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In 1997 in my capacity of Director of Allegheny County MBE there was a meeting convened at the Allegheny County Airport about the non-existence of contracts being awarded to Blacks. We opened the meeting by asking the person in charge why were Blacks not awarded contracts? His direct response was that he did not find Black contractors to be reliable or trustworthy.

The racist answer provoked instant chaos and that is putting it mildly. However it was a perfect example of others defining Black persons. We were in a position to define us to these misguided persons and did it so well that in the following 90 days a Black corporation was awarded a mega multiple six-figure contract.

It is imperative that we understand our history well enough that we can adequately define ourselves. Our history did not originate from slavery, but from kings and queens in Africa. We must instill in ourselves and our children that there is nothing that we can’t accomplish, instill in our families a sense of self worth, that richness is not materialism, but family, friends and good health. There should not be any factor in our lives more important than family. Everybody can’t become a chief, but let us focus on responsibility and the understanding that the individual can truly grow into “I am somebody”.

(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum page.)

 

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