Blogs & Articles
Change your mind to change your circumstances
By: J. Burner Crew - February 9th, 2021
Black History Month a time to take stock of where we are
As we celebrate Black History Month let’s take time to understand where we are relative to all Americans. Clearly we have made significant progress given our initial position as a part of society. Let’s acknowledge the accomplishment of gaining our freedom, our right to vote and our basic civil rights in this country despite numerous obstacles.
There have been multiple studies from many credible sources that illustrate the negative facts in our neighborhoods and at the family level. Systemic racism and single parent households are terms we have become familiar with. Gun violence and debilitating drugs are also reasons given when our problems are discussed openly. This will not be a restatement of the obvious, it is first an acceptance of the facts and a focus on how Black people in America can effect positive change given the tools available.
The great poet and songwriter Gil Scott Herron once said, “in order to change your circumstance you must first change your mind”. Awareness is the best place to start. Taking individual responsibility is also required to improve outcomes in America. Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass overcame the fear of the moment to seek freedom from slavery and put action with words to challenge the system for positive change. To be sure there were others who tried but did not succeed but are no less a part of our history. Martin Luther King, Andrew Young and John Lewis focused on our Civil Rights and succeeded where others failed. Today, Stacey Abrams and Barack Obama changed the politics of America when few believed it was possible.
We must take the time to acknowledge these great accomplishments and celebrate the people who made it possible, but we need to take the next step. We must obtain financial freedom and learn to manage wealth in this capitalistic system before we can call ourselves successful in our quest for equality in America.
We have become aware, the first step, but change will only come when we take the risk to step into a world of capital formation and ownership. Real estate is a typical transaction most are comfortable with. We buy our homes and if we are adventuresome we may acquire rental property. Becoming a landlord involves moderate risk but the lessons learned can be applied to other forms of ownership.
To acquire an existing company is very similar to buying any other asset. This is an area of our economy where minorities rarely participate; the reasons go back to changing your mind first. If you wish to take the steps on this journey educate yourself on the basic steps and have a discussion with a business broker, yes there are brokers who will assist in capital formation and review of available assets for sale.
There are organizations in our area that need clientele and are ready to assist. United Black Fund, Village Capital and League Park to name a few. The internet can be a great tool to scan opportunities as you think through your choices. A job is good but when we look at the dynamics associated with employment, we relinquish our future to the control of others. Ownership is not without its challenges but at least you are in greater control of the outcome. It is a choice because now you are aware!