Goals One Step at a Time(July/Aug 2011)

By Ben Michaelis, PhD

In today's economy, it is natural for us to focus on the negative and see our dreams of change as unattainable.  According to Dr. Michaelis, a New York-based clinical psychologist, "change doesn't just happen; we have to make it happen.  We have to make a commitment to ourselves — show we are worth the time and effort to create the change we want." One stumbling block to change can be our natural inclination towards procrastination."  Dr. Michaelis says this is very common and easy to overcome. He offers a few simple techniques to help us make this a year of accomplishments:

Start at the beginning, not the end - the only thing that matters is to start. Focusing all your energy on the end product is what stalls the process and fuels procrastination. When we see the beginnings of our goals take form, we are more encouraged and feel positive about our possibilities."
Stress - Too much stress can be detrimental to your mental and physical health - yet, there is an upside to stress.  You just need to have the right balance. "Determining what causes you stress so that you have the motivation to achieve your goals is critical.  Will writing down your goals on a calendar give you enough stress or will setting daily reminders in your calendar do it?  Also, consider putting a completion date on your calendar as a way of adding stress.

Dr. Ben Michaelis is a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping patients achieve mental health and
well-being through creative expression. He is an adjunct professor of psychology at Columbia University
and on the staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.  Dr. Michaelis is the co-founder of the Downtown
Clinicians Collective, one of New York City's largest networking organizations for mental health professionals. Ben@DrBenMichaelis.com.  
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Brothers Craig and Derrick Stingley Honored by
African American Golfer's Digest(March/April 2011)

Brothers Craig and Derrick Stingley were among a group of distinguished professionals and entrepreneurs who received an Outstanding Leaders In Golf Award presented by the African American Golfer's Digest at a ceremony in Orlando, Florida. The Stingleys were honored for their leadership and impact on the game of golf. The Milwaukee brothers are founders of CSI Golf, a division of CS Innovation, LLC.

Our 2011 honorees are exceptional individuals and organizations whose endeavors are opening doors and extending opportunities in the game throughout the industry to African Americans. Their efforts, foresight, courage and devotion are very deserving of this prized honor," said Debert Cook, publisher of the African American Golfer's Digest.

CSI Golf was formed to address the need for convenient methods of performing typical golf tasks such as development and improvement of putting mechanics, removal of dirt from the face of golf clubs and repair of ball marks on the putting surface. According to the brothers, "Our club cleaning product was our initial product launch into the golf industry. Then we introduced our BMR, Putter and PTT Adapter putting training aid product lines, which are quickly gaining popularity."

CSI Golf operates out of a 1,000 square foot storefront in West Allis that serves as a pro shop and production facility for their custom fitted putter line. They relied on 60 years of combined experience in engineering, manufacturing and management to form CSI GOLF and are on track to global success. They have appeared on the Golf Channel, exhibited for six consecutive years at the PGA Merchandising Show and already shipped their first international order. "One of our goals is to share the game of golf with youth and beginners."

The Outstanding Leaders In Golf Awards program is scheduled to coincide with the PGA Merchandise Show & Convention, where over 40,000 attendees gather annually for the largest trade-only golf exhibition in the United States.

Based in New York's financial district, African American Golfer's Digest launched in March 2003. It is a 100% minority-woman owned business and the only golf magazine specifically targeting the African American demographic. AAGD uses a 'grass roots' approach and partnerships generated that sponsor more than 250 top, Black-focused golf tournaments and events around the country.

It's Time for Righteous Black Men to Break Their Silence about the Sexual Abuse of Children in our Communities and Churches
Jermaine Reed (November/December 2010)

In the 1980s, civil lawsuits against priests for sex crimes rocked the core of the Catholic Church. Recently, a media frenzy erupted over alleged sexual abuse and associated hypocrisy in the pews of black churches.

It's wrong to act as if we don't know that sex crimes against children occur regularly in our churches and communities.

It's time for the righteous among us to break the silence about sexual abuse of children in our churches and communities. To prevent the continued hemorrhage of integrity of the leadership in our churches, morally guided black men must raise their voices against sexual abuse.

The Journal on Interpersonal Violence reports that there are approximately 39 million survivors of sex abuse in America. Many of these victims were abused as children. Greg Sporer and Steve Vann, Co-founders of Keeping Children Safe Ministries note that there are currently 5 to 6 million sex offenders in America and 18% to 24% of them attend church on a regular basis.

Furthermore, 90% of all sex offenders are not registered.
It is a shameful fact that over 300,000 children are sexually abused each year. It is believed that this number is actually much higher, since most instances of child sexual abuse go unreported. Even more devastating is a document from California's Department of Justice, which reports that over 90% of sexually abused children are violated by family members or someone their family trusts.

It seems that the more prominent a suspected sex offender is in the eyes of the community, the more likely they are to be shielded, and the chance of prosecution is therefore reduced. Children should be safe at home, in school and at church. But sadly these are the most dangerous environments for them.

Protecting children is everybody's responsibility. Universal measures of precaution should be taken.

  1. Church leadership must take a stand from the pulpit that clearly denounces the sexual abuse of children.
  2. Parents considering uniting with a church should ask directly about their active abuse prevention program.
  3. Background checks should be completed on all persons who have frequent access to children i.e. staff at schools and recreation centers etc., bus drivers, and volunteers.
  4. Where and when children engage with an adult, more than one adult should be assigned. Group activities are strongly encouraged 80% assaults occur in isolation.
  5. Never allow a known sex offender access or unsupervised contact with children.
  6. Talk to children about good, bad and "secret" touching. Also remember, according to 2000 stats from the US Department of Justice, 20% of sex offenders are women.

    The Think First & Stay Safe Parent Guide states that child molesters view families where the father is absent or emotionally unavailable as weak, vulnerable or needy and target these families. They strategically work over an extended period of time to gain their trust and begin the process grooming their potential victim under the guise of being a mentor or spiritual father.

Believe it, if a child tells you that they have been sexually abused. The Department of Justice reports that less than 1% of children lie about being sexually abused. Reassure the victim that they did the right thing by coming to you.

Responding to sexual abuse of children...
Wisconsin law mandates that you report suspicions or first hand knowledge of sex abuse of children to the police and/or child protective services immediately.

Victims of abuse need extensive psychological counseling along with other supportive activity to prevent permanent emotional damage.

In Simply Christian, Anglican theologian N. T. Wright states that every society has one unforgiveable sin. Many would argue that the unforgiveable sin today is the sexual abuse of children.

Be clear. I'm not homophobic. My contempt does not lie with the choices of consenting adults but when children are victims of this depraved behavior. The fact is that men sheppard most of the churches in America, and also commit 80% of sex crimes. I, therefore, believe that men must take the lead in repairing our families, churches and communities. It's time to set our house in order.

Passing the Leadership Baton between Generations (September/October 2010)

Walter J. LanierThen the LORD said to Moses "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, 'I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it."
Deuteronomy 34:4 (NIV)

"And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!"
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, April 3, 1968

As we know, Dr. King was assassinated the day after delivering his final speech. Like Moses, he was a man with a vision for his people. He would see much but - like Moses - he would not see the fulfillment of that vision. Neither man would see the fulfillment of his vision but both were willing to continue the struggle. This is a mark of great leadership. But, in addition to those similarities, there is also a crucial difference in the narratives of these two great leaders. When Dr. King died, there was turmoil, strife and confusion around who would succeed him. That turmoil was detrimental, detrimental to the fulfillment of the vision and persists even today as the SCLC struggles to survive. Unfortunately, there was no plan
Who would be next carry the leadership baton?

Moses, on the other hand, had a succession plan. Moses had a plan to pass the leadership baton to the next generation. For, although Moses would not see the fulfillment of the vision, Moses and the people knew that the vision would be fulfilled in the next generation. God had directed Moses to "commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see." There was a plan. Moses knew; Joshua knew and the people knew. Where are Moses and Joshua today and what is our plan for passing the leadership baton?

In Milwaukee, we clearly have not yet touched our feet to the Promised Land. Too often we find many in our community suffering as we languish near the bottom of various lists (poverty rate, teen pregnancy, joblessness, infant mortality, segregation, Black male incarceration, just to name a few). And, in Milwaukee, we clearly have many that labored in the tradition of King and Moses to liberate our community (too many to name). We have made many gains but, if we are to achieve the dreams and visions of those who came before us, the older generations and the younger generations will have to work together.

And, while the challenge of communicating between generations can seem difficult, it is no different than building any other meaningful relationship. The relationship between Moses, Joshua and the community is an excellent example. From the moment Moses directed Joshua to command troops in Exodus until the time of Moses' death in Deuteronomy, there was a continuous building of the relationship between the two men. Moses reached out to Joshua. He had Joshua accompany him in battle, as he climbed the mountain of God and even when he counseled the people. He intentionally reached out and involved Joshua in his work and his life. Even when Joshua acted immaturely (as young men and women will do), Moses corrected him but did not break their relationship. He did not dismiss the young, energetic and sometimes impetuous Joshua, but continued to invest in his life. Eventually, Moses would commission Joshua before God and before the people. Moses would die without seeing the Promised Land but that did not stop the vision from moving forward. The leadership baton was passed to Joshua and Joshua led the people into the Promised Land.

Einstein once said that "we cannot solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." If we are going to meet the challenges of the 21st century, we must make sure that the Moses generation and the Joshua generation work together to pass the leadership baton and achieve the unfulfilled dreams of the past.

Walter J. Lanier, JD is an Associate Minister at Calvary Baptist Church, Assistant General Counsel at MATC and founder of both Lanier Law Offices and the Great Lakes Urban Empowerment Center. He is a graduate of UWM and the University of Michigan Law School. He is happily married 18 years. He and his wife are the proud parents of three children. This article is derived from his manuscript, Moses to Joshua, Passing the Leadership Baton between Generations.

Black Business is the future of the black community(July/August 2010)

Ruben HopkinsRuben Hopkins, President
Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce

Black Business is the future of the black community. Therefore,taking control of the money in our community is imperative to the successful growth of business in the black community.

Let us get one thing straight, if you are in business and you are not a member of any black business organization, you are the problem! When all you do is complain about how black business organizations don’t meet your needs, you are the problem! When you would rather sit on the sideline and wait for others to do the work, you are the problem! If at the end of reading this article you have not pulled your checkbook out or volunteered to help, you are the problem! If you think that white people or white organizations have the answer, not only are you the problem but you are also a fool!

The challenge of change along with the pace and complexity of change and global competition facing black businesses today puts a premium on cities that can deliver distinct advantages for companies, talent and investment.

The need for the black community to compete at this level is unprecedented.  It is imperative that we capitalize on our city’s assets and create a scaled campaign equal to the challenge. We have developed an aggressive campaign to secure our business future. Outlined in this and other documents are the focused strategies aimed at the retention, expansion, creation and attraction of more black people starting businesses and creating jobs. 

The Black business community needs a controlling philosophy by which black communities will achieve greater self-sufficiency . Black owned businesses are key to the success of this movement. The Black business community has a need to offer Black people new ways of seeing, thinking and behaving in all areas of business.

The Black business community needs a self-empowerment plan that presents new strategies for black Milwaukee’s intellectual, economic, and civic development.

The Black business community must have a plan to alter certain unacceptable behaviors among blacks towards one another.

The plan must be exclusive and call for a broad range of economic strategies to improve conditions within the Black business community, including the establishment of commitments towards and covenants to the community of Black businesses within the network.

None of the proposed solutions matter if the resources to implement them are not available. This is usually the one thing missing in most black business development conversations. It is the classical “motivate without empowering”.

All state chamber of commerce organizations should be members of the National Black Chamber.
All Regional, City or local black chamber of commerce organizations should be members of the state chamber.
All associations and groups should also be represented by a state or local chamber through membership.
All Churches should have a business ambassador program connected to the local or state chamber.
All schools should have a youth ambassador program connected to the local or state chamber.
Statewide there should only be one directory for the black business.
Statewide the black business leadership must encourage businesses to cluster.
A black business support structure for new and experienced business must be obvious.

Black Chamber of Commerce
3020 W. Vliet St.
Milwaukee,WI 53233
Phone: 414-755-2904
Fax: 414-933-1656

We Can’t Keep Running From Young Black Males (May/June 2010)

By Larry K. Stephens
MantalkLarry K. Stephens (R) enjoys a game of pool at the Southeastern Youth & Family Services where he is a board member with resident student Ronald Harris and staff Chad Dean.

I’m not the first to say this. Bill Cosby said it. Reverend Al Sharpton said it. Many others have said it before me. I’m repeating it because many adult African-American males act as if they have not heard. If they have, they are ignoring the message.

Have we become afraid of our own offspring? Are the sagging pants and tattoos - sported by many of our young men - intimidating to grown men? It can’t be that, because there a lot of grown men who duplicate these fashions … even sporting tattoos of their own.

Can it be the loud and sometimes graphic ways that some of our young men express themselves? That’s not new either. Many of us grown men do the same. Or maybe it’s the disrespect grown men feel that some of these young men show to Black women. Surely, young men don’t have a monopoly on that front.

What then is it? What is the “real deal?” I believe that many adult Black males feel no kindred connection to these young men. Many of us, who are ‘good and grown’ responsible citizens, may not have become so, if the adults of our youth had felt so little connection to us. In fact, most of us can remember some adult male who offered assistance and guidance when we were young. That’s how it used to work in the African-American community.

I believe that when we were young men, we probably said and did some things that caused some adult males to feel a degree of discomfort. Ultimately, that did not matter. They helped us because they cared and wanted us to be the best that we could be. Today’s young Black males need the same support that many of us received. Behind the bravado - bluster - hardcore attitudes of our community’s young men lie the future of African-American males. They are in dire need of positive guidance.

What can be done about the situation? Volunteer! There are organizations in our community that serve troubled and at-risk young males. Whether it is an organization like 100 Black Men or agencies such as Southeastern Youth and Family Services, Carmelite Home, Inc. or Phenomenal Mens Group, there is a need and place for you to help.

I am a baby boomer and I know this for sure. Boomer Black males are retiring younger, living longer and many need something to occupy some of their time. My advice is to share your time with young African-American males. The future of our community requires such a commitment. Please hear the message!

Larry K. Stephens has enjoyed a string of outstanding career accomplishments and is currently a Local Affairs Account Manager with We Energies. In this capacity, he is responsible for three counties and six suburbs. He has mentored at We Energies since the company began a mentoring program in 1986.  He was one of four original mentors who “adopted” Milwaukee North Division High School. Stephens is also a member of the organizing committee for the African-American Network at Wisconsin Energy Corporation. Their goal is recruitment, retention, advancement and broadening the experiences of their African-American employees. He also serves on several local boards. Stephens is married to Barbara and they have two adult sons - Kennon and Kyle.

Senator Spencer Coggs' Bill Signed into Law; More defendants to qualify for representation by public defenders (May/June 2010)

State Senator Spencer Coggs (6th District) hailed the governor’s recent signing of his bill, now known as 2009 Wisconsin Act 164. The new law will allow more defendants to qualify for representation by a public defender at a significant cost savings to counties. “Too many defendants have been shortchanged by the out-of-date formula used to determine who is eligible to be represented by a public defender. This legislation is vital to the interests of defendants and the efficient, constitutional operation of our courts. I am grateful to the tireless efforts of all those who worked on this issue, particularly the dedicated staff at the Office of the State Public Defender,” said Senator Coggs.

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