1. The state of Oregon has opened a door of access but not a door of funding. The pilot will have to be funded on its own and absorb all risk. The state just isn't interested in sharing in the risk. Understandable since the state isn't coming up with innovative ways to reduce recidivism and the revolving door that taxpayers pay for.
2. Corporations and small businesses have a long list of folks with great ideas. They pick and choose which ones to support, and often that ties into their marketing, PR or bottom line in some way.
3. Foundations also have a long list of folks who want support. They have processes that require getting in line and waiting and hoping. That's after some level of relationships has been established. I don't have the luxury of connecting to a friend at a foundation in this state who can pull a funding trigger. So, foundations are not short-term options for funding.
4. Churches just ignore us. For all the talk churches do, they simply are not interested in much of anything that didn't originate from within their own congregation or benefits their church in some way.
5. Black Male Achievement programs and nonprofits engaged in this space of transitioning inmates have thus far been non-responsive. I just left a large event in Oakland where 300 leaders of such programs and organizations gathered. My direct outreach has resulted in cricket responses.
6. Individual giving. We launched an Indiegogo campaign with minimum donations of $5. Thus far, it's been very slow. Our outreach has been targeted. To date, we've hit more than 1,000 people with a conversion rate that's embarrassing, in particular because these are folks in our networks.
7. If this funding campaign doesn't pan out in 30 days, this idea will be shelved. There's no capacity to do this without funding. And even the time required to do the funding outreach is sweat equity investment. Unpaid and hopeful. Therefore, it is limited by time.
8. I appreciate all your responses on this thread. And it feels good to have good friends who care. But at some point, this idea has to die if the market isn't willing to support it. And right now, we are getting a chilling response to our outreach efforts. But we're in this game until the end of July. Then either we're in all the way or we're out. Not much else I can do if the market says it doesn't care. But I certainly do appreciate the support you all have shown for this initiative. Thanks so much!
Journalists help shape the perceptions of the American public, including American kids. The crisis of widespread indifference by black journalists to important stories occurring today across the landscape of innovation in America virtually assures that critical history being made today by black Americans will remain relatively unknown to the American public. And black kids, in particular, will grow up with a sense that black men and women have done little, if anything, to make America one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful. That perception, as wrong as it is, will prevail throughout the 21st century unless journalists tell the stories that remain hidden in the shadows of pop culture and salacious infotainment. Those stories will shape the minds of our kids. And if ignored, will assure our kids grow into adults who are ignorant of their own history. See some of those stories in this issue of MGJR. (pgs 18-21)
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I simply disagree.
Inclusive Competitiveness isn't simply an idea. It is a vision of how America's economy would work effectively for all of its citizenry in a 21st century multicultural society, as opposed to how it was designed for some of its citizenry in previous generations.
Competitiveness is the foundation and hallmark of capitalism. The nation isn't about to dispense with capitalism anytime soon. And so the future opportunities for your children and mine rest upon their capacity to compete. But equally important is that the system operate under conditions that allow access to opportunity and rewards for those who can compete.
Additionally, it would mean altering archaic education systems designed to ensure our children are ill-prepared and ill-equipped to compete.
There is no need for a consensus of thought leadership within black and brown communities to devise an economic strategy. The nation already has its frameworks. It already operates through a system of regional development organizations, national foundations, public-private partnerships, corporate interests and lobbying groups, university endowments, and a host of individual actors on a stage that presents a tapestry of opportunities that we are either engaged in or disconnected from.
For the past 150 years since slavery we have remained disconnected from the knowledge of how the nation's economy works. To date, I could round up a bunch of those leaders you suggest I round up in DC and ask them to describe their local innovation ecosystem, the communities of influence, the economic strategy of the region and the description of what the growth sectors will look like based upon projections of 5 and 10 years ... and not one of those so-called leaders will be able to answer with any measure of credibility.
This is the catastrophic environment in which we raise black and brown kids today. So few of the folks upon who they rely even have a clue. And when a man stands up and offers a vision that represents the economic imperative of the 21st century (not only for our kids but for all of America), the response cannot be to tell him to stand down or to summarily dismiss him without being heard or understood.
Would you likewise dismiss Bill Clinton? He recently returned from the "Inclusive Capitalism" conference in London, where 250 of the world's elite came together to discuss ways of redesigning the capitalist system to accommodate growth in "economic competitiveness" (a routine term used by the World Economic Forum and every government in the developed world) through inclusive frameworks. Johnathan Holifield, a black man, has the answer that America is seeking.
Ironically, it was the white man who sought to prevent the black man from competing with him by making laws prohibiting teaching him the language and how to read it, write it or use it to his advantage. Similar laws continued throughout the history of America preventing us from owning land, expanding businesses, living in areas we desired, etc., etc.
The so-called "free" market wasn't free for us to enter and compete. Today, it must be if it is to garner any measure of sustainability. America must prepare, equip and connect all of her creative talent and geniuses to the innovation economy. That can be done, but it will require a rejection of the past, an embracing of the present and future and investment in developing Inclusive Competitiveness frameworks that unite and unify us all along the lines of economic competitiveness (not entitlement, but merit-born competitiveness).
The first presidential candidate of 2016 who embraces and articulates the economic vision of Inclusive Competitiveness will undoubtedly be the next president. I hope this thread is still around. It will make for a nice prophetic prediction.
And by the way, love you like a brother too. And like my brother in Houston, I will have to beat you in bowling, pool, chess, basketball, football and every debate in which you choose to engage when I come to town. ;-)
- The America21 ProjectCo-Founder
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