Words Have Power!

“I said what I said,” is a quote made famous by Nene Leakes on a Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion special. While this statement was made in an explosive moment, it has taught me one thing— always be unapologetic. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s so important that your thoughts align with your words. Many times people will encourage you to take back what was said or put words in your mouth. It’s very important to stand up for yourself. Never backtrack, own your stance with pride and confidence.

Speak your truth. In 2006, Tarana Burke founded the “me too” movement to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low-income communities find pathways to healing. The #MeToo hashtag spread virally on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. This movement is so important in today’s day and age simply because a voice was given to women who were previously afraid to speak out about traumatizing situations. With the power of words, abusers were forced to take accountability for their actions and an over abundance of victims were encouraged to move forward with their healing process.

Be unapologetic. About four years ago, Pantene came out with an ad, “Sorry Not Sorry.” The company stated in the videos description, “Sure, it’s polite to say ‘sorry’ sometimes, but for everything? No way. Be confident and #ShineStrong.” They also added, “As women, we weaken our own strength (in ways men never do) at work, at home, and during moments in between. Sorry is more than just one, little, reflex word.”

Prior to seeing this ad and implementing it in my own life, I was the exact same way. I would literally apologize for everything in an attempt to make other people more comfortable instead of “shining strong” and being confident in my words. “Sorry not sorry” encouraged me to change this habit and taught me the importance of standing firm in my own words and beliefs.

Words have meaning. The powerful Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” touches on several topics shining a much-needed light on teen bullying. In 2016, more than one out of every five students reported being bullied, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Unfortunately, the rise in popularity of social media has created cyberbullying, a heinous form of bullying which makes it easier for people to hide behind a screen, remaining anonymous while sending out damaging comments. People must start to understand and realize the power of their words and the toll that their words may have on other human beings and start to use their voice for something that matters.

I can’t express enough the importance of using your words wisely. Your words have the power to either create positive change or to be extremely damaging. Think before you speak and if you have nothing of substance to say it’s probably better to keep your thoughts to yourself. How will you use your words?

Positively Caviar, Inc. is a nonprofit focused on a message of positivity and optimism. Once a month, our Nucleus Team writes a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a purposeful and positive lifestyle. For more information about Positively Caviar, Inc. visit: staybasedandpositive.com

Blacks Can’t Afford to Ignore Dental Health

While Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide a safety net access to dental care is a big issue, especially for children of color.

“Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States, five times as prevalent as asthma, and dental care is one of the nation’s greatest unmet children’s health needs,” according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

Sometimes children’s parents simply don’t arrange for them to see a dentist. Sometimes, dental services are not available in particular areas, for example, dental needs are sometimes more likely to be addressed in emergency rooms than dental clinics. A 2016 report from the Department of Health and Human Services said that dental provider shortages were at least part of the reason some children, especially low-income black and Hispanic children, lack dental care.

Children pay a big price when their dental needs are not met. In the worst and most extreme cases, as in that of Maryland’s Deamonte Driver, children can die, because they do not have access to basic dental services.

“Childhood dental decay can lead to pain, difficulty eating, speaking and sleeping, and more serious infections, some of which can be life-threatening,” said Dr. Diane Earle, the managing dental director for Kool Smiles.

To address some of the need, Kool Smiles is offering free dental care to children in need on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Forty-nine offices in 13 states plus Washington, D.C. will be open to provide dental exams, extractions, fillings, sealants and other emergency services. The free day is open to children who either lack insurance or are underinsured.

To be sure, Kool Smiles can’t possibly provide a smile for every child, but they are taking a step in the right direction. This year represents the fourth year that the organization has offered the free service. It’s first-come, first-serve, so if you are interested, visit: www.mykoolsmiles.com/sharingsmiles to find a location in your area and to register for a free appointment.

In the past three years more than 1,400 children have received free dental care with more than 500 being treated last year. Kool Smiles hopes to serve even more children this year.

Access to safe and affordable health care has been part of my portfolio for some years. In 2015, I had the privilege of spending a week at Meharry Medical College, lecturing on health policy. The challenges that people of color face around health care can be distilled to the 3 A’s: Access, Assets and Attitudes. All too often access is limited, because people live in the wrong areas, because providers are unavailable, or because there are other reasons people can’t physically get to the care they need.

Assets determine almost everything— if you don’t have the dollars, no matter what the proximity, you won’t likely have the care you need. Finally, the attitudes of both providers and patients make a difference in who seeks care and in what kind of care is provided. Recent work on maternal mortality among African American women, regardless of race, suggests that racial attitudes in treatment make a difference.

Mental health and dental health are the two parts of healthcare that are most frequently ignored. It is not enough to simply get an annual checkup. Increasing research shows that mental health and physical health are inextricably intertwined. Dental health, all too frequently,

is ignored. Even those with “good” health insurance may have limited dental insurance. And lower-income folks rely on Medicaid and CHIP, but may not have anywhere to go to get the help they need.

Dental practitioners like Dr. Earle, a second-generation Meharry-trained dentist, stand in the gap for those who may not have access to healthcare. In her role as Managing Dental Director for Kool Smiles, Earle says, “Sharing Smiles Day is an opportunity for our dentists and staff to put a smile back on the faces of children who need dental care but whose families cannot afford it.”

Kool Smile’s effort to see 500 or more children on May 20 doesn’t begin to deal with the enormity of the challenge, but it’s an effort that will make a big difference for the children who are treated. It’s also an opportunity for us to reflect on the importance of dental health that the role that organizations like Kool Smiles can play in closing the dental health gap.

Full disclosure: I’ve worked with Kool Smiles and their dental service organization, Benevis, on a program called Watch Yo’ Mouth, featuring Dr. Earle and healthy living author Debra Peek-Haynes. We plan to offer more of these programs in coming months. Meanwhile, though, I am excited about Sharing Smiles Day and about developing ways more low-income children can have access to dental care, so that there can be a healthy smile for every child in our nation.

Julianne Malveaux is an author, economist and founder of Economic Education. Follow Dr. Malveaux on Twitter @drjlastword.

3 Tips for Raising Capital: U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

The 21st Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit kicked off a two-day event, held at the Sheraton Hotel in New York on Thursday with Rev. Jesse Jackson, organizer of the Wall Street Project declaring African Americans to be in the fourth stage of the civil rights movement when it comes to diversity and inclusion on corporate boards.

“The struggle continues. Blacks are still in need of achieving true economic parity and inclusion,” said Jackson. “We need greater access to capital, credit, formal education and higher wages because many blacks are the working poor.”

With panels on education to sports and investing, one of the standout panels was on how African American business owners and budding entrepreneurs can find varying ways to raise early-stage capital investments. From the panelists:

3 Ways to Raise Seed Capital

Start Within Your Own Network

Michael Lythcott of Uplift Equity Partners, who is a serial entrepreneur, said to start as small as possible within one’s own network of family and friends.

Lythcott said when he first became an entrepreneur he was looking to raise $1 million. An investor who he had a meeting with asked him how much he had raised so far. Lythcott had raised nothing. He said the investor told him to come back when he’d raised $10,000.

“You have to start within your own personal circle of friends,” Lythcott said. “I had to go back to my friends and family members and beg them for the money.”

Lythcott said it was the capital he raised within his own inner circle that kept him going on days when he wanted to quit the business.

“There were days when everything [wasn’t] going according to plan and I wanted to throw in the towel,” Lythcott said. “My investor, who is wealthy was going to be fine but I just couldn’t go back to my friends to tell them that I’d lost their money.”

Lythcott said African American business owners might not have family members or friends they can raise capital from but that “having some skin in the game” gives investors confidence about the dedication and reliability of an entrepreneur.

Expand Those Networks

Ita Ekpoudom, the founder and CEO of Tigress Ventures said it is important for women founders to network with other women for support and advice.

“Other women investors want to invest in other women,” Ekpoudom said.

She told the story of Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller, founders of Mented Cosmetics.

Johnson and Miller, both Harvard University graduates had pitched Mented Cosmetics, their cosmetics startup at a competition. They didn’t win.

A friend, Ekpoudom said, called to tell her about how the two female founder’s business was misunderstood by the investor-judges. Ekpoudom, who graduated from Princeton University, connected with Johnson and Miller.

While the business wasn’t at the level Ekpoudom could invest yet, she said she was able to connect the founders with another friend who advised and helped them weigh the decision of applying to Y-Combinator, a seed accelerator that has funded companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe.

Build A Relationship With Your Bank

Another way that entrepreneurs can raise capital is to start building a long-lasting relationship with a bank, preferably a black-owned one, Ron Busby, president of the U.S. Black Chambers of Commerce said.

Busby said although it is less difficult for African American businesses to get a loan from black-owned banks, “many people of color still don’t bank there.”

In 1994, there were 54 African American-owned banks according to the FDIC. Now, there are only 21, according to Busby.

“These banks were created to serve you,” he said. “You need to start thinking about a way for the bank to serve you,” he said. “Go to a black-owned bank in your region and open an account there.”

Busby said black-owned banks not only need the support of the community it intends to serve, they can also be a catalyst for African American businesses who are looking to raise capital.

The 21 African American-owned banks have assets totaling approximately $4.7 billion or approximately 0.43% of black America’s $1.1 trillion in buying power, according to the U.S. Black Chambers of Commerce.

ABOUT THE U.S. BLACK CHAMBERS, INC.

The U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) provides committed, visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment. Through the creation of resources and initiatives, we support African American Chambers of Commerce and business organizations in their work of developing and growing Black enterprises. The USBC is an association of more than 100 self-sustaining viable Black Chambers and small business associations nationwide and serves close to 250,000 small businesses. More information can be found at www.usblackchambers.org

Baltimore & Me: A time to pray

This is Part 111 of a three part series about Community Policing

When I walked into a community meeting in Harlem Park one night for a story I was working on, I stumbled across a story about the Baltimore City Police Department that didn’t make national news.

I didn’t expect to be welcomed into the circle of police officers, citizens and members of the city’s clergy, standing hand-in-hand under the sound of Baltimore City Police Chief Melvin Russell’s voice. They had gathered to pray..

Chief Russell’s words stirred my soul with such conviction, that I had to meet him. I was expecting to shake his hand after the meeting adjourned. Instead, he greeted me with a warm hug and introduced me to his right hand, Det. Quinese Green, who gave me the story behind the BPD’s Faith-Based Program, an initiative of the department’s Community Collaboration Division focused on bridging the relational gap between police officers and members of the community.

“Without prayer the city won’t change,” said Green. “We deal will all denominations of religions but the one thing that they have in common is prayer. They all pray. Everybody, may not be a believer, but when times get hard they turn to the church. They look for spiritual guidance. They turn to their faith based entities for help.

“In order for the eastern district to transform [churches] are going to all have to come out from the confines of their congregations and come together,” she said of the program’s origin on Baltimore’s east side.

The BPD’s Faith-Based Program was developed from the spiritual premise that prayer or mindful meditation, hanges things. In the beginning, Chief Melvin Russell, the program’s visionary, and a member of the clergy himself, sent out a call to action to religious leaders in Baltimore to reach beyond the pews of the church to share the ineffable message of faith with people who may not ever step in a church or subscribe to a regligious affiliation.

At the time, 80 clergy members joined his efforts, according to Green, to fight crime and restore community relations in the Eastern Distrct.

“After a year or two, crime in the district reached an all-time low,” Green said. “And everybody wanted to know how he did it.. All he did was encouraged the faith-based community to do their part. He got everybody to work together to get whatever projects that were on the table done. It was a set up where communities organizations, churches, and schools would get the memo so that we could jump in front of and flesh out, any crime problems together, before they snowballled. It came easy.”

That was 2008. Today, the mission to heal the heart of the city continues to expand. As officer-in-charge, Det. Green manages the day-to-day operations of the faith-based Program. One of her main tasks is to recruit civilian chaplains and organize training for them at the Community Collaboration Division’s civilian chaplain academy, where faith-based leaders learn the basics of law enforcement and community policing through a series of rigorus workshops and riding alongs with officers on call. This training, Green says, prepares them to fulfill their purpose to the BPD. Upon graduation, civilian chaplains are asked to committ 20 hours a month in at least one of three areas of service pathways outlined by the program— community engagement, street outreach or ride alongs with officers.

A typical day for Green usually begins with checking the pulse of outreach efforts launched by the program’s clergy and ends with a prayer walk somewhere in the city. Part of the service responsibilty of civilian chaplains is to identify designated areas in the city to set up prayer altars, currently housed in schools, hot spot areas in the city, neighborhoods that are plagued with crime, office buildings, and of course, churches, according to Green.

“These chaplains organize congregations and people in the neighbor hood so that the prayer alters are manned 24 hours a day, praying for our city and the needs of the people in the district where the altars are set up,” she said.

At press time, 103 civilian chaplains from across the city and as far aways as York, Pa., have comitted their time to this crusade of enlightenment headed by the BPD. The ultimate intention of the program is to have at team of chaplains in each of the 216 sectors of the city’s nine districts.

“We want all areas of the city covered with chaplain,” said Green. “The goal is to have the city covered with prayer.”

To learn more about how to join this city-wide prayer and outreach initative contact Det. Green at quinesegreen@baltimorepolice.org.

Tiffany Christy is an urban educator, youth advocate, multimedia editor and producer. She enjoys capturing the beauty of her beloved Baltimore in words and pictures. Follow Tiffany on Facebook/tiffany.ginyard and visit her blog, Fly Lyf at www.flygirlnetwork.org/blog.

Commitment to peace!

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man of impeccable word. He preached what he believed and lived like he believed every word he said.

Long before that fateful day, April 4, 1968, when he was killed on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, King committed his life to demonstrating to the masses that peace was possible.

Dr. King was a man who spent countless nights alone in jail paying for the injustices he fought against, all the while praying for his people and writing letters of encouragement to the entire nation.

Courtesy Photo

Here was a man who, when his home was bombed [with his family inside] by segregationists in retaliation for the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, used his voice to calm a crowd of black folk who gathered on his lawn angry, armed, and ready to fight back.

This was a man who took a stab to his flesh, just inches away from his heart, and turned the other cheek.

Dr. King was a man who knew that peace, true peace, comes from within. He also knew that peace was what he had on the inside. Knowing this, he marched with courage, lived boldly and spoke with conviction:

“Within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation that hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls “the image of God,” you begin to love him…” — Excerpt from the sermon Loving Your Enemies, delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL on November 17, 1957

King had tapped into a realm of peace that many of us have trouble wrapping our minds and hearts around. Something spiritual. Something that can’t be won by waging war or inciting a movement. Something that can’t be achieved by marching and “acting” peacefully. Something that can’t be attained by forcing our opinions and judgments on others about what is right, wrong, good or bad in the name of one god or another. There is nothing peaceful about living an exhausting existence fighting to make the world understand and accept that black lives matter, that all lives matter, that your life matters.

It’s not head knowledge the world needs right now; there’s enough intellect aimlessly floating around, about how to increase the peace. What the world really needs is more heart knowledge. What Dr. King did was cast a light on the possibility of peace with words of wisdom from his heart. He once said, “forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” The same is true for peace. It is a way of being— a lifestyle.

We are so quick to demand it, but are we even qualified to do so? Are we demanding peace in your own homes. With the people we come in contact with from day to day, especially the ones who share the same skin as us— like, the young lady at McDonald’s who was unpleasant and messed up your order; the person that cut you off on the road; the young man walking in front of you literally showing his behind because he bought his pants two sizes too large; the person who stole your purse; or robbed your house; or shot your son.

Part of the problem is we think we can strategize our way to peace, force it even without taking a look into our own souls and actually living that which we seek. Are we forgiving the father or mother we think abandoned us? Are we communicating respectfully with people we don’t understand? Are we letting go of past hurts? Are we removing judgement from our perception of people and why they behave the way they do? Are we peaceful with our neighbors? Do we speak peace into the lives of every person we encounter everyday, or are we still gossiping calling it “tea” to make it socially acceptable?

Peace is more than a word; it’s a commitment. A commitment to good all the time.

Before we can stand for peace in our social and worldly affairs, we must first stand for peace right where we are— in our own minds and in our own hearts. The protesting and marching we do to change the public’s perception about black folk and poor folk should be mirror images of how we we treat each other and ourselves when no one is looking.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who had a dream that one day the collective consciousness of peace among the people would rise up and cast light on the chaos caused by what he called the “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. was a man who embodied the peace he wanted to see in the world. Do you?

VIDEO: Obama uses N-word, says we are ‘not cured’ of racism

— President Barack Obama used the n-word to make a point about the reality of racism in America during an interview released Monday with comedian Marc Maron.

CNN Video

Obama intentionally uses N-word on podcast

President Barack Obama used the N-word to make a point about the reality of racism in America during an interview with comedian Marc Maron.

Obama weighed in for the podcast “WTF with Marc Maron” on the national debate on race relations and gun control that has been reignited after the Charleston shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Obama said that progress on race relations has been made, citing his own experience as a young man who was born to a white mother and an African father.

“I always tell young people, in particular, do not say that nothing has changed when it comes to race in America, unless you’ve lived through being a black man in the 1950s or ’60s or ’70s. It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours,” Obama said.

But he added that “the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination” exists in institutions and casts “a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.”

Obama used the N-word and explained that the absence of racist language does not mean that racism doesn’t exist.

“Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public,” Obama said. “That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”

Obama echoed comments he made Thursday and said that he’s had to make speeches about a “devastating loss” too often.

“It’s not enough just to feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely. One of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic common sense gun safety laws,” Obama said.

Obama lamented Congress’s lack of action on gun control and said “Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress.”

Obama also weighed in on a critical case that is currently before the Supreme Court, where opponents of the Affordable Care Act are asking whether the law authorizes tax subsidies for 6.4 million Americans who have already received help to afford health coverage.

“First of all I’m confident we’ll win, because the law is clearly on our side,” Obama said.

He added that if the nation’s highest court were to rule in favor of the ACA’s opponents, “five to six million people could lose their healthcare.”

CNN’s Athena Jones and Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.

The-CNN-Wire

™ & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

To Assimilate or Infiltrate: The War for (and Against) Being Undeniably Black

When I was in the 9th grade I wrote a cartoon strip where the heroine’s name was Daphne. A white male classmate of mine who enjoyed reading my stories immediately complained that I’d give the girl a weird “black” name. I, politely, explained to him that the name was pronounced “Daff-nee” and that Daphne was a name from Greek mythology. Or, if that was too deep for him, a white female character from the cartoon “Scooby Doo.”

No matter, to my “it’s all black names” to me friend. It was a weird name with a weird spelling, so it was a weird “black name.”

Born in 1977, before I went to the “integrated” school, I went to a mostly black elementary school full of students with a wide variety of names. Some unique and some as plain as mine was. Keisha, or some form of Keisha was, by far, one of the more popular names. There were also girls with the names Precious, Tamara, Myla, Richelle, Tamika and much more creative spellings of my own name, Danielle. There were girls more conventionally named Michelle, Tara, Yolanda, Marla and Alicia. Nothing was wrong with any of these names. So I was mildly horrified with one young woman named Keisha, in 2013, chose to legally change her name to Kylie due to teasing by her white peers.

Keisha, by the time I was in high school in 1992, was such a common name one of my younger, white teachers actually considered naming her daughter it until her husband argued her down not to. No doubt, Keisha being a “black name” probably had something to do with that, but this was how “ordinary” Keisha had become. But apparently for some, “Keisha” is still controversial, something worth teasing over. But if “Keisha” can’t make it, what chance do names like LaTavia, Towanda or Quvenzhané have?

Sure, your resume may end up in the garbage. But you almost might end up singing with Beyonce and Toni Braxton respectively, while getting nominated for an Oscar at nine years old.

My parents named me Danielle the same reason why many other black parents chose to name their daughters Unique or Heaven – they were madly in love with and proud of their baby and wanted the world to know it by naming her something special. My mother told me she didn’t know anyone named Danielle growing up and found the French name “beautiful” and “unique.” She said I was born and she looked at me and I just “looked” like a Danielle. But at the same time, my parents didn’t want my name to potentially hinder any success that might come my way. They felt I’d stand out enough being a black girl in an integrated world. I didn’t need a more elaborate name to go with it. But obviously, many other black parents beg to differ. They’re proud and they wear that pride in their names. It used to be that former slaves wanting to shirk the yoke of their past life dumped the last name of their masters and called themselves “Freeman” or adopted the more aspirational, “presidential” last names of Jefferson, Washington and Jackson.

How was naming your daughter Alexus any different?

This is a continuing dilemma for African Americans, even today. Do you chose to be more conservative in how you name and raise your children in hopes they will advance further in society? That they will be less likely to encounter certain types of discrimination with an English first name, classical piano lessons and a household that forbids slang like the one I grew up in? Or do you simply swing for the fences and go, “I’m naming my kid Barack Hussein Obama Jr. and Condoleeza Rice anyway?”

There is this belief that to make it as a black person in a racist society that you must give up part of yourself in order to succeed, but I don’t think that is any longer true … if it ever was. At the end of the day, no matter your name, choice of speech patterns or dress, you are still black. You still must travel the same path of those before you and find your own way, your own identity. By denying parts of your heritage or running away from a name like “Keisha,” it doesn’t change your lineage or what you must tackle day-to-day.

Being Kylie, again, might keep your resume from being thrown in the trash, but only you being the true to who you are will get you to where you want to go.

Your “blackness” starts with YOU

In the constantly changing world, the definition of what being black personifies is continuously evolving. Black used to be associated with music, sports, fashion, slang and how it affected society as a whole, but with so many cultures embracing what was once sacred for a “black” society, the notion of what black really means is questionable.

While there is much to be said about the progress black people have made, it should not necessarily be associated with being black. Being black does have a sense of responsibility — to stand up for your rights and band together for injustice. Being black means taking pride in who you are and knowing your history — where you’ve come from and how far you plan to go. Being black means celebrating your ancestry and your beauty, not relying on enhancements to fit in.

The question remains, how black is black enough? You should know and understand that being black is not the color of your skin, but the state of your mind. Are you intelligent enough to think for yourself? Walk for yourself? Talk for yourself? Care about the progress of your children? Progress and equality as a whole? Then you’re black enough.

All too frequently black people have become so close-minded that they cannot accept another black person dating outside of the race, or have issues with black people who are Republicans. It’s much more than that. If you know and recognize who you are, understanding that you will be treated differently in certain instances, you are black enough. If you are thoughtful in your choices, definitive in your stance and informed about your decisions, you are black enough.

Deciding to immerse yourself into society doesn’t diminish your blackness, because you are reminded of it at the most inopportune times. What you do with that realization contributes to how you handle being black and move forward. When you don’t stand for what’s right, even though it is inadvertently affecting you, then you should start questioning your “blackness.”

Black enough does not mean staying all natural, or listening only to black music, or only supporting black businesses. Being black enough means making sure your history and culture becomes just as important as the next, being taught in schools. Being black enough means making sure your vote counts, your dollar spent is just as powerful and your business has as much of a fighting chance as any other. Being black enough means fighting against profiling and ensuring our children have opportunities. Being black enough means taking corruption to task and championing when we are in a position of power to make a change.

Being black enough is embracing your identity to collectively share the black experience, negating the stereotypes. Being black is… a rich world of blackness subject to personal definition. Embrace it.