Chess in the Park
Saturday, September 30th – Morningside Park
Monday, October 9th – New Rochelle, NY [Columbus Day]
Want Your Children to Succeed?
I could be a congresswoman
Or a garbage woman or
Police officer, or a carpenter
I could be a doctor and a lawyer and a mother
And a good God woman what you’ve done to me
Kind of lover I could be
I could be a computer analyst,
The Queen with the nappy hair raising her fist
Or I could be much more and a myriad of this
Hot as the summer, sweet as the first kiss
And even though I can do all these things…
~ Jill Scott
Where are the black and brown Mark Zuckerbergs? That was essentially the question — the challenge — that the late musician Prince asked Van Jones
, civil rights activist, founder of the Dream Corps
, and host of CNN’s The Messy Truth with Van Jones
Prince was a great musician
“Prince came in, and he said to the labels, ‘Do not try to just put me with the urban group; I want the world. I want to be with the pop staff. I’m going to make rock and roll, as well as soul, as well as funk…I don’t want to just go to Soul Train, I don’t want to just open up for Rick James, I want to be on Dick Clark.’”
But more importantly, Prince was a great activist
“[Prince] helped so many people. Most people don’t know that. He wanted to keep his charitable activities a secret. He wanted to keep his passion for underprivileged people between him and his god.”
“We spent hours talking about [Prince’s] concerns about technology and getting those skills to inner city youth.”
Often in the United States, Black activists don’t fare too well
For example Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was murdered by the Chicago police and the FBI.
It’s not a crime to murder Black organizers in an operation run by the national political police…. Just compare the coverage and the memory of just these two events, Watergate and the Hampton assassination, you learn a lot about the prevailing immortal and intellectual culture.
~ Noam Chomsky
Might not be in the back of the bus
But it sure feel just the same
Ain’t nothing fair about welfare,
Ain’t no assistance in aids
Ain’t nothin’ affirmative about your actions
Till the people get paid
It’s not a crime to murder Black organizers in an operation run by the national political police.
~ Noam Chomsky
Getting back to the question of “where are the black and brown Mark Zuckerbergs?” What we need to understand is that when Mark Zuckerberg was about eleven, his parents hired a computer tutor, a software developer named David Newman, who came to the house once a week to work with Mark. “He was a prodigy,” Newman told The New Yorker writer Jose Antonio Vargasme. “Sometimes it was tough to stay ahead of him.” (Newman lost track of Zuckerberg and was stunned when he learned from the interview that his former pupil had built Facebook.) Soon thereafter, Mark started taking a graduate computer course every Thursday night at nearby Mercy College.
The fact that Zuckerberg’s parents hired a computer tutor and paid for graduate computer course tells us that we need to look beyond the individual. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers
which The New York Times printed the first chapter
[Y]ou couldn’t understand why someone was healthy if all you did was think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You had to look beyond the individual. You had to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town in Italy their family came from. You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. The value of an outlier was that it forced you to look a little harder and dig little deeper than you normally would to make sense of the world. And if you did, you could learn something from the outlier that could use to help everyone else.
In Outliers, I want to do for our understanding of success what Stewart Wolf did for our understanding of health.
by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that between half a million and a million jobs could be created if higher-income Black households spent only $1 of every $10 at Black-owned stores and other enterprises.
According to the Census Bureau
, African-Americans are 13.2 percent of the population of the United States, which comes to about 42 million people. Research by the Economic Policy Institute
found that 51.3 percent of young Black high school graduates are underemployed. Yet, a recent report by Nielsen and Essence
estimates that Black buying power will reach $1.3 trillion in the next few years. If we were talking about countries, that would be the 16th biggest economy in the world.
According to a New York Times article
about Maggie Anderson, the author of Our Black Year,
a study by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University found that between half a million and a million jobs could be created if higher-income Black households spent only $1 of every $10 at Black-owned stores and other enterprises. Yet only a tiny fraction of Black buying power is spent at Black-owned businesses.
Don’t just say that Black unemployment is four times that of Whites. Say that Black businesses only get 2 percent of the $1 trillion of Black buying power, and then say that Black businesses are the greatest private employer of Black people.
~ Maggie Anderson
I come here tonight and plead with you. Believe in yourself and believe that you’re somebody. As I said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us! No document can do this for us. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. No Kennesonian or Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill can do this for us. If the Negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood, his own Emancipation Proclamation. Don’t let anybody take your manhood.
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
~ Dr Martin Luther King Jr
Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963
It’s not a war on drugs. Don’t ever think it’s a war on drugs. It’s a war on the Blacks. It started as a war on the Blacks, it’s now spread to Hispanics and poor Whites. But initially it was a war on Blacks. And it was designed basically to take that energy that was coming out of the Civil Rights Movement and destroy it.
~ Ed Burns
Co-creator of “The Wire”
Bank of America, Western Union, and JP Morgan, are among the institutions allegedly involved in the drug trade. Meanwhile, HSBC has admitted its laundering role, and evaded criminal prosecution by paying a fine of almost $2 billion. The lack of imprisonment of any bankers involved is indicative of the hypocritical nature of the drug war; an individual selling a few grams of drugs can face decades in prison, while a group of people that tacitly allow — and profit from — the trade of tons, escape incarceration.
Corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.Whether in bodies or injuries or dollars lost, corporate crime and violence wins by a landslide.
The FBI estimates, for example, that burglary and robbery – street crimes – costs the nation $3.8 billion a year.
The losses from a handful of major corporate frauds – Tyco, Adelphia, Worldcom, Enron – swamp the losses from all street robberies and burglaries combined.
Health care fraud alone costs Americans $100 billion to $400 billion a year.
The savings and loan fraud – which former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh called “the biggest white collar swindle in history” – cost us anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion.
David Simon, co-creator of HBO’s “The Wire”
The factories are not going to be here anymore. We don’t need these people so the least we can do is hunt them. And when we hurt them we at least provide jobs for cops, DEA agents, lawyers and prison guards.
~ David Simon
Co-creator of HBO’s The Wire
The good news of the gospel, as John understands it, is not that you–a wretched, miserable, fallen sinner–have been rescued from your fate and saved from your deserved punishment by the invasive power of a supernatural, heroic God who came to your aid…. John’s rendition of Jesus’ message is that the essence of life is discovered when one is free to give life away, that love is known in the act of loving and that the call of human life is to be all that each of us can be and then to be an agent of empowering other to be all they can be.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
~ Matthew 6:25
HOPE Community Services is the largest food pantry/soup kitchen in Westchester County. Former HOPE Volunteer Coordinator Sue Gedney, former New York State High Chess Champion Joshua Cola, 96 years old volunteer Iris Freed, and Terrance Jackson. Photo: Gene Shaw
I spent over four years homeless mostly in New Rochelle, NY and discovered the power of empathy
to fuel innovation and creativity:
I believe that empathy
– the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living. Over the past decade, I have become convinced that it has the power not only to transform individual lives, but to help tackle some of the great problems of our age, from wealth inequality to violent conflicts and climate change.
It is important to understand what empathy is and is not. If you see a homeless person living under a bridge you may feel sorry for him and give him some money as you pass by. That is pity or sympathy, not empathy. If, on the other hand, you make an effort to look at the world through his eyes, to consider what life is really like for him, and perhaps have a conversation that transforms him from a faceless stranger into a unique individual, then you are empathising. ~ Roman Krznaric
“Wired to Care will convince you that businesses succeed with their hearts as much as their heads. Dev Patnaik has given us just what we need for the lean years ahead.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point
At Jump Associates, my colleagues and I have had the chance to collaborate with some of the world’s most amazing companies. And if there’s one thing that we’ve learned in all that time, it’s that companies prosper when they’re able to create widespread empathy for the world around them. That’s why I ended up writing Wired to Care, which shows how great companies around the world, from Nike to IBM, benefit from building a culture of widespread empathy for the people they serve.
Corporate crime inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.
Whether in bodies or injuries or dollars lost, corporate crime and violence wins by a landslide.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
~ Matthew 7:12
When we look at each other, we are seeing the past. That is to say, what we see before us has happened. Science, logic and waking consciousness all deal with things that have happened. Science and reason can only predict what will happen if what will happen repeats what has happened. They cannot predict absolute novelty. The creativity of religion, mythology, and dream consciousness is the present. It is becoming. It is our very becoming. And a person with an intuition on that level can intuit the destiny of nations.
Waking consciousness, science, rational life, perfectly good but don’t try to interpret religion and your dreams in terms of reason. And don’t try to interpret faith in terms of science and logic. Religious imagery is telling you what is becoming. Reason is telling you what has become. The mystery of life is on the level of faith and dreams. So have faith, keep believing, and don’t be afraid to dream.
We need a theology of abundance to deal with the outcomes of our technology, the massive fruitfulness that the Creator God baked into us. We need a theology of abundance equal to the grace and generosity found in the blood of Jesus poured out for many. We need a theology of abundance commensurate with the superabundant presence of the Holy Spirit that can flood our senses, short-circuit our rationale. Unfortunately, our economics is built on a model of scarcity, and our theology feels equally impoverished.
[D]espite living in the most modernized and technologically advanced country, Americans report one of the world’s highest levels of belief in God. Americans’ faith in God appears constant even as we have come to embrace twenty-first-century technology and the benefits of modern science….
While Americans tend to be religiously devout, we paradoxically tend to know very little about religion, our own or others’. Religion scholar Stephen Prothero has shown that America is composed of “Protestants who can’t name the four Gospels, Catholics who can’t name the seven sacraments, and Jews who can’t name the five books of Moses.” Religious illiteracy increases the odds of misunderstanding and conflict….
[T]he simple fact that nearly 95 percent of Americans say they believe in God undermines any notion that we are engaged in a holy war over the existence of God.
Our image of God is never simply a reflection of the beliefs of our religious community. The traditional method of classifying people as Catholics or Baptists or Jews tells us little of consequence about what they believe.
~ American’s Four Gods
By Paul Froese
& Christopher Bader
In The Case for God
, Karen Armstrong explains that until the modern period, the major Western monotheisms all concerned themselves primarily with practice
, the doing of religion, rather than doctrine. A good Muslim was one who stood alongside and supported the Pillars; a good Jew observed Sabbath and remained committed to the Law and the ritual year; and a good Christian embodied the Sermon on the Mount by caring for the marginalized, promoting compassion and peace, and sharing God’s love. This is what it meant to be religious, Armstrong explains:
Religion as defined by the great sages of India, China, and the Middle East was not a notional activity but a practical one; it did not require belief in a set of doctrines but rather hard, disciplined work, without which any religious teaching remained opaque and incredible.
For most of Western history, religion has been primarily a matter of orthopraxy, not orthodoxy. In fact, no doctrine made any sense without participation in the community of faith and in its rituals. No doubt, there were certain thoughts or “beliefs” that mattered and were of extreme importance; however, unlike today, these convictions were never understood as either the core or the purpose of the religious life.
In fact, for most of Western history “belief” has meant nothing like what it means today. Today, when someone asks me if I believe in God, for example, they are asking if I assent to the proposed verity or the factual existence of God—and usually it is in reference to a very specific understanding of that God. Similarly, if I’m asked if I have “faith in Christ”, the question is whether I agree with the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth was divine, died on a cross, and was raised from the dead, or some form of that story. In both cases, questions of “belief” and questions of “faith” require answers of thought.
Yet, as surprising as it may seem, these understandings are relatively recent. “Faith” has its etymological roots in the Greek pistis, “trust; commitment; loyalty; engagement.” Jerome translated pistis into the Latin fides (“loyalty”) and credo (which was from cor do, “I give my heart”). The translators of the first King James Bible translated credo into the English “belief,” which came from the Middle English bileven (“to prize; to value; to hold dear”). Faith in God, therefore, was a trust in and loyal commitment to God. Belief in Christ was an engaged commitment to the call and ministry of Jesus; it was a commitment to do the gospel, to be a follower of Christ. In neither case were “belief” or “faith” a matter of intellectual assent.
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing [pisteuó from the root pistis], you will receive.”
~ Matthew 21:22
From a video essay about creativity we learn:
All of history’s greatest figures achieved success in almost exactly the same way. But rather than celebrating this part of the creative process we ignore it.
This missing chapter in the story of success reveals the secret to doing meaningful work. But in the modern world, full of distraction, do we have what it takes to do great things?
All of history’s greatest figures achieved success by having pistis, “trust; commitment; loyalty; engagement.”