Saturday, September 15, 2007

In The Beginning…….by Akindele Akinyemi


I have returned. In the beginning there were those who desired change.

On my recent hibernation I have come to realize that we need to elevate our way of thinking. Brothers and Sisters are mad around these neck of the woods. Our relationships are in a dire state. Our finances are in shambles. Our children are lost.

Our community need to understand the importance of family values through education that will generate wealth creation.

John Hope Bryant, Chairman and CEO of Operation Hope, teaches that there is a difference between broke and being poor. Being broke is a temporary economic condition, but being poor is a disabling frame of mind and a depressed condition of your spirit, and we must vow to never, ever be poor again.

I can agree 100% because in order for us to get out of the condition we are in we must declare who our real enemy is.

Poverty.

Spiritual poverty have ravaged our community is alarming rates. There is a church on every corner in our community, yet, our community is suffering from poverty. Only 4% of our children in our immediate community believe in God. Adults have not led the way to teach spiritual values to our children and now our children are growing up in the same negative cycle as the adults.

Mental poverty is occurring in our community because we do not take the time to read, meditate and even stimulate our minds to higher levels. We are stuck in a carnal mindstate that has brought us down from heaven to hell.

Physical poverty is caused by the lack of understanding financial literacy. People in our community must become financial literate if we are trying to free ourselves from the traps of dependency and poverty.

We are a race of excuses. Economics is the key to free ourselves from the traps that have been set aside for us out here in the community. We would rather build socio-political power than build economic power. Other races of people have built economic power first. It’s time that we change our culture by changing our thinking. The main problem with us in our community is the fact that we refuse to change our thinking. When you remain stubborn or stagnant mentally you will not increase spiritually.

This is the beginning of an new era in our lives. Notice I said OUR lives. There is no more room for individualism in my heart. That is a tool of the Devil. Fear is the faith of the Devil.
Education is the ultimate poverty eradication tool, and when you know better, you tend to do better. That is a fact. It is time that we not only integrate the schools but we integrate our wealth.

When I was on the scene last time I spoke on Urban Regional Networks. Communities like Inkster, Benton Harbor, Melvindale, and Ypsilanti are future emerging markets waiting to be born. However, if 90% of high school graduates receive no personal finance education the market will be doomed from the start.

One-fifth of teenagers have debit cards. That’s 4% of students 12 to 15 years old that have cards, compared with 57% of 18 and 19 year olds (USA Today).

The Bible says, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” Our vision in our community is extremely limited. I can see why we have been perishing mentally, spiritually and physically.
When do we start giving our children vision? Again, if we do not change our way of thinking then our children are doomed.

Why must we concentrate on economic power? Public policy in Michigan is principally designed around Michigan’s first priority; economics and ownership. Individual property rights. Think about what I am teaching here – from tax breaks and other protections for homeowners, to incentives for the working class, to incentives for small businesses and major corporations alike.. it’s all about owners and producers.

It is important that financial literacy in our homes and schools should link itself to viable strategies for true economic empowerment, conversion (converting a check cashing mentality into a bank account mentality, a renters mentality into a home ownership mentality, etc.) and ownership in our communities.

As we begin our Genesis I predict the debate in our community will switch from race and the color line, to issues of class and poverty. Our people need to make sure we are ready. Blacks needs to push itself to be ready; to begin to do things differently. Very differently. There is no room for the comfort zone anymore.

I love people who do things that are not comfortable. I love people who push and who stretch in order to do extraordinary things. These are the only type of people I am willing to build with in this day and time because our children lives are at stake. There are no room for excuses.
If our plan is to truly move forward, fulfill our destiny, and to truly live the American dream for our families and ourselves, then in the 21st century Black folks in Detroit are going to have to learn to be a little, well, uncomfortable.

No one has a lock on the truth except God. Not Democrats, not Republicans. From what I have seen this year, we are all born broken. Whether you believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God, as I do, or not, does not matter. There is a universal lesson in his saying, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” None of us is without sin.

If we are serious about eradicating poverty, if we truly want to create social change, if we truly want to make a difference in our community, we cannot do it on a partisan political basis. Sorry, but Democrats and Republicans have dropped the ball too many times. If anyone who can change our community we should be looking towards moral leadership. Look at the social movers of our times — Gandhi, King, Cesar Chavez, Mother Teresa — respectfully, none were politicians. They were moral leaders who had the vision and a passion to make a difference in the communities they represent.

I am not saying that political leadership is not important, but frankly, just the opposite. Not JUST political leadership, and surely more than just partisan political leadership, is needed for our true emergence as a group of people. Having strong spirit-centered leadership throughout the Black community, starting in our homes and in our individual lives, helps and strengthens our political leadership in Lansing and beyond.

The road ahead is not easy. Nobody promised that life would be anything but difficult. You cannot have a rainbow without a storm first. To have hope is the first step in having opportunity, because life is how you see it, and what you can make of it. Life is ten percent what circumstances do to you and ninety percent how you choose to respond to them.

Welcome to Genesis, my vision for empowerment in our community. I promised myself to do less talk and more action. My A-Train is an educational and financial movement that will help to empower those in need. Are you on the train with me? Are you ready to claim the victory?
We will see who is faithful and who is not. Welcome aboard.

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