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Daily Dose #23

#CrisisProvesCharacter: Did crisis spring you into action?

My former Pastor Apostle Marshall Davis use to say, that “God will not give you a vision to move on his word without providing provision.” Well, I have this friend who has a heart of gold and a spirit of joy. His name is Marseil Jackson but affectionately known on Chicago’s Westside as ACTION JACKSON and for good reason. When Marseil hears from God, he doesn’t even blink to spring into action. He even tries to outdo himself with good deeds and acts of kindness for those in need. I don’t know another person who can fly by the seat of his pants with holy ghost faith that God will make a way. He hasn’t seen a jam, he couldn’t spread nor a young person he wouldn’t hire. Currently, you can find Marseil feeding families by the hundreds, helping rebuild looted businesses, and distributing PPE supplies to residents. You can learn more about Marseil and his story at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10101106026218362&id=197104680 and https://rollingout.com/…/marseil-jackson-helps-renters-bui…/

Daily Dose #22

#CrisisProvesCharacter: Has crisis become your cross?

Generally, people hear about the tragedy of others and the thought or feeling probably never becomes, their pain is my pain. However, over the past 6 years, we have witnessed courageous individuals assuming ownership to continue making sure the world will say the names of those killed by the hands of the police or coward caucasian. With the killing of George Floyd, we’ve seen 17 days of protests from all around the globe as the world marches in solidarity chanting “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” In Chicago, there’s a brother named William Calloway, who made it his crusade to seek justice for one of the voiceless lives taken by the hands of the Chicago police. “I remember hearing on the news that the video existed of Laquan McDonald. The shooting was on Dash Cam. I started making calls and I was working with an independent journalist, Brandon Smith, who was also an expert in FOIA. We found documents and I told him about the tape and what it meant for the community and he agreed. He filed a FOIA request for the CPD to release the videos or deal with a lawsuit.” Not looking for anything for himself, Will worked tirelessly by attending city council meetings, contacting local news stations, and organizing protests to make sure the killing of Laquan McDonald would not be swept under the rug. It took 5-years to get some justice and William saw it all the way through. I can’t even imagine how emotionally and mentally draining this was for him including possible threats on his life for helping to shine a light on a broken criminal justice system that sees Black men guilty first. Since then, he continues to fight, advocate, and challenge the status quo to make sure black folks on the southside of Chicago, get their fair share. You can learn more about William and his story at http://scene-chicago.com/…/chicago-meet-william-calloway-c…/.

Daily Dose #21

#CrisisProvesCharacter: Did crisis forward your mission?

Some people are just wired to always be forward-thinking and solution-focused. Founder and Chief Solutionist, Christyn Freemon of Project Forward is no exception. “My voice has gotten louder around my personal and professional boundaries.” The COVID-19 pandemic not only provided her the long-awaited opportunity to homeschool, but she also scored her biggest contract to date to create and oversee a Paycheck Protection Program Pop Call Center and COVID-19 Resource Guide for the Chicago Community Loan Fund. Christyn’s passion is fueled by those small businesses she serves, in a city that she loves. “I’ve donated time, talents and treasure to organizations, my business model is anchored on building up Black business and the commercial spaces they occupy, so we can have something pretty to look at while we spend our money.” She is dedicated to her craft and is prepared to move forward because as she puts it “I’ve integrated workforce strategies and responses into economic and community development, pushing for sustainability beyond the heightened moments of emotion.” You can learn more about Christyn Freemon and her story at https://yourprojectforward.com.

Daily Dose #20

#CrisisProvesCharacter: Did crisis fine-tune your hearing?

In the era of social media, there are plenty of influencers, thought-leaders, and inspirational speakers you could follow that offer up some pearls of wisdom, wit, and humor for you to grow on. Alfred A. Edmond Jr., is a living legend and self-proclaimed #TheSuccesspert, is in a class all to himself. Whatever the platform, podcast, or in person, he’ll have you jotting notes. MANY YEARS AGO, I can’t even tell you how I stumbled upon his Twitter gems under the hashtag #AGrownManKnows… Fast forward to 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Alfred in person at one of his #GrownZone events hosted at the Welcome Inn Manor Bed and Breakfast in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community. His unique perspective can be very enlightening for one’s life experiences. Whether talking about fear, finance, or fitness, Alfred reminds us to “use that energy and take your shot.” Lastly, he is so down to earth that you would never know that he is the Senior VP & Executive Editor-at-large of Black Enterprise Magazine, bodybuilder, and much much more. With inspiring quotations for any situation you might be going through as an entrepreneur or for that matter, just life, Alfred will definitely help get you to the other side. You can learn more about Alfred Edmonds, Jr., and his story at https://www.thehistorymakers.org/biography/alfred-edmond-jr and https://www.thesharkgroup.com/speaking/alfred-edmond-jr/.

Daily Dose #19

#CrisisProvesCharacter:  What block is your crisis on?

If you live in Chicago, you’ve probably seen somebody rocking a hoodie or t-shirt My Block, My Hood, My City with those iconic Chicago flag red stars but hell, you might have had a sighting while traveling abroad too. Jahmal Cole is the founder of My Block My Hood My City and has gone international with his message of rebuilding your community with his exposure-based education program for teens and a network of volunteer initiatives that serve Chicago communities year-round. His recent book, “It’s Not Regular” depicts the inequities hiding in plain sight on the south and west side where neighborhoods are filled with currency exchanges and liquor stores. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, his organization delivered groceries to the elderly to now, helping looted small businesses with his relief fund. Jahmal refers to himself as a turned-up activist but he’s more than that to so many young people that he mentors. You can learn more about Jahmal Cole and his story at https://www.formyblock.org/jahmal-cole.

Daily Dose #18

#CrisisProvesCharacter: Why should you be absolved from crisis?

The month of May was pretty rough for me and I’m sure there are millions of African Americans that would share my sediments. I’ve been struggling to find the right words to continue this series. I’m pissed, black folks are pissed, and justifiably so. Another damn hashtag to memorialize a brother or sister killed by the hands of the police is enough already. Martin needed Malcolm as much as Malcolm needed Martin to stir the soul of this country. The Red Summer riots of 1919 and the series of riots between 1964 and 1968 demonstrated how racially divided the United States was. European Americans always complain that riots are not necessary when Blacks display their pent up anger by redistributing the pain are short on memories that don’t glorify their ancestors’ triumphs… If we need to tear some shit up to get the world’s attention to the systemic racial inequalities that constantly attempt to suffocate Black progress, then it certainly looks like history definitely has a way of repeating itself. This nation has always been stronger and better as a result of civil unrest with hallmark public policies that have moved the country forward because everyone understood the urgency. You can learn more about civil unrest in the US and her story at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_civil_unrest_in_the_United_States.