Archive | Uncategorized RSS for this section

Solace Soul Relationship Panel

I was asked to share closing words from a relationship panel I was on with my Solace Soul Poetry family in Chicago:

“1. Is your communication clear enough where there is no doubt what you desire in a relationship? – Your Actions, Your Behaviors, Your consistency.”
“2. What are you willing to give up?”
“3. What are you willing to tolerate?”
“4. Is your communication clear enough where you can understand what your significant other wants?”
“5. Are you happy, settled, or joyous?”
“6. Are you a situational or circumstantial partner?”
“7. What’s a deal breaker that puts you in the category of situational or circumstantial?”
“8. What type of ear do you listen to critical feedback? Defensive – Emotional – Clear”
“9. In every relationship, there is compromise and change. The 8 inches you love could be hit with a severe case of prostate cancer and become impotent. The big breast you love could be hit and stricken with a critical case of cancer, and you may have a wife with a full radical mastectomy.”
“10. If love covers a multitude of sin, how much love do you have for the one you want to spend the rest of your life with?”

The Endurer

 

Illinois: No Budget, New Laws

First, I give it up to ABC7Chicago.com for keeping Chicagoans informed.  I also want to give credit to Illinois Policy.  Their Facebook Page is my primary go-to for information regarding policies and politics that affects the good citizens, any not go good citizens, of Illinois.

I’m not going to list all of the new laws that initiate today.  I extracted the ones I felt pertinent after a review of the bills listed by ABC.  I’m also included links to each of those bills that will coincide with my initial thoughts.  A direct link to all Bill numbers searchable on ilga.gov can be found by clicking here.

  1. HB 5913:  This will largely have an impact on small business owners who for years ran a business as plumbers and outsourced and trained people to work with them who were capable of doing the work and worked in conjunction with this since they are licensed and bonded.  For those in the construction field, more than likely, their general contracting corporations will provide the training for them but this may not be so cut and dry for the little man as it may prohibit the execution of training options for those who are gifted and simply looking for work.
  2. HB 4517:  You’ll have to dig through this 58 page law in order to gather it’s full meaning.  You will see some previous parts of the law restricted (meaning they have lines drawn through certain paragraphs) that does eliminate the Center for Comprehensive Health Planning (links to a surface indication of what the CCHP was intended for but it’s fairly dated). It looks like it removes bureaucracy but those in the health care creation, planning and evaluation would be able to provide more insight.  The governor, with senate approval appoints the members from various demographics including doctors, nurses, business community on for and non profit sectors.  I do like that fact that a member has to be a regular citizen over 60.  Elderly healthcare and concerns should be noted.
  3. SB 1120.   Return rental equipment or pay the price for thievery. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Bottom line is people can’t afford to be lax when returning rented items.  This is more than likely a protection for SBO (Small Business Owners), that have little means of quickly replacing what customers have stolen.  Don’t get a felony and fine people. Rent it, return it!
  4. SB 2900:  APN’s and PA’s will finally get a seat at the table. Highly qualified and often unregarded work of those that work hand and hand with physicians on a daily basis have more authority to be the eyes, ears, hands, and feet of the physicians they serve and the patients they work for.  I am banking this will lead to an increase in the field and a governing organization that will drive more roles and responsibilities for these great people.
  5. HB3239: If this gives our students more power to have an active voice on Local School Councils then I am all for it.  They should be able to engage their future and the future of their piers by being at the table.
  6. SB 2777:  This is a win for Juvenile Justice Advocates.  I hope there are more restorative efforts for young people in the inner-city as most rural juvenile offenses go unreported or privately dealt with when it’s public knowledge.  Hopefully the young people that find themselves on the opposite side of the law see this (and it should be publicized) as a second chance opportunity.
  7. HB 6006:  We need not lose any more State Troopers or citizens for failure to change lanes.  “Move trick, get out the way”.  Sorry, I had a hip hop moment.  Change lanes people.  Simple as that.  Beware of traps though, I can see the state using this even when it’s innocent and cars won’t permit you to pass.  After all, people can be rude.

Now, Bills I don’t care for and I’ll get dinged on this.

HB 4264:  This is an arrogance of legislature that baffles me.  It’s as arrogant as the governor mandating students be taught how to engage police officers.  Even with training, there is nothing under the law to protect cosmetologist, aestheticians, barbers, etc. from retaliation from families.  It’s a requirement that will subjectively, and one again, put pressure on the small business owners.  It would seem that the one area that is effectively staunch in the Black community is coming under indirect fire an assault of the legislature.  It has absolutely nothing to do with their profession. It’s almost like making an account doing family taxes a mandated reported, or a construction worker repairing a house that notices a bruise and has to become a mandated reporter.

I’m off my rant people, get educated, stay informed.  If you ready any of these bills one statement will resonate:

"Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:"

We can ill-afford to vote for people without knowing.  If they are making laws on our behalf, let’s ensure we are informed.

Happy New Year.  May 2017 be a year of information and community!

Happy New Year Chicago. It’s 2017!

A good friend, and blogging coach extraordinaire recommended that I take my post to my blog instead of my Facebook page.  So, for this post, and yearly, I’ll open up with that post:

Some of the highlights of this year.
1. I got to witness two great friends transform their marriages.
2. My mentee finished college and we are going to light it up in 2017.
3. I pulled off a community photoshoot with the help of the greatest and most humble unknown mentor in Chicago, Vondale Singleton.
4. I made statements my place of business that were strong, bold, and fully self-expressed.
5. I apologized to a business colleague for being a butthole at times and she did the same and we’re still on the same team fighting, mean-mugging and doing great work for Black and Brown children in Chicago.
6. I sent my wife to Mexico and can’t tell you how it blessed my soul to see her so relaxed and joyous. It’s just the beginning and we’re still honeymooning.
7. For the 2nd year in-a-row I got to inspire over 600 Noble graduates before they took their journey to college.
8. For the 2nd year in-a-row I got to speak to the students at Hansberry College Prep before they took the ACT
9. I was able to give over $600 dollars to support my P.O.E.T family
10. Increased the time with my family, connected with some good friends, prayed with the brokenhearted, mentored marriages, failed miserably at somethings and wasn’t ashamed (well, getting their).
11. A board member and supported the creation of the Arthur and Isabelle Brazier Veteran’s Resource Center – Patti Caire is amazing.
12. I celebrated, photographed, and captured the night my mentor Juliana Stratton was elected as a state representative.
13. I witnessed a President love his enemies, work peacefully towards diplomacy, and tactfully deal with the worst racial treatment of a single black family since Jim Crow by those that call themselves patriots, countrymen, and Christian’s.
14. I witnessed a reality TV star and business tycoon channel evil, racism, hatred, homophobia, gender bias, xenophobia, and misogyny to win the highest political office in the United States of America.
15. Most of all, I was awakened to how great I am. I am just getting warm.

Blessings to those with whom I’ve had great conversation and debates in the social media world. Whether we agreed or disagreed, we didn’t let it tear apart our history, kinship, nor friendship. Keep it moving family!

A Man of Passion: A Student Champion and Leader

IMG_6865.JPG

Vondale Singleton is a soul on a mission.  He is an associate minister at an active church on the south side of Chicago and has his hands embedded in the community.  He is an assistant principal of operations and community relations at a major charter school network in Chicago.  I meet him four years ago on a school visit as he was making his transition from Oklahoma to ChiTown.  He is a stellar husband and a glowing father of two, but his fatherhood extends way beyond his home.  Many of the young men he mentors in the city of Chicago look to him for guidance and instruction.  Whether he’s recruiting students for Gary Comer College Prep, A Noble Network Charter school and 2015 Broad Prize recipient, or running the C.H.A.M.P.S (Culturally Helping and Making Positive Success) Male Mentoring Program Vondale is committed to changing the culture of Chicago.  He’s beyond someone you should know.  He’s a man this city should invest in.  A few weeks ago he received what he perceived as a prank call.  It was king of the crossover, Chicago’s own Tim Hardaway.  “I heard what you’re doing and I want to help in anyway that I can.”  I asked my brother some very poised questions about what he envisions for Chicago.

  • You spent a great deal of time in Oklahoma working for KIPP, a great position building and solidifying their network infrastructure at the school you were located, why did you come back to your native Chicago? Although, I had a wonderful opportunity serving the city of Tulsa, and working at a great organization at KIPP Tulsa for 5 years, I was always called to come back to Chicago, because I always knew that my destiny was in my hometown.  When I would come back home to visit family and friends, I would hear of the gun-violence and stories about how the youth were off-the-chain, and I knew that God apprehended me to go back and be a light in the dark world of the inner-city of Chicago.
  • Mr. Singleton, you have spent an inhumane amount of hours with grieving families impacted by the violence in Chicago, what do you say to them?  It is appalling to know that we are leading the nation in murders. Furthermore, we see the majority of murders are from school-aged Black and Latino Males and often males without fathers in the home.  The thing that grieves me the most is instantaneous lost of 2 lives though 1 incident.  The victim and the murderer.  The victim’s family has to prepare a funeral, and the murderer family has to now visit them in prison.  These are both lose-lose situations, but the biggest lost is when a family has to deal with the reality of not getting their loved one back.  I realize that at any point it could be me or my family in this situation, so I never become desensitized to the fact of a family grieving and want them to know that they have me in their corner and I am willing to walk with them through this tumultuous process of bereavement.
  • The CHAMPS Male Mentoring Program has received national acclaim with being honored as a 2015 White House Film Festival awardee.  Kelly Wright of Fox News also came out and interviewed several students and staff members, why is this type of media coverage significant for Chicago? I want to dispel the narrative that all Black and Brown boys are gang-members, thugs, and cynical.  I decided that though the CHAMPS 3 E’s; Education, Empowerment, and Exposure, we wanted to show that through our own positive media, that we can compete with any people group anywhere on the planet in any academic arena, and that we have something great to offer the world.  Our young men deserve to turn on the TV and see themselves as important, powerful, and celebrated.  
  • Why is the June 4, Born 2 Win conference so important? I believe that this conference will help kick our summer off the right way, by involving the young men that it need the most.  This should be something that the whole world is behind.  I figured that if we can get 500 young men that will go into there respective communities, schools, and groups of influence then we can help empower a movement that will spark a necessary change our city and this nation needs.  
  • It’s not summer, Chicago has experienced more deaths than days of the year at current, how can hope be brought to the hopeless? There are three things I share with our young men. When we have facilities, resources, and finances then we are able to empower our community with a sense of hope.   We realize that part of the hopelessness is the institutionalized systems of racism and poverty.  When a man has a legal job, and is able to provide for his family it lessens the need to have to rob another man, it also occupies his time so that he isn’t left be the idle mind that bends towards evil.  We need more men stepping into the roles of fathers, and modeling how to overcome the negative influences of the streets, by capitalizing on opportunities.  Education is the greatest equalizer, with it you can go in any room and compete.  

Chicago is my kind of town.  When it’s violent we hear of the west or south sides of the city.  When it’s celebratory we hear of downtown.  Vondale is not only committed to changing the culture, he’s committed to changing the perception of African-American and Latino American students. He’s more than someone we should know, he’s someone we should be.

If you’d like to make a contribution to the C.H.A.M.P.S Born 2 Win conference, please email vsingleton@noblentwork.org or visit the Noble Network website to make a donation electronically and reference Born2Win-2016.

The Forgotten Ones

I am no stranger to success or fear. I have experienced them equally and often simultaneously. There is a great text that states, “to whom much is given much is required”. There is a weight that I have been carrying for sometime when speaking with men. I have the blessed gift of being a people person and engaging the incarcerated drug-dealer to the non-degreed business professional over fifty that’s still looking for opportunities to show how great they are for an employer. Whether they are married or single, young our old, the common phrase I find between them is “I feel forgotten”.

What happens to the individual that didn’t succumb to the streets or found themselves on the higher end of education? What becomes of the individual that simply wasn’t dumb enough to waste their lives on negative associations or smart enough to hang in the circles of the academically successful and astute? Where do they fit in, where do we fit in, where do we belong and how do we overcome and be infused into as society that is more than willing to accept us if we push pass the fear that holds us hostage and show our worth?

There was a time in American society where it wasn’t necessary to have institutionalized training or profound academic success. We can say it was predominantly in the era where American flags were actually made in America. Manufacturing and the lingering effects of the Industrial Revolution across a century put processes in place that with an acute attention to detail you could carry out any task. Any individual that had a mind to work, The Forgotten Ones where there to fill the role unequivocally. My first consultant job in IT I had no degree, less than a year of exposure to technology and I had never heard of a certification course. Why was I hired? I’m glad you asked. I was told I had personality, something a true technologist often lacked. I was told, “I can teach you to be technical; I can’t teach you to have a personality”.

Then society shifted. The more people with college degrees, the more society changed how it acquired its workforce. Academic fervor began to overshadow individuals, like myself, where college wasn’t an option (at least no real introduction). A changing of the guard took place where experience became tertiary, networking became secondary, and scholarly success became primary. Academia became the ruling stamp of corporate America. In the shadows of this new (and necessary) paradigm a group of individuals lost their way. They began to feel inadequate and useless. They were replaced with younger, more educated, lightly qualified individuals that just happen to have the means, drive, financial and parental support to make it through college successfully (and hopefully without much debt). This older group fell into a shadow of success and started seeking jobs just to live. Places where their collegiate success, or lack thereof, would not be subjected to scrutiny. There is a society of secret lives being lived by men and women that fear has kept bound and as long as that fear lives potential success will always be a shadow of the past and a prosperous future will remain a figment of one’s imagination while dreams, goals, and hope dissipate.

In essence, I write all this to say that The Forgotten Ones are not forgotten. It is our error and strange relationship with fear that has caused us to believe society doesn’t care about what we can bring to the table. We have forgotten we live in an America that still allows individuals, regardless of academic achievement, to flourish. Less Brown, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Chicago’s Willie Wilson are just a few individuals that have attained great gain in life. Yes, money comes with it, but I know people that make considerably less money than me that go on vacations, take family trips and live thriving peaceful lives. It’s about the dream that never dies, the hope that never burns out, and the desire that is only satisfied when purpose and not money is the wealth of achievement. Simply put, we have forgotten that we have made it this far by God’s grace. We have forgotten that we have the support of friends and family to help us along the way. Forgotten Ones, we have simply forgotten to believe that we can achieve anything. It is not society that has cast us away; we failed to keep the dream alive and in doing so we forgot ourselves. Start to………remember.

The Endurer’s World

Greetings Readers, Well, future readers.  I’m starting this blog as a push to engage myself in the world of writing, information, purpose, and passion.  Yep, that’s an overload but I’m still figuring me out at the ripe age of 43.  There’s a distinction between what pays the bills and what “pays it forward”.  I don’t work in my passion which is youth.  For years I’ve been told that I have to make money, support a family and have a big title to be successful.  But, what’s that void inside?  A void shrouded with long hours, hidden agendas, bottled up emotions because at the end of the day you know there’s more to life and you’re simply taking the easy way out.  A void contaminated with fear and complacency.  It’s not a fear of failure, failure is an inevitable path to learning.  It’s a fear of success, a fear that you are worth more than money.  A fear that against all odds and you have survived the worst and best life could through at you.  A fear that you don’t care about being accepted for who you are but what you were created to become.  This is my journey, sharing my words, sharing our world, and finding my voice to reaching our youth.