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Attorney Joe C. Hopkins is the publisher and editor of the Pasadena Journal and author of "I will Not Apologize."  For several years now, residents of the community have benefited from his insights about the dress and behavior of Black youth, the negative images of Black youth, the negative images of Blacks portrayed in the media, and how best to secure economic empowerment for the future of Black youth.

Which Way to Progress

joeA look at the local daily newspapers reveals the troubles in foreign places like China, Kenya, Iraq, Ukraine, Russia, and Israel. However, the stories reported about Blacks in America are of the death of Mike Brown, an unarmed young Black man in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of a trigger happy Policeman and another dead Black man, Eric Garner, in New York, killed by an illegal choke hold by police.

News stories of others include, Texas Governor Rick Perry who was indicted for demanding that a Democratic government official follow his orders. Perry joins Republican Governors like Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, who wants to destroy the right of citizens to organize in unions. Other Republican Governors, including Florida governor Rick Scott and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, have vetoed job-creating projects related to transportation in their states. Scott wants to restrict voting rights and restrict the rights of those who want to sue for medical fraud. That's ironic because he was the head of a medical corporation that was sued and ordered to pay a fine of 600 million dollars for their activities. Now he's running for re-election.

These stories makes it seem that the haves are concentrating on gaining more money and power while the poor are concentrating on getting a job to maintain their second class status. Donald Sterling calls us out of our name, and he loses money. Dr. Dre calls us out of our names in his music, and the power structure pays him big time. Following his change of status, he gets offered the key to the City of Compton, where he glorified a crime career for young Black men.

I wonder, what is the way to economic freedom and real power? Is it social service organizations, or business organizations, or some combination of both? Rick Scott, Rick Perry, and Chris Christie were all Lawyers before becoming politicians, and criminals. Now they can make their friends rich off government contracts and retire to go to work for the companies they made rich.

If you are poor and uneducated you can't get close to the rich businessmen and you can't do them favors that make them rich, so you stay poor and marvel at the riches they steal. If you are poor and get some money, you don't know how to spend it. Note that Scott and Perry first made their money as lawyers, then they got into politics. The key is that the poor spend their money and the rich invest theirs. The poor buy things, trying to tell the world they are rich, and the rich buy things that keep them rich such as income producing assets. One example is owning a piece of rental property. That's a great way to get started.

Watch out for things that get in the way of your progress like concentrating on movements or donating all your money or time to your people's struggles. Send some money to organizations like the NAACP. Give some time to the Urban League. Don't forget that God has ordered our steps, and we should act wisely with our gifts of time and talents and put something away for the next generation.

I once had an employee who went to a revival and heard a preacher with a great reputation. I asked her how it went. It turned out that when the preacher said to give and you will be blessed she gave every penny she had. Then she was broke. My mother taught me that when the preacher says give what you have to be blessed, remember that if you have something to give you have already been blessed.

Moderation is the watchword. Whether it's giving, acting or whatever. Moderation will get you further.

 

lettersEXPRESS YOUR THOUGHTS:

The Journal welcomes Letters to the Editor. Letters are accepted on space availability. Letters should be brief and must contain the writer's name and address (or e-mail address). Name may be withheld by request. The ideas and opinions expressed in letters printed here are freely expressed by the writer and may be contrary to the policy of the Journal News. Letters are edited for clarity and may be abbreviated due to space limitations. Write to: LETTERS, The JOURNAL NEWSPAPERS, 1541 N. Lake Avenue, Suite A, Pasadena, California 91104, or FAX to 626-798-3282, or contact us through this website.


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