Sunday, September 30, 2007

10 Ways To Uplift The African American Community

There are a few things that Blacks can give to themselves, which will continue to give throughout the year, making us a stronger, more unified and powerful people.

Top Ten Gifts Blacks Can Give Themselves:

1. A Black Women's Rights Movement. My sisters, the women's rights movement duped you into thinking that it was for you, but it was not. It was for white women and you were pimped. If you want a real revolution, create a Black Women's Rights Movement and many of your brothers will be first in line. Black women have been speaking about their rights and talking about Black men as their oppressors, which is ridiculous. Oppression is a product of power, and quite frankly, Black people in this nation have not exercised power in any intrinsic manner since the 1960's. Let's exercise our creativity (Kuumba) and create something that will benefit us all.

2. A Million Man (And Woman) Investment Club. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made history with the Million Man March, but I propose we bring one million Black men and women together to invest ten dollars each in one company. It's too easy to do. That's ten million dollars and that is empowerment and reflective of Ujamaa (cooperative economics).

3. Black Love. We hear the song "Give Love On Christmas Day," and we like it, so why not give that love to ourselves as a people? Tell someone you love them and then turn around and show someone that you love them. Finally, look for ways each day to demonstrate your love for yourself as a Black person. For a list of things to love about us, refer to my Top Ten List Of Things To Love About Being Black (

4. Black Pride. There are a plethora of things to be proud of as a member of the most oppressed race in the world, and we need to focus on those things every day to spread the feeling of pride that will allow us to move forward in the new millennium with faith in ourselves, reflective of Imani (Faith).

5. Black Unity. How can any of us progress and feel good about it, when so many of us are not progressing? Our gift to ourselves should be to care for the least of us, so that we can all move onward and upward together. This is reflective of Umoja (Unity).

6. Peace in the streets. There are many brothers in the streets working for peace among the warring gang factions across the nation and they need the support of the entire community. You can talk about how bad it is in the streets, or you can find out what you need to do to make it better. I don't want to talk about peace in the Middle East until there is peace in the Black community. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

7. Self-Awareness. My gift to my people would be to make them aware of the most critical issues facing us, and then to focus on those things without being confused by politics of religion, class, sex or political parties. I would also give them the gift of history, so that we could remain mindful of whence we came. If you know where you came from, you can more easily determine where you are going. This is reflective of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination).

8. Mutual Support. As a people, we have everything we need to manufacture, distribute, buy and sell the goods and services we seek from others. If each of us supports another of us, we can begin to recycle Black dollars and resources more productively.

9. A good conversation. Many of us just need someone to talk to who will listen and understand. Let's stop talking at or about each other and start talking to each other.

10. A collective consciousness. Today, many of us scoff at the idea of most of us coming together for common purposes (Nia), but no matter what the socio-economic differences, we are still all the same people with the same challenges and the same work lying before us. This is also reflective of Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility.

Source: Black Monday

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chrysler 300: Designed by Howard University Graduate

Ralph Gilles: How To Create Cool Cars

“So, how does it feel to be a suit?”

And with that question, Ralph Gilles, the man who is undoubtedly the reigning rock star of U.S. car designers, a man who is lauded far and wide for his design of the breakthrough Chrysler 300, stares back with incredulity, arrayed as he is in something of a designer’s uniform, the obligatory black (sports jacket) on black (shirt) on black (trousers) on black (shoes), with nary a tie in sight. “A what?!?”

The man behind the design of the Chrysler 300 has been raised to the level of suitdom, but his approach remains completely authentic, which is particularly important given that his purview is now in the extremely important Jeep and truck categories.
“Well, you know, a suit—an executive—after all, you’re the vp of Jeep/Truck and Component Design for Chrysler Group. An exec. A suit.”


This isn’t going so well. Gilles is not in the least bit happy with this characterization. He’s been with the company since ’92 when he joined the Design Office as a designer, the year he received a BSc from the Center [now “College”] of Creative Studies in Detroit. In the following years he has been a manager (’98), senior manager (’99), and then director (’01) in the Design Office. In ’05 he was named director of the Truck Exterior/Interior Design Studio before quickly getting his present position. A meteoric rise for a man who turned 36 in January.

“A suit!”

Well, I guess that characterization is belied by not only what he’s actually wearing, but also what appears to be a Little Tikes TotSports Golf Set* he has in his office in the Chrysler Technology Center. He’d been told that people at his level are expected to play golf—well, suits do, anyway—so . . .

One of the things that Gilles emphasizes about the way work is done at Chrysler is that it is not the individual, but the team that matters. The entire group of people who are responsible for transforming ideas into sheetmetal. Simply stated: “One designer by himself with the greatest sketch in the world won’t mean a hill of beans if he doesn’t have the engineering people and the management behind him.”

He cites, for example, the experience that he’d had with the 300. He explains that about two years prior to his receiving the brief to develop the vehicle’s design, people were working on the vehicle, defining what the vehicle was to be. Fundamentally: “A V8-powered, rear-drive, five-passenger luxury sedan.” About which Gilles says, “In that lies the design of the 300. The idea of the car was already there.” Of course, that’s sort of like a sculptor who is presented with a block of marble and can “see” the finished work within.

But he points out that there are some key design drivers defined by those words: because it was to be a V8-powered vehicle, there needed to be a hood of certain dimensions. Because it was to be a five-passenger car, there needed to be a certain proportional area. Because it was to be a luxury vehicle, it required a classic silhouette.

But then, of course, Gilles needed the support of the executives in the organization to approve his approach as well as the support of the engineers who would be tasked with transforming the design into an automobile. (He observes that so far as he is concerned, the actual manufactured 300 is better looking than the 2003 concept car.)

This, of course, leads to a question of, simply, How? How do you get people to go beyond the ordinary, the expected? After all, there are cars that can be defined as “V8-powered, rear-drive, five-passenger luxury sedans” that don’t hold a candle to the 300. So how does Chrysler get the next one (or in the case of Gilles’ new position, the next Dodge Ram)? His simple answer: “Empower them. Support them.” Which are key things that he must do, now that he is in a position where he is no longer on the screen designing. He amplifies: “A beautiful part about Chrysler is the culture. Since this company’s been around it’s been a bit of an underdog culture, a scrappy, risk-taking culture.”

There is also an awareness of what it takes to be competitive in a market where there are a seemingly never-ending flow of new products to market: “Everyone does a decent product. So why would someone buy a Chrysler versus any other? It has to have an element of passion. I think the passion comes through loud and clear on a lot of our products because of the energy that starts at the design table—and obviously the engineers understood it because they did the layout. The end user can feel it.” All for one and one for all.

*It actually isn’t a bona fide Little Tikes set, but it is far closer to one, say, than anything that would come, say, from Callaway.
But there is another element to Chrysler’s history and its culture, which is a certain frugality. In other words, people within the company understand that they must be cost sensitive when they do their jobs. So how does that affect design? It could to a considerable extent, Gilles admits, but then goes on to explain that making their designs both possible and practical are computer-aided tools such as simulation. As he puts it, “When you have to invest cubic dollars into a tool, you might play it safe unless you have the data that says it’s OK to take this risk.” As an example of making something possible, he references the comparatively small windows on the 300, which he admits “was a tough one.” The question was whether they’d be found acceptable by the market. “We were able to show our management that the aesthetic pulls the car away from the crowd and makes the vehicle distinctive, sporty, and more interesting.” The simulation allowed the executives to see the way the car would look before it was actually built with some of the aforementioned stacks of cash.

This leads to another example, one that goes to the point of practicality or produce-ability. “In the old days we might have said that we’d calm a fender form down, take a radius out to simplify the design.” They’d be inclined to be more cautious because the only way they’d really understand what they had would be to create a stamping die and produce the actual part. But now they’re able to make the assessment while the design is in virtual form.

Providing simulation with the level of props that Gilles’ own design chops have been lauded with, he remarks, “Cars are approaching almost a conceptual look because of this technology.”

A suit? Maybe in position. Certainly not in practice.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

America 's High Tech "Invisible Man"

" America 's High Tech "Invisible Man"

You may not have heard of Dr. Mark Dean. And you aren't alone. But almost everything in your life has been affected by his work.

See, Dr. Mark Dean is a Ph.D. from Stanford University . He is in the National Hall of Inventors. He has more than 30 patents pending. He is a vice president with IBM. Oh, yeah. And he is also the architect of the modern-day personal computer. Dr. Dean holds three of the original nine patent s on the computer that all PCs are based upon. And, Dr. Mark Dean is an African American.

So how is! it that we can celebrate the 20th anniversary of the IBM personal computer without reading or hearing a single word about him? Given all of the pressure mass media are under about negative portrayals of African Americans on television and in print, you would think it
would be a slam dunk to highlight someone like Dr. Dean.

Somehow, though, we have managed to miss the shot. History is cruel when it comes to telling the stories of African Americans. Dr. Dean isn't the first Black inventor to be overlooked Consider John Stanard, inventor of the refrigerator, George Sampson, creator of the clothes dryer,
Alexander Miles and his elevator, Lewis Latimer and the electric lamp.
All of these inventors share two things:

One, they changed the landscape of our society; and, two, society relegated them to the footnotes of history. Hopefully, Dr. Mark Dean won't go away as quietly as they did. He certainly shouldn't. Dr. Dean helped start a Digital Revolution that created people like Microsoft's Bill Gates and Dell Computer's Michael Dell. Millions of jobs in information technology can be traced back directly to ! Dr. Dean.

More important, stories like Dr. Mark Dean's should serve as inspiration for African-American children. Already victims of the "Digital Divide" and failing school systems, young, Black kids might embrace technology with more enthusiasm! if they knew someone like Dr. Dean already was leading the way.

Although technically Dr. Dean can't be credited with creating the computer -- that is left to Alan Turing, a pioneering 20th-century English mathematician, widely considered to be the father of modern computer science -- Dr. Dean rightly deserves to take a bow for the machine we use today. The computer really wasn't practical for home or small business use until he came along, leading a team that developed the interior architecture (ISA systems! s) that enables multiple devices, such as modems and printers, to be connected to personal compu ters.

In other words, because of Dr. Dean, the PC became a part of our daily lives. For most of us, changing the face of society would have been enough. But not for Dr. Dean.. Still in his early forties, he has! a lot of inventing left in him.

He recently made history again by leading the design team responsible for creating the first 1-gigahertz processor chip.. It's just another huge step in making computers faster and smaller. As the world congratulates itself for the new Digital Age brought on by the personal computer, we need to guarantee that the African-American story is part of the hoopla surrounding the most stunning technological advance the world has ever seen.. We cannot afford to let Dr. Mark Dean become a footnote in history. He is well worth his own history book.

Source: Tyrone D. Taborn

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Salome Thomas-EL: I Choose To Stay

Teacher Salome Thomas-EL first learned he had been promoted and transferred to another school in November of 1997. He had been a teacher at Roberts Vaux Middle School in Philadelphia’s inner city since 1989. The promotion came because he had not only helped to improve morale and discipline at his school, but he had taught children to play chess—they went on to win local and national competitions. Besides a $20,000 raise, he would have authority to make changes and greater opportunities to influence a larger number of students.

He turned down the promotion.

“I can’t leave my students,” he said. “What happens if they come in on Monday and I’m not here? They’ll say ‘He left because of the money,’ and I don’t want them to think that way. I’m the only male role model these kids have. I want them to know at least one black male who is committed to staying.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger was so impressed by Thomas-EL during a visit in 1999 that he “came bahhhk” in 2000. His foundation awarded the school a $20,000 grant.

Inspiring and warmly human, Salome Thomas-EL is a true hero. His lecture, “I Choose to Stay: A Teacher’s Fight for America’s Inner City Schools” is moving and full of hope, and proves beyond a doubt that a commitment to teaching in the public schools can result in excellence and success for children most of society has abandoned.

A doctoral student at Nova Southeastern University, Salome Thomas-EL is the author of the bestsellers, I Choose to Stay and The Immortality of Influence.

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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Millionaire at the age of 14 - Dr. Farrah Gray

Dr. Farrah Gray Biography Celebrity Entrepreneur,
Philanthropist, Bestselling Author and Syndicated Columnist

Dr. Farrah Gray was named as one of the most influential Black men in America by the National Urban League's Urban Influence Magazine. At 21 years old, he was recognized by Ebony Magazine as an entrepreneurial icon, business mogul and best-selling author. Raised in the impoverished South side of Chicago, Dr. Gray defied the odds and became a self-made millionaire by the age of 14. At the age of 21, he became Dr. Farrah Gray, receiving an Honorary Doctorate degree of Humane Letters from Allen University. This was in recognition of his ingenious economic mind and distinguished commitment to the development of values such as leadership, integrity and scholarship. In his rise from poverty to national and international prominence as an entrepreneurial icon and pre-eminent power speaker, Dr. Gray has inspired millions around the world.

He is also a syndicated columnist with the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) federation of 200 weekly newspapers and more than 15 million readers. As an AOL Money Coach, Dr. Gray gives advice to millions of AOL subscribers daily. Dr. Gray addresses more than half a million people per year on leadership, personal development, diversity, strategic planning, creativity, business development and financial management. At the age of 22, he has achieved more than many achieve in a lifetime.

Since his first interview at 11 years old on KVBC Channel 3, Gray has become a celebrity, featured in thousands of print, magazine, radio and television media including The NBC reality show Starting Over, 20/20, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, The Montel Williams Show, Tom Joyner Show, The Tavis Smiley Show, CNBC, BET, NBC, FOX, CBS, NPR, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

Dr. Gray began his entrepreneurial, personal and civic development as a stellar young citizen at six years old selling home-made body lotion and his own hand-painted rocks as book-ends door-to-door. At age seven, he was carrying business cards reading "21st Century CEO." At eight, Gray became co-founder of Urban Neighborhood Enterprise Economic Club (U.N.E.E.C.) on Chicago's South side. U.N.E.E.C. was the forerunner of New Early Entrepreneur Wonders (NE2W), the flagship organization he opened on Wall Street. NE2W enlisted, educated and engaged "at-risk" youth by creating and developing legal ways for them to acquire additional income. Gray is the youngest person to have an office on Wall Street.

Between the ages of 12 and 16 years old, Dr. Gray founded and operated business ventures that included KIDZTEL pre-paid phone cards, the One Stop Mail Boxes & More franchise and The Teenscope "Youth AM/FM" interactive teen talk show, Gray was also Executive Producer of a comedy show on the Las Vegas Strip and owner of Farr-Out Foods, "Way-Out Food with a Twist," aimed at young people with the company's first Strawberry-Vanilla syrup product. Farr-Out Foods generated orders exceeding $1.5 million.

As a pre-teen, Gray reached 12 million listeners and viewers every Saturday night as co-host of "Backstage Live," a syndicated television and radio simulcast in Las Vegas. Gray's inspirational spirit and grounded personality sparked speaking requests from organizations around the country. Dr. Gray's sense of social responsibility motivated him to create the non-profit organization, The Farrah Gray Foundation. Among other programs and initiatives, his foundation focuses on inner city community-based entrepreneurship education and provides scholarship & grant assistance for students from at-risk backgrounds to attend HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Dr. Gray donates his honorariums from speaking engagements (which can be upwards of $15,000) and the proceeds of his book to his foundation in what he refers to as his "self-imposed" youth tax.

Dr. Gray's work did not remain under the radar-screen for long. He was given a three-year term on the Board of Directors of United Way of Southern Nevada at the age of 15 and also became the youngest member of the Board of Advisors for the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Gray was also the youngest member of the "African-American Leadership Roundtable" to be invited by President Bush and the Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Dr. Gray is also the spokesman for the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Marrow Donor Program.

Dr. Gray is the Co-Chair of Relational Brokers Alliance Consultancy (RBA). In addition, he has consulted with JP Morgan Chase and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Development Agency. The Farrah Gray Foundation is also in partnership with the Kauffman Foundation, launching entrepreneurship programs in inner-city schools across the country.

Dr. Gray is the author of Reallionaire which was nominated by NBC & Publishers Weekly Quill Awards in the category of "Health/Self-Improvement." His book appeared on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble's Best-sellers lists two weeks before its international release. Reallionaire was also named as the #1 Best-selling Nonfiction Paperback book in the August 2005 Issue of Essence Magazine. Gray's book and his journey to succeed against the odds have become required reading and part of classroom study from elementary school to entrepreneurship departments on college and university campuses such as Harvard University. Reallionaire has been endorsed by former President Bill Clinton, Pierre Sutton, Stedman Graham, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Gray is also a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the African-American Soul. He is also the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Prominent Magazine, an entertainment, business, fashion, and lifestyle and culture publication.

Dr. Gray's honors include Keys to the Cities of Dallas, Shreveport, and Cincinnati. He has also received Proclamations from the Governors of Illinois and Nevada, the Mayors of Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Wilmington, Delaware, and Clark County Nevada Commissioners. Dr. Gray's Awards include The National Urban League Whitney M Young Jr. Entrepreneurship Award, The Indiana Black Expo (IBE) Hoosier Lottery Entrepreneur Award, The Alabama A&M Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Award, The Davidson College Love of Learning Lifetime Educational Achievement Award, Central State Award of Appreciation for contributions made in the area of entrepreneurship, NV Magazine Vision Award and the American Red Cross Award of Appreciation. Gray's biography is recognized in the Marquis "Who's Who in America."


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