulemabooks.com (referral code: ZUL200) to register them for the eZ Book Club House. Membership in the eZ Book Club House is FREE and children receive their own personalized library, plus a FREE library starter book. Membership also entitles access to FREE games, music and coloring pages to make reading fun.

Another way you can help your mentee is by talking with parents and guardians. They need to understand that literacy is more than a child’s ability to read and speak words. There are five basic reading skills a child must learn very early in life in order to read at a level of proficiency to function in the fourth grade: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary, Fluency and Comprehension.

The eZ Book Club House has five different reading programs to help children become strong readers. To learn more about these programs and the five critical skills, visit the Library section at www.zulemabooks.com.

Anyhow, I signed up today as a mentor. A million mentors starts with one. We need 999,999 more. Tell a friend about the Million Mentor March and have them register online. If each one teaches one, imagine the impact we can make!
I remember back when I was a kid ... we had a public library (Pio Pico Library) a few blocks from our house. One of the best things about being a kid was having my own library card. We used to keep track of the books we read. I think we even got prizes if we read so many books over the summer months. Now everything is online. Here is a chance for our children to have an online library with diverse books and subject matter ideal for their age group. I hope you will take a moment to check it out. Let me know what you think...

February 5, 2007

Is the NAACP relevant?

Are you a member of the NAACP? I remember when I was in junior high school my grandfather gave me a gift of a youth membership into the NAACP. The best thing about the membership was that it came with a plaque that I immediately nailed to the wall of my room. I think that was the last time that the NAACP was relevant in my life.

Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the historical value of the NAACP. However, during my career the organization hasn't been relevant. They do make for interesting soap opera at times. I was a fan of Ben Chavis when he led the NAACP. Ben Chavis became a hero of sorts for me with his leadership role in the Million Man March. However his rise and fall from grace with the NAACP was sad to see.

In 1995, the same year her second husband died of prostate cancer, Myrlie Evers-Williams became the first woman to chair the NAACP. She was elected by one vote ... and her term of office was non-descript in many ways.

On February 20, 1996, Kweisi Mfume resigned his seat in Congress to become the president of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He said that he could do more for civil rights than in Congress saying, "Given the polarization in the country, the levels of crime and hatred, given the despair that I see in the eyes of young people, I thought that I could do more at the NAACP." After one year of leadership, Mfume had erased the NAACP's $4.5 million debt. He stayed in office until 2004 when he decided to run for the Maryland senate seat.

Next, the organization selects a business executive, Bruce Gordon, to run the organization. After 19 months ... he resigns. It appears that he couldn't get along with the 60+ person board of directors.

Finally, it should be noted that the NAACP branch here in Cincinnati, OH is becoming a soap opera. The branch recently won the privilege of hosting the 2008 national convention here in Cincinnati. This is big deal because of the problem that many African Americans have with the way we are treated in this town. You may have heard of the 'boycott' that was called after the riots/uprising that made international news in April 1991. Anyhow, there is now a giant debate about who won the recent election for president of the NAACP Cincinnati branch. I understand that recent decision from is to have a new election.

Anyhow, I say all of that to say ... I've not seen how the NAACP is relevant to my life as an entrepreneur. I know that they have a legacy that is strong. But, it seems to say a lot when a man with the credentials of Bruce Gordon is brought to his knees in only 19 months. Is the NAACP relevant to you?

February 4, 2007

LinkedIn Brothers & Sisters

I accepted duty as a moderator for a new YahooGroup called LinkedIn African Americans. LinkedIn African Americans is a professional discussion and networking group for LinkedIn African Americans or for those looking to do business with us. LinkedIn African Americans is a moderated forum so once you are a member you won't have to worry about spam.

It is our intention to have a good, rich conversation and even a bit of fun in networking with other LinkedIn African American professionals. Click here to see my profile. Part of the issue in our community is lack of unity. Perhaps if we systemically improve our ability to network with one another we can also improve our chance of finding 'common ground' on any number of issues.

Those that know me realize that I believe that economic empowerment is the best likelihood for the uplifting of our people. Networking in forums such as LinkedIn provide foundation for the spirit of Ujamaa to permeate us. Let's take advantage of cyberspace for the positive movement of ourselves, our families, our community and our people.

Have you made the move to the LinkedIn Network? If not, perhaps now is the time!

February 3, 2007


One of my colleagues on the LinkedIn Network is Brad Attig. He shared information with me recently on Chimby. I hadn't heard of it before Brad's message. Chimby is a vertical search engine that lets you search over 300 career advice sites at once. Evidently, Chimby crawls the sites of career coaches, career blogs and other media sources in order to provide the best answers to your career advice questions. Each source is hand-picked to ensure fresh, relevant results from an exclusive club of career advice experts.

Chimby provides career advice on a wide variety of topics including: career management, cover letters, hot topics, interviewing, job hunting, job search, resumes and work stuff. Anyhow, I added a link over in the left-hand navigation bar of this blog so that you can visit it whenever you want.

Personally, I remain on my quest to grown my consultancy in the hopes of never needing to get another W-2 in my life! I started my business on a full-time basis on July 5, 2002...so I'm into my fifth year as an entrepreneur. That being said ... it is always a good idea to have some good career advice close at hand. I hope you enjoy the Chimby link.

February 2, 2007

Cincinnati State of the City

Mark Mallory was sworn in as the 68th Mayor of the City of Cincinnati on December 1, 2005. Mayor Mallory’s election marks the first time in over 70 years that Cincinnati has elected a Mayor who was not previously a member of City Council. Mallory is also the first directly elected African American Mayor in Cincinnati’s history. Mayor Mallory is a life-long Cincinnatian, born and raised in the West End. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati Academy of Math and Science and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Administrative Management from the University of Cincinnati. Personally, I think that Mayor Mallory is a breath of fresh air in our town. I've lived here for most of the past 13 years and I think that he is a leader in all sense of the word. I don't know him personally. I've been in the audience on a couple of occassions when he was the speaker.

In any case, I enjoy the annual State of the Union exercise from our president. However, I've never paid much attention to the State of the City speeches put on by the Cincinnati mayor. Frankly, I don't even know if they have done them before. However, I see that Mayor Mallory gave a State of the City speech at a downtown venue earlier this week. Click here if you would like a copy of his speech. If you are more visual ... you can click here to see his speech online.

I would be interested in your comment on the part(s) of his speech that you found the most interesting.

February 1, 2007

Kyra Hicks: 'Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria'

My sister, Kyra Hicks, is a quilt scholar and expert. She wrote the definitive book on African American quilting a few years ago. Her second book is about Martha Ann Erskine Ricks, "a little girl from East Tennessee who shook the hand of Queen Victoria."

The story of that handshake and the quilt is extraordinary. The title of Hicks' new children's book, "Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria," with illustrations by artist Lee Edward Fodi, describes the life of Martha Ann in Liberia.

Kyra will be making a series of speeches as part of Black History month celebrations in Tennessee this month. She will be in East Tennessee from Feb 24-27 for a series of presentations sponsored by the East Tennessee Historical Society, Beck Cultural Exchange Center, Smokey Mountains Pearls Interest Group of AKA Sorority Inc. and the Knox County Mayor's Office. There is a great article on the series of events in the Knoxville newspaper.