Tied to Greatness.

Tied to Greatness.

I was honored to speak on a panel to over 150 high school boys, primarily African American, gathered at the University of Saint Thomas’ John Roach Auditorium as part of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Empower Me Tour today. Our topic: Mastering the Power of Your Image and Manhood to Achieve Success. Our first question to the gathered young men, “how many of you know how to tie a necktie? Guess what, yawl gon’ learn TODAY.”  The necktie has such important symbolism, we wanted to show the boys that in a literal sense, a shirt and tie are important tools for shaping your image going forward. IMG_5530More importantly,  it’s a symbol of your connection, a tie to your past and our heritage of greatness; we’re bonded forever by our commitment to each other. We didn’t leave until every young man in the room knew how to tie a neck tie.

As co-chair of the UNCF’s Minnesota campaign for the next two years,  I’m excited to help the most needy of students get TO and Through college.  In Minnesota alone the UNCF awards over $1 Million a year in scholarships to local students.  As a UNCF member college alum, Clark-Atlanta University, I know first hand how important UNCF’s work is; I would not have been able to attend college without its support.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities represent only 3% of the nations colleges but produce nearly 20% of all African Americans who obtain a bachelors degree; there isn’t an educational system in the world that can compare. Recently the New York Times featured one of our member colleges, Xavier University, which sends more African American students to medical school then any other school in the country. Click below to learn more, and please give to the UNCF at uncf.org

New York Times Magazine article

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Dean Phillips named to Clinton Minnesota Leadership Team

Dean Phillips named to Clinton Minnesota Leadership Team

Congrats @Dean Phillips on being named to the Clinton Minnesota Campaign  Leadership team.

View Clinton Minnesota Leadership Team Here

TED Talk: Thoughtful discussions about race in America

TED Talk: Thoughtful discussions about race in America

Race is a subject people rarely want to talk about, these TED talks explore race in America in a thoughtful, honest and unflinching manner.

“when we say that black lives matter, it’s not because others don’t, it’s simply Unknownbecause we must affirm that we are worthy of existing without fear, when so many things are telling us we are not”.  – Clint Smith

TED Talks on Race in America- Click Here

Fathers & Daughters

My daughter is the perfect reflection of me. My son looks like me, but my daughter IS me. Everything about her reminds me of myself at her age; reserved, aware, contemplative and earnest.

It’s odd how as a father I parent my two kids differently. With my son I’m challenging, tough, firm and authoritative. With my daughter, well let’s just say I’m “putty”. If you really want to know a man, to truly understand him at his essence, watch him around his daughter(s). He can be the hardest,IMG_4009 most cold hearted thug in the world, but with his daughter he’s kind, thoughtful, considerate, and understanding. Why is that?

My theory is that when fathering a boy, we try to steer him, make him strong and tough and he’ll be okay. We encourage him to hide his vulnerabilities and never show weakness or fear; “man up” is a common refrain.

With our daughters we’re in touch with all those emotions  society tells us we shouldn’t be . You can be vulnerable, fearful anxious, and even moved to tears because of your daughter. I talk with dads all the time about this, and to a man, we all want to put a “forcefield” or build a protective glass case around our daughters. Remember the scene in the movie “Clueless” when the really cool dude shows up to take Alicia Silverstone’s character Cher out on a date and the father says, “I have a gun and a shovel; I doubt anyone would miss you”.  Another of my favorites is from the film Bad Boys 2, when Will Smith says to a terrified teenage boy who is about to take his niece out on a date; (waving a gun in the air) “I ain’t afraid to go BACK to jail”. Classic!

With our daughters we seek to keep them close and away from boys (like us). We share little about our daughters, except her accomplishments; mostly because to do so would be to expose our own vulnerabilities. It’s true, try this next time you’re around a guy with a son and daughter. The conversation may go something like this:

You: hey man your son is getting so big and handsome

Father: yeah thanks, I appreciate that, but he better learn to clean up his room and keep them grades up, or me and him gonna lock horns.

You: and your daughter, my goodness, she’s so beautiful

Father: aw, thank you, and did you know she was captain of the track and volleyball teams, is starring in the spring musical, got accepted to Harvard by the 8th grade, and volunteered at a homeless shelter for a month after school?  She has no flaws and can do no wrong.IMG_0354

Fellas am I right? To keep it all the way real, she is our perfect reflection so indulge us.