Time For An Economic Revolution: Calling All Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Jews, LGBT People

Economic Revolution

Protest rallies denouncing Donald Trump as America’s President-elect continue in multiple cities. The Republican candidate ran on a campaign that leveraged white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and transphobia. He also benefited from a weakened Voting Rights Act to garner the most Electoral College votes in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. CNN contributor Van Jones claimed Trump’s unexpected rise and victory ultimately came down to “whitelash“—backlash from white Americans against other races.

 

America’s True Colors

 

White women were accused of selling out the sisterhood. Trump tried to pit straight white men against everyone else—women, people of color, people in the LGBTQ community, immigrants—and white women decided they wanted to vote on the side of white men, said Slate associate editor L.V. Anderson in a column she wrote. She went on say, “Most white women still identify more with white men than they do with black women, Latina women, Muslim women, transwomen, and every other woman.” Women did vote overwhelmingly to elect Clinton, except for white women, reported the Edison national election poll.

In the column “Dear Fellow White Women: We F**ked This Up,” Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, associate editor for Impact at The Huffington Post, wrote that white women failed to show up to the polls to elect the first woman president—a white lady no less. She wrote, “Tell me we came through for our sisters of color, I begged, at least this one time. We didn’t. So, I am ashamed. I am ashamed of my country. I am ashamed of white people.” But more than anyone else, I am ashamed of white women. Is this who we really are? Clearly—and it is who we have always been.”

Indeed, white Christian Americans—men and women—showed their true colors at the polls and Trump the billionaire businessman is America’s president. We don’t need anyone’s guilt or apologies. We need strategic alliances and collective bargaining power.

 

Exercise Our Muscle

 

Now is the time for those of us viewed as outsiders to not only raise our collective voices but to exercise our financial muscle. Research suggests that communities’ generational economic empowerment is linked to entrepreneurial success. Therefore, if we want to improve our communities and provide jobs for each other we must advance and strengthen businesses. This means taking advantage of rewards based crowdfunding and also the JOBS Act signed by President Obama in 2012 to invest in startups by founders who are people of color, LGBT or Muslim—those groups who continue to have limited access to capital. On May 16, 2016, Title III of the JOBS Act, also known as equity crowdfunding, was the last section to be implemented by the SEC, allowing people who don’t have massive wealth to help fund new businesses. Statistics show that white male angel investors and venture capitalists continue to fund founders who look like them. African Americans, Latinos, and people of Middle Eastern descent get less than 20% of investment dollars.

As multicultural consumers, we are becoming the core of the U.S. population. African American, Asian American, and Hispanic consumers account for more than 120 million people combined (38% of the total population). Black buying power is $1.3 trillion. Hispanic spending power is $1.5 trillion. What’s more, LGBT consumers shop more frequently with a combined buying power of $917 billion. While spending power does not equate to income, as a collective there is enormous potential for us to leverage our economic power to spend our dollars with each other and those companies that are willing to stand up for us and against those issues that impact us such as anti-LGBT religious freedom laws, immigration, and unjust criminal justice system for black and brown people.

As the new administration thinks about banning Muslims, let us consider not flying U.S. airlines and implement a drive-only carpool policy plus leasing, buying, and renting foreign cars from dealerships owned by minorities. While they look at deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, let us collectively start moving millions of our dollars out of large national banks into minority-owned banks that will grant small business loans and mortgages that are non-predatory. Once they begin implementing state laws that allow businesses to evoke God in order to refuse to sells goods or serve LGBT families, let us start spending our dollars more with small local businesses that serve everyone—regardless of race, gender, gender identity, religion, or sexual orientation—and less with major national food and retail chains.

 

Make America Great Again For Us, Too

 

We witnessed how societal privileges played out in our political arena during the 2016 presidential election. Over the next four years, we need to take our country back and Make America Great Again For Us, Too. This time the revolution will be televised and socialized in living color.

Trump Is the President-Elect. Why Are You Surprised?

President-elect

Donald Trump is the president-elect. Hillary Clinton has failed in her second bid to become the first female president of the United States of America. While virtually no one (including me) saw this as even remotely possible when Trump officially entered the race 17 months ago, it amazes me to see how many people are walking around shocked, dazed, and devastated, now that the unimaginable has happened. Did these people really go to bed last night believing Clinton had it in the bag?

For those of you who believe the election results have revealed “the truth” about how America feels about minorities, immigrants, women, and so on, where do you think you live? Tell me the name of that magical land in your head. (Obamaland, perhaps?)

The election and re-election of President Barack Obama is graphic evidence that we have come a long way, as a nation. However, the reality of President-elect Trump is incontrovertible proof that we still have a lot of growing, maturing, and work to do, especially as relates to the racism and sexism, which remains a complex and indelible part of our national legacy and psyche.

And newsflash; it is possible for people—friends, college classmates, co-workers, bosses, employees, neighbors, even relatives—to be nice, neighborly, helpful, friendly, and even loving toward you, and not agree with or share your beliefs. That is what America is all about, people. (This is also why labeling the followers of any presidential candidate as “deplorable” can be a deadly mistake in any election, regardless of party or person.)

The question is not, “Are we woke?” It’s, “Why did you go to sleep?”

And I am not trying to hear African Americans who say they are leaving the country now that Trump is president-elect. Of course, only a privileged few black people have that luxury. (Hmmm… Do I want to move to Canada, France, or someplace nice in West Africa? Talk about first-world problems.)

If you’re determined to leave (as is your right), can you please do so quietly? I mean, is it necessary to announce it to everyone on Facebook? Because doing so does not exactly boost the morale of the vast majority of us who, whether by choice or not, will still be here striving for our continued progress and empowerment against daunting obstacles, ranging from income inequality and economic unfairness, to failing public schools and the systematic criminalization of black men.

Those loudly broadcasting their plans to flee the country in response to the reality of President-elect Trump sadly remind me of the higher-income, better educated African Americans who abandoned our inner cities in the ’70s and ’80s, decimating tax bases and leaving middle and lower-income black people to fend for themselves. The African Americans who can afford to leave the country also happen to be those best equipped and most needed to defend the best interests of black people during a Trump presidency.

So if you have to go, go. But don’t be so loud and gleefully self-righteous about it, okay? (By the way, if a Trump presidency turns out to be the global disaster it has the potential to be, is there anywhere else in the world that you can go that would really be safer than staying in America?)

Note: I give a temporary, one-time pass to eligible voters under the age of 30. (This includes three of my four adult children.) Most of you have never been on the losing side of an election before or even know what it’s like to not have a black presidential candidate to vote for. Welcome to reality; the person you vote for will not always win, no matter how much you want him/her to, how passionately you believe in their policy positions, nor how vehemently you hate the opposing candidate and his/her policy positions. Fortunately, I learned that lesson from the beginning of my life, as a voter during the Reagan era. I still have difficulty referring to the former Washington National Airport as Reagan National. I had to wait until the Clinton era, the fourth presidential election, in which I was eligible to vote, to end up on the winning side. Of course, we’re already used to seeing President-elect Trump’s name on virtually everything.

The question for all of us is, what are you going to do now? What we do between presidential elections matters far more than what we do every four years in November. Stand up and live out what you believe in every day, not just election day. If you don’t—if you give up and back out just because the election didn’t go your way, you’re just not serious. Have several seats. Or better, go back to sleep and stay out of everyone else’s way.

Let’s stop pointing fingers and blaming each other (blacks versus whites, voters versus non-voters, and so forth) for the outcome. Credit for winning goes to President-elect Trump and his supporters. Responsibility for losing goes to Clinton and her team (and remember, this was her second failed attempt to make her case for becoming our president). The same America that chose President Barack Obama twice in a row is the same America that chose President-elect Trump yesterday.

The election is over, but our work as American citizens is never done. Let’s get on with it.

By the way: I blew off voting in the first presidential election, in which I was eligible to vote, Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan, in 1980. I was an unengaged, politically apathetic 20-year-old undergrad at Rutgers. My wake-up call came via Reagan policies that virtually wiped out financial aid and resulted in many of my classmates being forced to abandon their college educations for lack of resources. I barely made it; my younger brother sent me money to buy books for my final semester. It was a catalyst for my transformation into a black student leader, campus activist against South African apartheid, and editor of a campus newspaper for black and Latino students. I have never forgotten that lesson. Win or lose, I will always vote—and I’ve stayed woke ever since.

 


Black Enterprise Executive Editor-At-Large Alfred Edmond Jr. is an award-winning business and financial journalist, media executive, entrepreneurship expert,  personal growth/relationships coach, and co-founder of Grown Zone, a multimedia initiative focused on personal growth and healthy decision-making. This blog is dedicated to his thoughts about money, entrepreneurship, leadership and mentorship. Follow him on Twitter at @AlfredEdmondJr.

From Poverty to Politics: This GOP Strategist Is Making Waves

politics

Growing up in the housing projects on the Southside of Chicago, Gianno Caldwell had the odds stacked against. His mother oftentimes chose crack cocaine and heroin over Caldwell and his eight siblings. In a place where, to date, the murder rate has exceeded 600 people (according to the Wall Street Journal), many would say there was no way out for Caldwell.

However, Caldwell was fortunate to have a periodic out—weekends working for his grandfather’s thriving business, Modern Plumbing and Sewage. It was there, working as a plumbing assistant that he learned the concept of personal responsibility, the fundamentals of manhood, and the basics of politics in America. One day, on a car ride home, Caldwell spotted a woman who resembled his mother. She was badly addicted to drugs; so bad that it brought tears to his eyes. In that moment, his grandfather told him that it was the elected officials that made the laws that could save this woman from her addiction and maybe even herself. That conversation sparked Caldwell’s passion for politics.

The next week he marched into his local alderman’s office and volunteered to serve over 60,000 Chicago residents. He acknowledges that “you never know how a very negative situation can be a very positive thing to someone else.” This life motto has transformed Caldwell’s unfortunate home life into a life of purpose and prosperity.

Since then, he has worked on Capitol Hill, been appointed a special adviser to a presidential campaign, and petitioned for health, energy, and telecommunications reform. His mission, from day one, has been to help people. At 26, Caldwell left Capitol Hill to become founder and CEO of Caldwell Strategic Consulting, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, and consulting firm. His greatest accomplishment has been working with congressional leadership to reverse federal agency action that would require a safety net hospital on the Southside of Chicago to close its doors.

Caldwell sat down with Black Enterprise to discuss why a person’s background doesn’t preclude them from excelling in the business of politics.

BE: How long have you been in politics?

Caldwell: Sixteen years.

 BE: What inspired you to make this career choice?

Caldwell: I thought I could make a true difference. I saw politics as the way to create social change the quickest.

BE: What is it about politics that’s intrigues you? 

Caldwell: If used properly, being in politics, you can change lives and fix systems; it’s a powerful tool.

BE: What has been a highlight of your career in politics?  

Caldwell: Working as a lobbyist has been the light for me. I see lobbyists as educators. We go to elected officials and educate them on an issue that our clients have or the potential impact of pending legislation on our clients’ business, the politicians, and the constituents.

BE: What impact do you want to have in the political landscape?  

Caldwell: My impact is twofold. In media—my goal is to give a broader range to the conversation in the black community via television, radio, and internet appearances. As a lobbyist, I like to use my Southside of Chicago mindset to impact the opinions of the few that speak for millions.


BE: What unique opportunities have you been afforded as a man of color in politics, if any?  

Caldwell: Considering how I grew up, and then becoming a Republican, my experiences make me fairly unique. I often get criticized for my perspective from those who haven’t done their due diligence in either getting to know me and/or my position on the issues.

Caldwell’s quick tips for staying inspired in the field of politics:

  1. Express your desire to get into politics clearly and concisely.
    1. Be able to articulate your “why” to those who ask.
    2. Be upfront and honest about who you are and what matters most to you.
    3. Be flexible, yet focused on your goal(s).
  1. Find a campaign or elected official whose platform sparks your passion.
    1. Evaluate the work and reputation in the community.
    2. Be true to how their work ignites something within your spirit.
  1. Stay consistent and be persistent.
    1. Be strategic and willing to take opportunities that will allow you to move up and forward.
    2. Remember that what you desire may not happen overnight.

Caldwell stays inspired through the legacy of his first ever mentor, his grandfather—the man who taught him the concepts of personal responsibility and personal resolve. He believes, in spite of what anyone says or does, there’s no one or “no thing” that can stop you from being a success but you.

Click here to see what inspires Gianno Caldwell.

For more info on Gianno Caldwell, check out his bio here.

Follow Gianno Caldwell on social media:
Twitter: @GiannoCaldwell @Caldsconsulting
Facebook: Caldwell Strategic Consulting

From Poverty to Politics: This GOP Strategist Is Making Waves

politics

Growing up in the housing projects on the Southside of Chicago, Gianno Caldwell had the odds stacked against. His mother oftentimes chose crack cocaine and heroin over Caldwell and his eight siblings. In a place where, to date, the murder rate has exceeded 600 people (according to the Wall Street Journal), many would say there was no way out for Caldwell.

However, Caldwell was fortunate to have a periodic out—weekends working for his grandfather’s thriving business, Modern Plumbing and Sewage. It was there, working as a plumbing assistant that he learned the concept of personal responsibility, the fundamentals of manhood, and the basics of politics in America. One day, on a car ride home, Caldwell spotted a woman who resembled his mother. She was badly addicted to drugs; so bad that it brought tears to his eyes. In that moment, his grandfather told him that it was the elected officials that made the laws that could save this woman from her addiction and maybe even herself. That conversation sparked Caldwell’s passion for politics.

The next week he marched into his local alderman’s office and volunteered to serve over 60,000 Chicago residents. He acknowledges that “you never know how a very negative situation can be a very positive thing to someone else.” This life motto has transformed Caldwell’s unfortunate home life into a life of purpose and prosperity.

Since then, he has worked on Capitol Hill, been appointed a special adviser to a presidential campaign, and petitioned for health, energy, and telecommunications reform. His mission, from day one, has been to help people. At 26, Caldwell left Capitol Hill to become founder and CEO of Caldwell Strategic Consulting, a bipartisan lobbying, public affairs, and consulting firm. His greatest accomplishment has been working with congressional leadership to reverse federal agency action that would require a safety net hospital on the Southside of Chicago to close its doors.

Caldwell sat down with Black Enterprise to discuss why a person’s background doesn’t preclude them from excelling in the business of politics.

BE: How long have you been in politics?

Caldwell: Sixteen years.

 BE: What inspired you to make this career choice?

Caldwell: I thought I could make a true difference. I saw politics as the way to create social change the quickest.

BE: What is it about politics that’s intrigues you? 

Caldwell: If used properly, being in politics, you can change lives and fix systems; it’s a powerful tool.

BE: What has been a highlight of your career in politics?  

Caldwell: Working as a lobbyist has been the light for me. I see lobbyists as educators. We go to elected officials and educate them on an issue that our clients have or the potential impact of pending legislation on our clients’ business, the politicians, and the constituents.

BE: What impact do you want to have in the political landscape?  

Caldwell: My impact is twofold. In media—my goal is to give a broader range to the conversation in the black community via television, radio, and internet appearances. As a lobbyist, I like to use my Southside of Chicago mindset to impact the opinions of the few that speak for millions.


BE: What unique opportunities have you been afforded as a man of color in politics, if any?  

Caldwell: Considering how I grew up, and then becoming a Republican, my experiences make me fairly unique. I often get criticized for my perspective from those who haven’t done their due diligence in either getting to know me and/or my position on the issues.

Caldwell’s quick tips for staying inspired in the field of politics:

  1. Express your desire to get into politics clearly and concisely.
    1. Be able to articulate your “why” to those who ask.
    2. Be upfront and honest about who you are and what matters most to you.
    3. Be flexible, yet focused on your goal(s).
  1. Find a campaign or elected official whose platform sparks your passion.
    1. Evaluate the work and reputation in the community.
    2. Be true to how their work ignites something within your spirit.
  1. Stay consistent and be persistent.
    1. Be strategic and willing to take opportunities that will allow you to move up and forward.
    2. Remember that what you desire may not happen overnight.

Caldwell stays inspired through the legacy of his first ever mentor, his grandfather—the man who taught him the concepts of personal responsibility and personal resolve. He believes, in spite of what anyone says or does, there’s no one or “no thing” that can stop you from being a success but you.

Click here to see what inspires Gianno Caldwell.

For more info on Gianno Caldwell, check out his bio here.

Follow Gianno Caldwell on social media:
Twitter: @GiannoCaldwell @Caldsconsulting
Facebook: Caldwell Strategic Consulting

Black Students Out-Voted Their Peers in 2012. Will They Do It Again?

Last week, the The National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement (NSLVE) at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life released its analysis of the voting habits of college students.

[Related: Voter Demographics for FL, NC, OH, IL and MO]

The study revealed telling insight on how college students may vote during the 2016 election season. According to its press release, their findings include:

• Overall, college students in the NSLVE study voted at a rate of 45% in 2012, with those eligible to vote for the first time voting at a lower rate of 40%.

• Women voted at higher rates than men.

• Among all racial/ethnic groups, black students voted at the highest rate (55%). Among black students, women in the study voted at a rate of 61%, while men voted at 44%, which was similar to the percentage of white men (45%).

• Only 48% of first-time eligible voters chose to vote in person on Election Day. The remainder voted absentee (29%), early (16%) or by mail (7%), where allowed.

The director of the study, Nancy Thomas, praised college students for participating in the electoral process, but noted that numbers could be higher.

“While college students are voting in higher numbers than young people overall, these data show that there is still significant potential to increase voting and political learning on campuses, particularly with regard to first-time voters. In 2016, universities can and must do more to build the type of campus climates that not only reduce barriers to voting, but increase students’ motivation to participate,” Thomas said.

The study also raised the question of whether black students will continue their record-breaking political engagement. As noted above, black students had the highest voter turnout rate of any other racial or ethnic group in 2012.

For more on the study, here’s an infographic from The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education.

 

Ben Carson Endorses Donald Trump

(Image: File)

On Friday, former presidential candidate Ben Carson formally endorsed Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination.

[Related: Ben Carson Doesn’t See “Political Path Forward�]

Due to press leaks, Trump was forced to divulge Carson’s endorsement during Thursday night’s GOP debate in Miami.

Carson delivered his official endorsement on Friday during the originally planned press conference held at the Trump-owned Mar-A-Lago club in Florida.

During his speech Carson warned against “thwarting the will of the people,” alluding to rumors that the GOP establishment is plotting to avoid a Trump nomination through a brokered convention.

Praising Trump during an appearance on Fox News Radio, Carson insisted that Trump is a multi-faceted, but serious candidate.

“There’s two Donald Trumps. There’s the Donald Trump that you see on television and who gets out in front of big audiences, and there’s the Donald Trump behind the scenes,â€� Carson said. “They’re not the same person. One’s very much an entertainer, and one is actually a thinking individual.”

Black Protestor Viscously Assaulted at Trump Rally

Another day, another disturbingly violent incident at a Trump rally.

On Wednesday, a black man was brutally assaulted by a Trump supporter at a rally held in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

[Related: Dalai Lama on Trump: ‘That’s your business’]

The peaceful protestor, Rakeem Jones, 26, was being escorted out of the rally by security when he was viciously attacked by a white man in a cowboy hat. The assaulter, 78-year-old John McGraw, approached Jones and sucker-punched him in the face, drawing applause and cheers of approval from the crowd of Trump supporters.

McGraw was later arrested and charged with assault, but the officers handling the situation have since come under fire for calmly walking past McGraw and not making the slightest attempt to apprehend him.

Instead, the officers chose to throw Jones to the ground, while placing him in handcuffs. Multiple videos have surfaced depicting the entire incident, which include admonishing the cops for their unnecessary use of force against a man who had just been victim to a vicious, unprovoked assault.

According to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the actions of the officers will be subjected to an internal review.

Dalai Lama on Trump: ‘That’s your business’

In an interview with ABC News, the Dalai Lama let Americans know that he was not here for our 2016 election shenanigans. When asked his thoughts on Trump, the Dalai Lama replied, “Oh that’s your business.”

[Related: Colin Powell: There’s a Level of Intolerance in Some Parts of the Republican Party]

“A serious discussion about policy matter is useful. But sometimes a little bit personal criticism, that looks a little bit cheap. That’s my view,â€� the Dalai Lama continued.

He did not explicitly refer to any of the candidates, instead focusing on the broader issue of how people allow politics to become divisive.

Although the revered spiritual leader remarked that he felt his inability to vote prohibited him from sharing his opinion on the matter, we couldn’t help but notice his continuous giggle throughout the segment.

We also couldn’t help but laugh with him.

Watch the full video here.

Flint Sees Record-Breaking Voter Turnout, Polls to Run Out of Ballots

(Image: Wikipedia.org)

On Tuesday night, Flint residents came out in droves to cast their votes for the Michigan primary.

By 4 p.m., NBC 25 reported that at least three Flint precincts had run out of ballots and were forced to either turn voters away, or have them wait until more ballots could be retrieved.

[Related: Ryan Coogler and Jesse Williams Talk Using Star Power to Bring #JusticeForFlint]

City of Flint Clerk, Inez Brown, told MLive.com that she had never seen such high turnout in her 20 years as a city clerk.

“It’s an unprecedented high turnout for a closed primary presidential election for the city of Flint,” Brown said.

City officials pointed to the city’s ongoing water crisis as cause for the drastic uptick in ballots cast.

County Clerk, Justin Gleason, had expected long lines at the ballot. “The city of Flint has been in the national news for five months. People want to be heard. They are tired, and the city’s water crisis is one reason they are showing up to vote,” Gleason said.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver had a similar message. “Our voices were not heard, and now people are becoming more involved. I’m glad people are feeling empowered and encouraged to come out [and] vote.”

How Blacks Voted on Super Tuesday

Virginia’s black voter turnout was down 5% from the 2008 election. In 2008, black voters made up 30% of the electorate in Virginia’s democratic primary. This year, they were 25%.

[Related: For Clinton and Sanders, Nomination May Be All Over But the Shouting After Super Tuesday]

 

Tennessee had the sixth most delegates up for grabs out of the Super Tuesday states.

 

Clinton won with a decisive supermajority in Georgia, where the eligible black voters are more than half of the total electorate.

As expected, Clinton won solidly in her former home state of Arkansas.

Sanders could only muster single digit results in Arkansas.