HARNESSING POTENTIAL: HOW TO UTILIZE THE MINDS OF POOR COMMUNITIES

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“A dream deferred.”


the ghetto

America’s inner cities have long been known for crime and poverty. But they were not always like that in this country. At one point in time the neighborhoods were communities where even gangs weren’t the vigilant criminal element they are now. But what about the lost talent that exist in these environments? What about all the young people who had so much to give, but turned to an ugly way of life to survive? People who could have been CEO’s of multinational organizations turned to drugs and became kingpins.

untapped talent

The inner cities are famous for turning out countless athletes and entertainers. But what about the wave of engineers and business executives throughout the communities. Because when you look at a young man who turned to crime and managed to operate a $10 million to $100 million plus crime syndicate, imagine if that mind was cultivated for good. What could that same young become if he grew up in an environment like a Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Investing in the great mind of the youth could spur out an entirely new industry, or further grow an existing one.

who is capable of what

How do you know who is capable of what in life? And answer to that question is, you don’t know. It’s very hard to understand who has the skills to do what until they step into the real world. But the problem with so many young men and women in poor communities is that they get in  trouble before you can tap the talent. And the talent you see in the crime can’t be parlayed into something because they’re facing big jail time. So what you have to do is create better programs in these environments that will cultivate these great minds. Because the time they spend in jail could actually mean time spent building something great in America.


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THE HOUSING AUTHORITY: IS IT TIME TO REMOVE THEM FROM THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE

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“Should they stay or should they go?”


the PJ’s

During the 1960’s, the housing act was enacted, and the mass development of public housing projects were built throughout the country. Countless families were placed into these developments where they would spend the next decades trying to break out. and not trying to break out because of the projects themselves. But more so from the crime that plagued them as time progressed.

racial breakdown

When observing the landscape of the housing authority across the country, you can’t help but to notice they are largely African American and poor. And the reasons behind why the demographics are such is subject to debate. But you also see a blend of Latino families, very few Asians and little to no White men and women. And this has been the face for quite some time. Exceptions would be the Carbini Green towers and row houses in Chicago that were Italian, then became Black.

removal of the people

If you’ve been watching over the past years, (at least for those living near projects) there is an attempt to remove the people. And I don’t mean to relocate them to better housing. I am talking about moving them into different neighborhoods so the current land can be built into mixed commercial and residential living. But you can’t just move the people out of their homes.So what do you do, you make the stay highly unpleasant. Force them out by way o making it impossible to live in the conditions.

overcome and triumph

There have been plenty of success stories about men and women who have come from these various areas. They have become well-known athletes, entertainers, doctors, engineers, educators, and politicians. But the odds are so low when looking at the numbers. Because chances are your child born into the projects will raise their children here as well.


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BROKE MAN’S MENTALITY: WHY PEOPLE COMING FROM POOR COMMUNITIES STAY POOR

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“How do you know, if you don’t know?”


urban economics

When you look at the landscape of the United States and the way the economics is broken down, you can’t help but to acknowledge the poverty of America. We have so much wealth and yet it’s in the hands of very few people in this country. But there are the success stories of people who come from poverty into prosperity. And they tend to live out their lives in prosperity.

But why do so many people make money and go back into poverty. Or better yet, why don’t most make it out of poverty?

the know

As a man who comes from the poverty level, I can tell you first hand that it’s a lot harder than just a bootstrap viewpoint. There are many parts to making it out of poverty. You have to be in the right schools, good home life, an innate ability to get things done, and a little bit of luck never hurt. All of these parts added up is what must happen to remove yourself from poverty.

But you have to also acknowledge another aspect of poverty. And that is that people who are poor tend to handle money in a very irresponsible manner as well.

living the life

I remember one day walking down the street here in New York City, and seeing two guys make an expensive purchase of a good from a high end retail store. But then they walked into a housing project. And it had me thinking, why are you spending thousands of dollars on clothes and living in public housing. And it has to do with not knowing how to utilize your dollars.

How do you spend a thousand dollars on a pair of shoes on Madison Avenue (NYC’s Rodeo Drive), and your living arrangements are poor. I have also seen luxury vehicles in parking lots of housing projects, yet Toyota, Dodge, Ford, and Nissan in the posh Upper East Side. It’s that being poor is tough enough, so people overcompensate so they don’t have to look poor.

But what it does is take you down an even darker road into debt.

poverty level

The below chart is of the breakdown for what is a household poverty income in 2018. The chart can be found on the Needy Meds website.

remove yourself

How do you keep yourself from being the person in the group of poor thinkers. Because when I get paid from work the first thought in my mind is paying bills. Some people think I need to go shopping at a retail store for goods. And there lies a portion of the problem, the mindset. Most people don’t think they have a mind for poverty, but they do. being born into wealth helps, but a mindset for building helps a lot. Problem is, everyone is not intuitive people.


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UTILIZING LAND: PAYING UNUSED LAND OWNERS IN POOR COUNTRIES TO GROW CROP

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“We feed more for less, and build a nation in the process.”


The Working Poor

We are living in a modern civilization, yet we still have so many nations around the world that are underdeveloped. These are countries where populations still live like people did few hundred years ago. Countries that extend from African nations, throughout Asia, and across the Pacific Ocean to the Americas. Even though the United States has a poverty level, we still are in a country where you can elevate from poverty to a better life. In some nations, you are born poor and that’s it for you. Now, my question for the topic today is, “Can we lease lands in these poor nations to grow a multitude of crop, lower the cost of fruits and vegetables, yet bring a nation up in the process.

Fertile Land Not In Use

So much land in the world is not in use that could be used for growing crops. And what must be done so that this land can be utilized? This is not the 1300’s when people used to ride on horseback and take land. There are governmental measures in place where things cannot happen. Which is another reason for the holdup of using land for growing. But, let’s say for instance we are able to work around the bureaucracy that is the systems of the world. What can be done with the land we have on Earth that no one uses? The graph below shows how much land we use as humans on Earth. And a lot of that land is in these underdeveloped countries. As for land that can be used to farm, the majority is concentrated in the Americas and Africa.

Subsidy For Farmers – Africa

Africa is a place that could grow crop in mass for business. And for some reason, the governments are not utilizing enough of this land. What could work is the government creating a subsidy program for people to grow their own crops and sell outward. Meaning, those who qualify, would be able to grow crop and those that want to conduct in business could reach out for a chain of commerce. For example, there is a designated amount of land for farming. Qualifying people who can contribute to the nation, that show they have the skill to do so, could farm. Now granted, a lot of these individuals are poor, the government could lease out this land to those with the best skills. So as they make money, they pay the government out the pot. And in order to generate revenues, for themselves, sell harvest to nations like the United States. You would decrease poverty by creating jobs in these countries, and America could lower the cost to our own consumers. Because with the world heading in the direction it’s going, people are running out of land, and their sights are set on these nations. And if Africa won’t use it, these countries will, to build their own nations.


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FIGHTING THE WRONG FIGHT: DO WE AS BLACK PEOPLE PROTEST THE WRONG EFFORTS

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“What should we really stand up for?”


Since the NFL players have stood together in solidarity over not only police brutality, but President Trumps choice of words, it has me thinking about what we really should be protesting. Police brutality effects the Black community, but what are the bigger concerns. Should we stay strong with this protest, or redirect our focus elsewhere? Because if you look at the community, police brutality is actually not the biggest concern. The education system is of major concern, healthcare in the community, and the biggest would have to be employment. So why is so much of our time devoted to making sure NFL player Colin Kaepernick is eligible for the NFL? Well, given those issues we should be focused on, why are they more important?

In regards to education, we should focus on this topic because when you look at the Black community, you’re talking about a lot of poor people. And when you’re looking at public education, you’re generally pulling from the taxpayers in the area. So when the taxpayers are living below the poverty level, then you have children receiving poor education. And if the education is poor, what is the use of sending the children to school. It seems pretty counterproductive because even when they graduate, what college can they really get into. So, maybe the right thing to do is for Black communities to pool finances and create educational opportunities from within. Because this pulling from the taxpayers is not going to cut it. There is just not enough the system is doling out to the younger generation. And with our spending power of approximately $2.5 trillion, why not?

Well, what about healthcare in the Black community. There are so many health concerns when observing the community, and a lot of it comes from the food choices in the environment. Everywhere you turn there is a fast food restaurant. I live in Harlem, New York, and you have fried food establishments in every block throughout the neighborhood. You don’t have enough healthy choices especially for the younger age group that serves as an alternative to junk food. But when you are poor, the fast food selections are what you can afford. So going to a McDonald’s eating off the $1 menu is cost effective. But, on top of the bad food in the community, there are non food related illnesses as well that effect our community more than anyone else and finding adequate care has always and continues to be problematic.

Yet the biggest concern in the Black community are jobs. And that word job is such an ambiguous word, but looking cross all industries, it’s shocking how much we are still on the bottom. Even comparable to groups that numbers are smaller than ours. Like I said earlier, we are $2.5 trillion of American spending in this country, and the fact that we are so high on the unemployment scale is beyond me. Our dollars some of the most valuable in the world, but we are some of the economically poorest group in the world. And a lot of that has to do with spending outward and in not inward. Our dollars leave our pockets and travel into other pockets, while that same one dollar elsewhere circulates in another group’s community multiple times before leaving. And in the end these are the primary focuses of the community. Sports is good and all, but if you want to make an even bigger impact on the community it starts in these key areas.


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INNER CITY GOLD: WHY INVESTING IN THE COMMUNITY IS WORTH THE DOLLAR

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“Making out or make it out of something.”


Growing up in the inner city, you have these goals of what most would say, “Making it out the hood.” But have you ever stopped to think to make the hood out of something good? And why do so many of us as African Americans attain wealth and then flee these poor environments. Well, for starters, it has to do with how anyone else in America growing up with humble beginnings views this country. You want to have that American dream: the colonial style house, two car garage, the boy and girl, the cat and dog, with the husband and wife. This image has been the face of our nation for so long, that is the foundation for what is considered the good life. Another reason Black people seek to make it out the ghettos of America is because of the disproportionate numbers of violent crime that exist in the community.

What’s crazy about the numbers of crime is that the criminal element only constitutes a small percent of the community; maybe less than 10% of the total population. So even in low income housing projects, you might have a population of 2,500 to well over 5,000 in some housing developments. And the criminal element is between 5% – 7%, maybe in some places 10%. So you’re talking 125 -175 people in the low populated housing, and 250 – 350 in the high populated projects that are the worst of the worst. So something so small becomes major when living in these environments; and on top of it all poverty. It’s a perfect recipe for disaster in a community. Yet, is there anything that is of salvageable value that is in the community so that it can be uplifted from poverty. Because right now, you have a lot of people living so much off the tax payers dime.

And the answer is yes, there is something of value that is salvageable; the children. Yes, that’s right, the kids. Investing in the future generations is a great way to change the landscape of any poor community. Because once you invest in the minds of the young, they will have it hard-wired in their minds the intellectual capital to build and reshape a community. We say in the community that we need jobs, but if you invest in the young, that will get built. There is this place in Harlem called the Harriet Tubman Learning Center that caters to the community as a school. Schools like this or the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy built in the neighborhood base around aiding poverty stricken families with workshops for parents learning facilities for children. These places are based around cultivating learning in a young generation which will re-contextualize the way they see society.

And when your mind opens up to changes and all the possibilities you can’t go back to what you used to know. In the end, you always hear what can the government do to fix issues in the community, and that really is nothing much. Yes, there are still kids who go to public schools that are underfunded and overpopulated that could use help. But a lot of the major problems has to be something that starts internal. The community has to figure out a way to deal because Black people are $2 – $3 trillion of America’s economy. The fact that our communities are in the shape they’re in yet we have some of the top spending power in the world is beyond me. #FUTUREGENERATIONS


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ONE BAD DAY AWAY: HOW LIVING PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK IS BIGGER THAN JUST MONEY

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“Pay check Friday, gone by Saturday, back broke by Monday.”


For me growing up in a household with a working poor mother, it was tough watching her struggle. One sick day, one missed pay period, and we could have been one of those families in a homeless shelter. What do you do when you’re living a life that feels like all hope is gone? When you look forward to the end of the day before the beginning even starts. That is the feeling of so many people in America. But living paycheck to paycheck is more than just a financial strain. It’s an emotional strain that causes more issues than not having money. People who are living poor generally have lower self-esteem, lower confidence, poor health, and their mental instability is typically higher. So what happens that places a person in these types of conditions?

Well, for me, I have a mother and father that both grew up poor and both their parents grew up poor. And that’s when you realize that poverty in America is more than just not having a job and not being able to get a job. It’s not the idea that people are lazy or don’t care about their futures. Poverty in America is generational; with every passing generation, you notice times get rougher and rougher. At least when my mother and father were young, there was a sense of community. In today’s society there is no community in the poor communities. You don’t even have the support of your family in life. So you almost have to cross your fingers and hope for the best. And if you fall, it’s not too hard of a fall that you can’t recover.

Another reason people live in poverty in America, is that there are so many people not in the know. And the know, is all the pieces coming together with all your knowledge to make your life make sense. And if you are not skilled enough to make your life make sense, then you cannot rise above where you are in life. Even with a good education, which helps, you still have to be able to put yourself in the know. Because a college degree is the icing on a cake, not any of the ingredients to make that cake. The ingredients come from you, and most people don’t know how to bake their success cake. They look at success like a fast food restaurant, “Just show me how to work the fries, and then I’m off to the races making big bucks.” It’s not that easy; it takes the elements that are skills, smarts, hard work, and some luck.

And in the end, when observing some of the prior elements of success, so many just don’t have in them. And if they do have these elements, they are totally unaware as to how to get the elements working for themselves. So they will live their entire lives not achieving anything remotely close to even an idea of success.


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