I have frequently been angry, disappointed, disillusioned, and disgusted with the number of Black men whose lack of commitment, forthrightness and concern continues to impede the advancement of Black people across Allegheny County.
One of the few times in my 80 years, I took a month long hiatus from our Black problems. There was an occasion that I was in One Hope Center at 1901 Centre Ave. and happened to go the third floor to just congratulate Bill Generett on the acquisition of the $4 million grant in conjunction with a number of other organizations.
This was not the first time that Bill and I had talked, but this conversation lasted about two hours and it provided me with a golden opportunity to know how and what motivated him. His energy, ability and genuine concern for the people was apparent to me as I questioned him. I asked him about his background, family and academics. His response was he is 40 years old, married with two children, is an attorney licensed to practice in three states and is currently CEO of Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone. He explained to me that in Pittsburgh he found a people with a great degree of apathy, defeated attitude and almost no cohesiveness and it became his mission to resolve these problems and develop a method to enhance the growth of business.
I said to him, “Bill you carry yourself in a way that people view you as an everyday person and not stuck up.” His answer was simply that he was a respecter of people not positions and that he listens not only to board members but everyday people and respects the opinion of Barbara who is in charge of building security as much as any other individual.
I reflected on a speech that I made in Washington, D.C., a few years ago and I focused on that fact that those in the audience all had been expected to do well, not just financially but to give back.
Bill then said, “Mr. Hop you are speaking about me, [no brag just fact]. My father and mother as you know well were both professionals, and they provided me with love, understanding and all of the tangibles at their disposal and that is my foundation. There is another fact that you are not aware of, my grandparents on my father and mother’s side were college graduates and entrepreneurs, so I am one of those people you referred to that I was expected to do well. I understand completely what W.E.B. Dubois meant when he talked about the talented 10th, and those of us who perceive ourselves as such have a moral and mandatory right to meet our obligations.”
It was an enjoyable interview with Bill Generett. He epitomizes what I refer to as the four Cs—Commitment, Concern, Courage and Compassion.
Please remember Kingsley Association needs your financial help.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)