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The “Business and Building” Mixer Speaker List

For approximately a month now we have been announcing those who will be speaking at the “Business and Building” Mixer at the Frederick Douglass Museum on October 28th. We hope that it is apparent that our lineup is a diverse one – not only in terms of ideology and worldview, but also in terms of discipline and function. In seeking to evolve our community from information and education onward toward more action, we recognize the value of not only diverse ideas and points of view, but also the variety of functions that exist in an organization and how the specialization of labor is necessary to the development of systems that sustain a body.

The purpose of having speakers at our Mixer is not so that those who register and attend can ‘hear’ or ‘listen to’ experts and leaders. Our purpose is three-fold. First we have invited speakers to offer words of wisdom and insight that will inform our Attendees as they move into the work of Dialogue over selecting Initiatives in one of four areas: International Affairs, Business and Investment, Political Action, and Community Development. Second, it is to place those who have been foremost in various areas, issues and fields, and who have had unique experiences in the same room, in one-on-one or informal group settings with those who will be working on and experiencing the same in the near future - the purpose being for us to learn from those who are most active or who have learned powerful Lessons that will inform our work. And third, and finally, it is to get Members of our Community comfortable with engaging one another and others who may or may not agree with them, yet are needed or have something to offer for the benefit of the masses of our people.

Each of our speakers has 15-minutes to speak and 10 minutes to take questions, and all of them have not only agreed to do so, but also enthusiastically look forward to ‘mixing’ and mingling with our Attendees.

That having been said, and provided as some of the context and motivation for our Mixer, here, in alphabetic order, is a brief comment on each of the speakers that we are so honored to have joing us:

Ras Baraka: I met Ras Baraka 13 years ago, when I was invited, as a college student, to speak at the public school he was teaching at in Newark, New Jersey. He was powerful then, and the same is true now. With a heart full of love for his people, I have seen and known Ras to work on every problem imaginable in the community – the quality of education, gang or street organization’ violence and reform, the cultivation of the Hip-Hop community, and City Hall politics. What else would you expect from a public school teacher, artist, City Council Member, and Deputy Mayor in the city of Newark, New Jersey? With Mr. Baraka present our Attendees have an opportunity to build with someone whose life, everyday, is focused on the rewarding but dangerous and difficult work of community development.

Kelvin Boston: All I have to ask is, “Do you know that Brother on TV who talks about money and business and always wears the bow tie?” and everyone seems to be familiar with Kelvin Boston, arguably the most consistent and visible voice on personal finance, entrepreneurship, and investment in Black America over the last two decades. His programs, on BET, PBS and Armed Forces Television have reached over 100 million households and homes. The host of “Moneywise with Kelvin Boston” has the background, the experience and the insight to take our people deeper into the science of business, which will be increasingly important in coming years. For our Attendees, he provides a wealth of wisdom and inspiration for those of us seeking to create wealth and do for self.

Reuven Brenner: What else can you say about the man that 1999 Noble Prize Economist Robert Mundell has called, ‘the best economist in the world?’ Well, you can say that he is nothing like many in his profession. Reuven Brenner’s thinking and personality is as down-to-earth as it gets, and it informs his view of entrepreneurship and risk-taking from the perspective of history, ethnicity, and human nature. I don’t know anyone whose mind is as incisive in analyzing a business opportunity or as creative in proposing one. In Reuven Brenner, our Attendees have an opportunity to build and talk business with one of the few economists who appreciates the impact that politics, art, culture, and technology have on their field. In that sense, he is a true scientist.

Rosa Clemente: She is the purest activist on the scene with the background, heart and portfolio to address two of the most pressing issues that are before us: Black and Latino relations, and the political and conscious evolution of Hip-Hop culture. Doing the work that many only talk about or romanticize over, Rosa Clemente has just launched the “Black and Brown Power Unity Tour” which features herself, M1 of Dead Prez, artist, organizer and entrepreneur Immortal Technique, Jennifer “J-Love” Calderon and others. In Ms. Clemente, our Attendees have the opportunity to hear the perspective of activism that is political informed and culturally relevant.

Dr. Steve Hanke: Read Our Interview With Him in 2000. This man single-handedly battled the IMF (and other alphabet institutions) in a fight to save Indonesia’s currency, the rupiah. But this isn’t your everyday ‘freedom fighter,’ nor is the Professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University the typical academic who writes, and thinks, more than he practices and does. Dr. Hanke, does business, and quite well. In 1986 he was the first to predict that oil would go under $10 a barrel. In 1993 he led the world again, calling the fall of the French Franc. And in 1995 he ran the world’s best performing Emerging Market Mutual Fund, up 79%. He has been called upon by governments, presidents, corporations and commissions to provide his expertise on exchange rates, currency regimes, financial markets, and public finance. In Dr. Hanke, our Attendees gain access to a man with courage to take on the most powerful and wealthy while successfully doing business himself.

Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney: When I suggested a title for Rep. McKinney’s address to our gathering, Cynthia responded that my title was a bit drab. She offered, “Mix It Up With Cynthia McKinney at the Mixer!” There may be no better person to have at your party. Congresswoman McKinney is informed, passionate, experienced and progressive, and the best one-on-one campaigner I have ever seen. She also is a trailblazer in the world of politics, and as America’s Premier Black progressive, the future of the Georgia-native may be even brighter as she exits the United States Congress. In Ms. Cynthia McKinney, our Attendees have the opportunity to build with a courageous politician whose rare insight into the legislative and electoral process is only second to her compassion for suffering people all over the world, and commitment to justice.

Armstrong Williams. He is the O.G. of the most recent era of Black Conservatism. There would be none of the others had he not come first and blazed the trail. What many don’t understand is that Armstrong Williams did not put on Conservatism and the Republican Party like a winter coat, as some have. He inherited it. Mr. Williams comes from a Black family generations deep in the Party of Lincoln. And he is more than an ideological columnist or blogger, he is an entrepreneur with his own radio program, has owned a TV network, and successful PR firm. Armstrong Williams’ close encounters with those in power have not come without setbacks and mistakes as the recent controversy over his acceptance of $250,000 from the Bush administration to promote an educational program and settlement makes clear. But Armstrong, true to form, has embraced the experience as a lesson learned. In Mr. Williams, Attendees have the chance to build with one of the most controversial figures in Black America and weigh his integrity, motivation and thinking for themselves.


The Mixer is the rare interactive event that aims not only to be fun and informative but also transforming in the dynamics of bringing concerned and sober people together to learn from, challenge, and network with one another, not through the safe confines of a computer screen or telephone, but through direct engagement - face-to-face, one-on-one and in small groups.

We hope that you will see the value of this experience and join us.

It is an important part of evolving our community from information and education, and toward action.


You can register for the “Business and Building” Weekend and the Mixer today at:

Note: Please Remember There Are Only Advance Ticket Sales For This Event.

Cedric Muhammad

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

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The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

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