Ken L. Harris serves as the President/CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce with access to more than 79,000 black-owned businesses in Michigan. Commissioner Harris was elected to the Detroit Charter Commission in 2009. Harris currently serves on the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in Washington, DC and as Midwest Director for the US Black Chamber over 12 states. Harris is an active life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and a 33rd Degree United Supreme Council Prince Hall Mason. Harris received the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2007 Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award in Michigan and was inducted into Crain’s Detroit Business Class of 2007 40 under 40. Harris was also featured in DBusiness Magazine 30 in their 30’s Most Influential and Ebony Magazine in 2011. Harris a former NCAA Basketball Academic All-American point-guard for Clark Atlanta University graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Clark Atlanta University (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia and an Educational Specialist (EDS) Degree from Wayne State University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Ken Harris is a PhD candidate at the Michigan State University in African American and African Studies and the Eli Broad School of Business Program.
Shortly after the reconstruction period early in the 19th century, post-slavery African Americans challenged the political system deemed only for White males. Many Blacks broke the color barrier defined by the American apartheid system. In 1860, the first elected Mayor of a U.S. town was Pierre Caliste Landry of Donaldsonville, Louisiana. This trend would end quickly due to the progressive period of Jim Crow. However, the Civil Rights Movement gave way to a group of profound, prophetic, and progressive mayors who would be elected in major Black cities during the 1960s. In 1967, Carl B. Stokes of Cleveland, Ohio became the first Black to be elected mayor of a major U.S. city. He was followed by Richard G. Hatcher of Gary, Indiana, and Walter Washington of Washington, D.C. This gave rise to a date marked in history—November 6, 1973—when Coleman Alexander Young was elected the mayor of Detroit. Young served five terms and he was Detroit’s first African-American mayor. Soon, Black mayors would be elected all across the country, including Maynard Jackson of Atlanta, Georgia in 1973, Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, California in 1973, Ernest Nathan Morial of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1978, Harold Washington of Chicago, Illinois in 1983, David Dinkins of New York, New York in 1989, and Mayor Brenda Lawrence, the first Black woman elected in the City of Southfield, Michigan in 2001.
Today, society gives mention to our ancestors and those who stood the lines, championed petitions, excluded racism, diversified segregation, and ignited urban America. From roots of slavery, Black men and women who helped build the United States now represent the U.S. and its local communities. There have been more than 640 Black mayors elected across the nation and there are many more to come. African Americans have made profound contributions to society and its growth since the days of President Lincoln. As Detroit continues to grow, we cannot forget the struggles and sacrifices made so that Blacks could lead a city with a population that is 85% African American and home to 350,000 Black voters. It was just 39 years ago that Black people were relegated to only sweeping the floors of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. Today, we honor the one who deserved to have City Hall named after him. Remembering the legacy and the history allows for clarity during these times of uncertainty, deficits, and struggling leadership to not give up the fight for equality, proper representation, better quality of life and access to economic prosperity.
Thank you, Mayor Coleman A. Young. No matter the piety, temptation, individualism, unrighteousness, self-proclamation, outside influences, and turncoat leadership, Detroit will never forget our history and America’s first Black mayors.
“Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, the big bad wolf, and the big bad wolf?” Remember that song we use to listen to as children? The Big Bad Wolf, also known as Zeke Wolf or Br'er Wolf, was a fictional character from Walt Disney's animation “Three Little Pigs,” directed by Burt Gillett and first released on May 27, 1933. This menacing predatory antagonist was, on the surface, big and bad. The Big Bad Wolf threatened to huff and puff and blow the poor little pigs’ houses down, creating a sense of urgency and disaster through intimidation.
We have seen it time and time again. “Detroit is going bankrupt sign! Sign the emergency consent agreement!” “Detroit is going to run out of cash next week!” “Detroit is going to have to lay off workers in a few days!” “This can only be prevented, if we (the citizens of Detroit) sign the dotted line,” as dictated by Detroit’s currently elected leadership. The mainstream media plays it up, helping to create the dramatic monologue and playing up disasters, over and over again. It is the same old movie viewed in 1933. Just like the “end of the world” comments in Rush Limbaugh’s “'We’re Doomed' If Obama Re-‐elected” article:
“If Obama’s re-‐elected, it will happen. There’s no if about this. And it’s gonna be ugly. It’s gonna be gut-‐wrenching, but it will happen. The country’s economy is going to collapse if Obama is re-‐ elected. I don’t know how long: a year and a half, two years, three years.” -‐ By Rush Limbaugh
Well, we are seeing the same tactics by Detroit’s political leadership. They are huffing and puffing and swearing publicly that the house is going to come down. But, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? “Not I,” said the little piggy. Nor should Detroit residents be, because we have been in a crisis for a very long time and it has not been managed. Detroit’s “fiscal cliff” is a result of failed leadership, leadership that should be connected to the community in its decision-‐making process, but is not— on both sides of the table.
"Detroit should go bankrupt," says the partner in the law firm of Plunkett Cooney. ". It would be a recognition that they've hit bottom, and it's a chance to go on the upswing. I don't think they're going to be stigmatized as much as people think—just like General Motors.”
—Attorney Douglas Bernstein, who makes a credible case for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in a Detroit News article by journalist Daniel Howes
We have been at the brink of bankruptcy for quite some time now. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that the Big Bad Wolf needs to be the bankruptcy judge. At least that way, special interests won’t be huffing and puffing and someone competent will be responsible for the eventual managed process.
"Otherwise, you're going to go down the path and be in one crisis after another. Yes, it's expensive and it should be a last resort. But at some point, you've had enough." By Attorney
Stop huffing and puffing, Big Bad Wolf, so we can demolish the house and build a new one that Detroiters can be proud of.
Besides, haven’t we heard this before from recent Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney? “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” Well, Mitt Romney, you might get your request.
Nonverbal Communication -‐ What People Tell You Without Saying Anything!
Are you ready for some action? Come on, give me your best shot! In The Matrix, actor Laurence Fishburne gave all the non-‐verbal signals that he was ready to do battle. The actor showed confidence, swagger, and technique, and he made direct eye contact with his opponent. These non-‐verbal characteristics are essential for entrepreneurs trying to make a sale, give a presentation, or communicate with an audience filled with business prospects.
Non-‐verbal communication is everything, but our use of words and numbers in written and verbal communication. Regardless of what we say or how we say it, our bodies and gestures tell a great deal about what we really feel, which is not necessarily what we say. In business, an entrepreneur’s body language—such as posture, stance, gestures, motions, facial expressions, eye contact, and use of personal space—helps determine how well a small business owner will engage a potential customer.
”The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.” —Peter F. Drucker
Have you ever felt like you were being hustled or had just met the salesman who
was going to try to seal you a bag of rocks? Have you seen the homeless man go from one person to another, using the same line with everyone he encounters, hoping to get a dollar or a few cents? When you looked at these people, no matter how good they sounded or how well they told their stories, their non-‐verbal presentations made you second-‐guess the sham. Perhaps, instead, you read someone’s resume for
a potential hire at your firm, but when you met your potential recruit face to face for the interview you found somebody who was shy, scared, nervous, and not confident in his or her experience and qualifications. All of these interactions can be seen as non-‐verbal negatives in communications.
It is not just what you say, it is how you say it. When an entrepreneur speaks with confidence, poise, power, strength, and conviction, people listen. Substance, however, must accompany these traits. We cannot use empty words or slick sales pitches in doing business. We have to be experts in our products, commodities, services or other chosen endeavors, while conveying that expertise in how we speak, dress, and deliver. This is the key to successful non-‐verbal communication.
Pay attention, and be sensitive to signals when people are talking. Look at people’s body language and hand gestures as they speak. Watch for sweating or nervous gestures. Be engaging, and if you are not sure of something, ask for clarification, just to make sure you are not incorrectly interpreting those non-‐verbals you are sensing.
Look for common body language and what it means when you are conducting business. You can tell a lot about a person just by paying close attention to non-‐ verbal communication. If someone is defensive, confrontational, reflective, suspicious, open, cooperative, insecure, or nervous, these characteristics will show in the conversation or presentation. What is most important is listening. Learning to observe and interpret non-‐verbal activity is key to successful communication and relationship building.
“But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.” —Abraham Maslow
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- Detroit Begins A New Chapter as Detroit Bankruptcy is Allowed to Proceed (1)
- Joyce Hayes Giles retires after 35 years with DTE (2)
- Sarah Palin accuses Obama of Libya ‘shuck and jive’ (1)
- Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy, pension cuts (2)
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