October 10, 2016
WRITE TO BEAR ALMS
Halima and I had to have Bivian "Sonny" Lee, III on the podcast. He is the founder of Son of a Saint, a mentoring organization named as a tribute to Sonny's dad, late New Orleans Saints player Bivian "Sonny" Lee, Jr. Having lost his father when he was only three-years-old, Sonny saw the need to create an organization that provides guidance to young black males between the ages of nine and 13. Son of a Saint serves young men whose fathers have either passed away or have been incarcerated. The organization's work has been featured on CNN, NPR, Al Jazeera America, and Sonny earned a BET Award in 2015 for his work.
Halima wanted to get an idea of what motivates Sonny, why Son of a Saint is important, and what it takes to maintain the organization. Beyond mentoring from a diverse group of men, Son of a Saint provides mental health services, field trips, and other activities such as horseback riding. We even learn that there may be Son of a Texan in Houston and Son of a Cowboy in Dallas!
The real pleasure of having Sonny on the podcast, however, is what he and I have in common. We both graduated from St. Augustine High School and were both included on New Orleans Magazine's "30 People to Watch" list. I am even prouder that I am part of the St. Aug alumni chapter (DFW) that provided funding to pay the tuition of two Son of a Saint mentees.
October 2, 2016
Two radio interviews from back in the day that I remember fondly are conversations I had with David West, then of the New Orleans Hornets, and Soledad O'Brien. Both are from my days as the co-producer and contributor to WYLD-FM's "Sunday Journal".
Photo courtesy of Zimbio.com
My interview with David was actually done in 2009 at the spur of the moment. I saw him roaming the radio station hallways on the weekend and overheard him talking about what student athletes need to do prepare for college. I just had to capture his thoughts for what was then my monthly education segment.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
In 2011, Soledad was in New Orleans for FestiGals and she was preparing to release her memoir "The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities". I really appreciate how she put up with my shenanigans during the interview.
August 21, 2016
WRITE TO BEAR ALMS
In the spirit of Black Philanthropy Month, Halima and I continue our conversation about giving in the black community. Here, she gives her thoughts on how black organizations and institutions can be great stewards of donations and volunteering. Halima also talks about the advice she would give philanthropists as we revisit the spirit of Michael Jordan's donations.
More of Halima's thoughts on philanthropy:
August 14, 2016
WRITE TO BEAR ALMS
August is Black Philanthropy Month so we thought about a philanthropist whose donations made waves in July and August 2016--Michael Jordan. Some folks seem pretty vocal about the merits of his $1 million donations each to the International Association of the Chiefs of Police's Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. They have especially questioned his $5 million donation to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Well, dang, whose donation is it, anyway???
That's why it's cool to have an expert like Halima Leak Francis! In part one, she gives great insight about understanding how philanthropists give and what it means to give strategically.
By the way, check out more about fundraising and philanthropy on Halima's "Write to Bear Alms" segment and my interview with her for "The HBCU Lifestyle Podcast":
July 27, 2016
For most of my adult life, I was a hater. Hate to admit it but I was. This is my confession.
July 22, 2016
It's one of the coolest interviews I have ever had the pleasure of conducting. In 2010, I interviewed artist Voice Monet for the "Sunday Journal" Success Series segment. The smooth MC is the daughter of actor Lance Nichols whose throwback interview I featured for Episode 5 of the podcast. By the way, her new EP "Black Maria" will drop September 2016.
July 13, 2016
I can't take it anymore and I have to speak out:
The week of July 4, 2016 is a week that will live in infamy for this decade with the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers on consecutive days. Out of sheer frustration, I posted my wish for good people of all cultures to unite on my Facebook page but nothing beats saying the words.
It is my hope that you will join me in being a solution to our problem. Check out some of these events that brought people in the community together with law enforcement:
- Athens, Ga. Alpha Phi Alpha alumni chapter, local Masonic lodge, and NAACP branch sponsor "Black Lives Matter...A Conversation with Law Enforcement and Community Leaders"
- Southern California "Youth and the Law" forum sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi alumni, NOBLE chapters and the Associated Students Organization of Southwest College
- Dover Omega Psi Phi alumni chapter unites with Dover Police Department, Whatcoat United Methodist Church, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Dover, the National Organization Of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and members of the New Castle County, Wilmington, and Delaware State Police Departments for law enforcement-community forums
- Indianapolis Iota Phi Theta alumni chapter teams up with Indy area metro police for educational forum
- Northwest Missouri State Phi Beta Sigma chapter teams up with university police department to bridge gap between police and students
Main image: Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus and Black Lives Matter rally participant, courtesy of Richmond Pulse
June 18, 2016
African American fraternities and sororities, particularly the Divine Nine, played a major role in diversifying leadership in America in the early 20th Century. Since that time, thousands of African Americans have benefited from this powerful network by providing social capital that would boost communities of color. In my Black Greek Success segment, I invited a social capital expert to join the podcast.
Froswa' Booker-Drew, Ph.D. is a very cool friend of Halima's and mine. She has done research on social capital in communities of color as well as research on relationship based on Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey's book "Immunity to Change".
Since Froswa' is a fellow Black Greek--a sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha--I thought it would be interesting to chat about how social capital works among members of African-American fraternities and sororities as well as members of the HBCU community.
The insight is as plain as the nose on our faces but takes more work than a lot of us may be willing to do.
June 11, 2016
WRITE TO BEAR ALMS
In 2016, the A-WOW
World Summit returns to the U.S. Halima, being the fantastic giving professional she is, was a guest workshop presenter at the 2015 summit. She shared her experience with her "Write to Bear Alms" radio audience in August 2015 on Radio Azad.
This edition features Halima's inspirational commentary about how these dynamic young women seek to be catalysts of change in health, education, and legal justice. She talks about seeing the light bulbs go off in the participants about using collaboration, petitions, and social media to be world changers.
A-WOW Global Initiative is an organization committed to leadership development and enhancing cultural and socio-psychological change through interactions among diverse cultures in parts of Africa, Latin America, and the U.S.