(BALTIMORE – January 1, 2020) – I often look for “silver linings” in the stories I write. What is clear to me is “the universe talks to me.” What do I mean by this? I am sometimes drawn to places and people for inextricable reasons. I have learned not to make sense of the why, but to except what “the universe” tries to deliver. Meaning “I have to listen.”
The Black Diaspora covers vast regions, with varied outcomes (good and bad), and the ability to shape a broader world with its innovations and peculiarities. It has always been difficult to synthesize what rises to the top.
So, let me get to a couple of things you have heard me say before: If you don’t like my list, make up your own. I watch pop-culture, politics, historical trends, and people you may not have heard of. I can easily expand the list, but I am not going to do that. While I am east coast based in the United States, I have a much broader focus.
Go ahead and criticize if you must. I’m a big boy/dude. You won’t be the first and you won’t be the last. So here goes.
The technology investor, who received an honorary doctorate from the HBCU, made a surprise announcement during the institution’s Sunday morning commencement. “On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” he said during his speech. “This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.” The gift has been estimated to be worth up to $40 million.
It took a minute for it to sink in…and then jubilation. I can’t tell you what student debt does to those who attended college. I just wish more people would step up and remember what a gift education is to the future. FYI, he’s likely to be flooded with requests to speak in 2020.
Person of the Year – Dr. Marshall Sheppard
I have known Dr. Sheppard for over 20 years, and he is a man of science. In his past life he was in charge of weather for NASA (greenlit most of the Space Shuttle launches in the 80s). Currently, he teaches at the University of Georgia and is on the Board of Visitors at the school. Recently, I had a chance to hear him speak. Dr. Sheppard related Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham” with environmental justice.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail.
“I do science, I don’t do opinion or what I think,” a refreshing approach in a world where science/scientists are being discounted for their work. The meteorologist has had to fight with people online who think they know more or don’t have a science degree (let alone a Ph.D.). What’s super cool he isn’t to full of himself (He tells jokes about his work and himself.).
You can see Dr. Sheppard on the Weather Channel as the host of “The Weather Geeks” or read his musings in Forbes online.