Dr. King's Dream Lives
January 12, 2016
We celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the legacy of his vision for America. Dr. King had a dream about African-Americans walking down main streets, sitting in the front of the buses, eating at any lunch counter without fear, and equality for all. Dr. King's efforts for freedom were not just for Black and Brown; they were for all humans. He opened minds, hearts and doors in ways no one had ever done. He made us understand we are tied together in a human destiny of life and bound by faith.
America will never be a utopia, but is a constant work in progress. A lot of the news on TV, Talk radio, and in newspapers can lead to disillusionment over the issues of race, our court system, rights of the poor, gender inequality, politics, and general human kindness. The key to keeping Dr. King's dream for humanity alive is to not fall for the constant message of everything is going to hell and America needs to be great again. Don't you get it? If "we the people" become intolerant and distrustful of everything and everyone, those who are trying to lead by fear will manipulate our country into chaos.
Much of the diversity in the U.S. is a result of Dr. King and his vision. So, while the crazies continue to try and give a picture of despair and woe, we must rise above it and laugh; people only resort to the tactics of gloom and doom when they can no longer dominate and know they are losing control.
Dr. King's message was and is one of hope. He didn't just wake up a race of people; he woke up a nation. His methods have provided a road map for those viewing themselves as on the outside looking in. He taught us that strength in numbers, with a clear message and a plan, can lead to positive change. Dr. King's non-violence brand was an early media hit; everyone hates bullies and Dr. King exposed them as despicable people.
People who exemplify Dr. King's ideals come from all walks of life. I think it is good to learn about people outside the sectors of entertainment and sports. Minorities have made strides in the business world, so here is a look of some people you need to know:
World Wide Technology Inc. WWT Co-Founder/Chainman David L. Stewart
The company is based in a suburb of St. Louis called Maryland Heights. According to the Black Enterprise 100s list, this past year his company had revenues of more than $6 million, with 2,817 employees in 48 states and six countries; WWT is ranked #1 on the100s list of the nation's largest black-owned industrial/service companies. WWT provides e-business solutions, ERP & Java expertise, document management and conversion services, and systems networking for commercial and government entities.
ACT-1 Group Founder/CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd
Oprah Winfrey is the first African-American self-made billionaire, but Janice Bryant Howroyd is the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar company. She made the Forbes Magazine Top 25 list for being one of America's richest self-made women. Her personal net worth has been estimated at $610 million.
In 1978 she founded ACT-1 Personnel Services, a temporary employment agency, in the Los Angeles area. In addition, Howroyd also sits on seven boards, including Women's Leadership Board at Harvard and North Caroline A&T State University, her alma mater. She has transferred part of company to her two kids but retains control.
Millennium Steel Service, LLC Pres./CEO Henry Jackson
The beginnings of the Millennium Steel joint venture date back to a meeting between Toyota and Henry Jackson. At the time Jackson was Pres./CEO of Jackson Plastics Inc., a plastic injection molder in Nicholasville, KY, and a Tier I and II supplier to Toyota, as well as other auto and appliance makers. This resulted in a minority-owned joint venture with Toyota Tsusho America Inc. called Millennium Steel Service, LLC. Millennium Steel Service, LLC is a Tier 1 Raw Material supplier to Toyota and other Toyota-related parts makers.
Revenues have grown from $37 million in 2001 to more than $250 million today. The company is based in Princeton Indiana.
Bayou City Broadcasting, LLC Founder/Pres./CEO DuJuan McCoy
He's a graduate of Butler University, where he earned a B.S in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Sales. He began his television career soon thereafter in 1989 as an Account Executive for WTTV in his home town of Indianapolis.
Over the past 25 years he has been growing small, medium, and large-market television stations into revenue winners. He's also improved profitability and community involvement for the stations.
In 2008 McCoy's company's first purchase was several television stations in West Texas. His company Bayou City then sold them to Dallas-based London Broadcasting in 2012. He's one of the surprisingly few African-American TV station owners in the U.S.
Last year McCoy got back in the TV broadcasting business by acquiring WEVV-TV in Evansville, Indiana.
Blackstone Calling Card Inc Founder/CEO Luis Arias
At 10 years old, Mr. Arias came to the U.S. from Cuba. By the age of 18 he was running a gas station. He moved to Miami at 25 and bought a gas station. It was there he met an AT& T representative and entered into the business of selling cellphone minutes on phone cards. Business became so good that more money was coming in selling minutes than from his station pumping gas.
Within five years, his company began selling wireless phones and cards. The big change came when they created an electronic system for selling prepaid, so there would be no live inventory needed at the physical store. Mr. Arias and his associates created the first system of that kind in 1995. It caught on fast because it was providing a unique service that was filling a demand.
Blackstone Calling Card is now one of the country's largest providers of prepaid telecommunications products and services. The company has over 300,000 retail locations and over 7,500 agents/distributors nationwide.
Manna Inc. Founder/Owner Ulysses 'Junior' Bridgeman
Former NBA player Ulysses "Junior" Bridgeman put his Louisville, KY-based company into play in 1987. According to Forbes Magazine. his restaurants bring in more than $1.5 million of annual sales apiece. They are at the heart of a 195-store portfolio and makes Bridgeman's private company, Bridgeman Foods, America's second-largest Wendy's franchise owner. He also owns 125 Chili's restaurants, 45 Fannie May Chocolate stores, and lots of other retail franchises. His employee roster stands at 9,000 people. Bridgeman's net worth is estimated to be in the range from $250 million to $400 million.
Back in the day before the mega-sport salaries, Non-superstars like him didn't get rich from player salaries and endorsements. So during the off-season, he sold insurance at a local firm and worked the front desk at a Howard Johnsons.
Bridgeman began working for himself, after retiring at age 33 in 1987. He bought five Milwaukee-area Wendy's franchises and actually worked in every facet of the business, from flipping burgers to mopping the floors.
OneUnited Bank President Teri Williams
She is a graduate of Brown University, has an MBA from Harvard, and has been in financial services for over 30 years. Not only is Williams the Banks President, she's also a member of the board of directors. OneUnitedBank is the largest minority-owned bank in the U.S.
These days she is also an author, she has written a book for children to help understand financial literacy. The book is called "I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money." But her latest mission has been to help young children gain a foothold in understanding the intricacies of finance.
Her literary effort features a young African-American boy named Jazz Ellington, who at 10-years-old, already has over $2,000 in his savings account. But while his grandfather taught him how to increase his savings, his mother, sister and brother are all trying to spend his money.
AMD President/CEO Dr. Lisa Su
Dr. Su joined AMD in January 2012 as SVP/GM of global business units.
Prior to joining AMD, Dr. Su served as SVP/GM for Networking and Multimedia at Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. Dr. Su joined Freescale in 2007 as chief technology officer, where she led the company's technology roadmap and research and development efforts.
Dr. Su spent the previous 13 years at IBM in various engineering and business leadership positions, including vice president of the Semiconductor Research and Development Center responsible for the strategic direction of IBM's silicon technologies, joint development alliances and semiconductor R&D operations. Prior to IBM, she was a member of the technical staff at Texas Instruments in the Semiconductor Process and Device Center (SPDC).
She has a Bachelor's, Master's, and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from the MIT.
Dr. Su is one of the most influential people in her field.