How you can help lead (and change) the world

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

I’m grateful that I am able to live and lead on purpose everyday as the CEO of L.E.A.D. Inc. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct). That is my why.

I was born and raised in the inner city of Atlanta. As a child, I dreamed of playing professional baseball for the Chicago Cubs and one day becoming a leader like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I watched a lot of Cubs games on television with my Grandfather in the summer. He liked them, so I liked them, too. As an Atlanta Public Schools (APS) student at Grove Park Elementary School in the 1980s, my Grandfather and I talked about Dr. King a lot. Dr. King was also an APS alum, graduating from Booker T. Washington High School.

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu

The Facts

• Atlanta Public Schools educates more than 51,927 students grades K-12 with approximately 26,398 being males
• 33.5 percent of Black males either will not graduate on time or at all
• Georgia ranks in the Top 5 in incarceration in America, while America ranks No. 1 in the world
• If you are born into poverty in Atlanta, you have a 4.5 percent chance of making it out

By the tens of thousands, Black males are trapped in generational poverty because of slavery, which was followed by racism that had been supported by government policy before they were ever born.

If this was your story, how could you get free if no one helped you?

The Atlanta Public Schools mission statement is as follows: With a caring culture of trust and collaboration, every student will graduate ready for college and career.

I love APS. Under the consequential leadership of Dr. Meria Carstarphen, the culture of APS has changed.

Among many reasons, L.E.A.D. partners with APS because we are committed to the development of Atlanta’s future leaders who are being educated in APS. It has been done before.

Here are some other good men that are APS alums who have led Atlanta and helped lead the world:

Truett Cathy
Donn Clendenon
Johnny Isakson
Maynard H. Jackson
Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.
Herman Russell

Our goals at L.E.A.D. are what drive us. By 2030, a U.S. Congressman will be a L.E.A.D. Ambassador. A L.E.A.D. Ambassador will lead a congregation of 15,000-plus church members. A L.E.A.D. Ambassador will be an Atlanta City Councilman, C-suite executive for an Atlanta based Fortune 100 Company, a chairman of the Atlanta Board of Education.

Photo by Rodney Cofield 
“Atlanta will never become a world-class City until hundreds of thousands of Black males are living a sustainable life of significance.” — C.J. Stewart

For 2019, I will teach our Ambassadors to gain an understanding of the word, bravado. I will also model it for them while mandating that they correct me immediately and consistently when I fail to lead appropriately.

Bravado is a noun that means pretentious; a swaggering display of courage.

Bravado may be perceived as a negative term, especially when attached to young Black males. Being pretentious is characterized by the assumption of dignity or importance, especially when exaggerated or undeserved.

• Are Black males in the inner city of Atlanta underserved?
• Can they escape a mindset of poverty with bravado?
• Do you have confidence that L.E.A.D. can teach and model bravado to our Ambassadors while it models it for thousands of others who live in their community?
• Would you be willing to make a special year-end donation of $50, $100, $500 or more? Or maybe you’d like to make a monthly recurring donation of $10, $20, $30 or more — no donation is too small.

L.E.A.D. vows to remove the gap between your donation and its impact.