Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kwanzaa: Kuumba ('Creativity')

Habari Gani? Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah)!
Day 6.  December 31

Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.

I don't consider myself to be 'creative' in the normal sense.  I haven't written many poems in my life.  I don't create original artwork of any kind.  I don't create my own songs.   I imagine that I'm not unlike many of you.  I suspect that many of you join me in feeling confined in the roles we play, expected to conform to the expectations of others.

However, God gave each of us 'wings' on which to fly our personal journey.  Caged, we can do little more than flutter those heavenly wings in frustration.  We must sing to give vent to our misery, to express ourselves and to create beauty in our own world.

We all need to find outlets for our stifled selves.  In the act of creating, we enter an almost meditative state where our troubles cease to exist and our spirit heals and fortifies.

Painting, playing an instrument, or writing a poem my readily occur to us as means of creative expression, but so are blogging, gardening, cooking, or quilting -- whatever appeals to our individual natures.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this sixth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Kuumba'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to allow our creative natures to breathe a little more.  Perhaps it is time for each of us to allow the caged bird inside of ourselves to sing ... to fly.

On this day, I will do something artfully.  I will write a letter, make a pencil sketch, or just rearrange one of my rooms in a different way.

Those are my thoughts about Kuumba. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Kuumba comes to mind?


Friday, December 30, 2016

Kwanzaa: Nia ('Purpose')

Habari Gani? Nia!
Day 5, December 30

To make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Can any hill stand between you and your beloved? No. Especially if it is your purpose or goal to be with that person. Of course, there are hills in life. Heck, sometimes there are mountains. But when life is good, it seems like there are no hills. Why? Because, like a baby driven to walk, we are undeterred by the obstacles between us and our goal.

African Americans have certainly had our share of disappointments and setbacks. But, we have learned that when we are really focused, nothing can hold us back. When we believe that our goal is worth and that we are worthy to achieve it, we are more than halfway there. We need only plant our feet on the road and keep moving forward.

Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fifth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Nia'! Perhaps it is time ... as we prepare for a new year ... to set written goals for all of the areas of our life: family, financial, health and spiritual. If not now, when? We can always do more to set and seek out specific goals in life, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed.

On this day, I will do at least one thing that will help me accomplish one of my goals.

Those are my thoughts about Nia. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Nia comes to mind?


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Kwanzaa: Ujamaa ('Cooperative Economics')

Habari Gani? Ujamaa!

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them.

Cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies. Did you know that 95% of all earnings in the Black community ends up in the hands of non-Black people? Is it any wonder that when one community has $1.95 and our community has a nickel ... that one community is more respected by local government; has better police relations; has better schools; has better economic outcomes? Perhaps it is time for us to celebrate this fourth principle of the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujamaa'!

We can always do more to support our people, because we all benefit when our brothers and sisters succeed. If it means going a block farther to a Black-owned store, let's do it. And if the quality of the merchandise or service disappoints us, let's communicate that to the owner so we give her every chance to rectify the situation and count on us as a permanent customer.

Let's buy books and albums by African Americans, and go to movies by African American directors. Remember the simple saying, "Put your money where your mouth is." Let's show support, and not decry the lack of it.

Those are my thoughts about Ujamaa. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when Ujamaa comes to mind?


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kwanzaa: Ujima ('Collective Work and Responsiblity')

Habari Gani? Ujima!

To come together to build and maintain our communities.

None of us walks alone. Especially in the Black community. We need to realize that we stand on the shoulders of others. Celebrating the Nguzo Saba principle, 'Ujima', gives us a chance to reflect on those that helped us reach our current platform. We can pay homage to our parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, colleagues or others that came into our lives. Nubians in America should also lift up in praise those African Americans that came ... some were lost ... so that we might have the freedoms we enjoy today.
In other words villagers ... let's be proud of our accomplishments. We earned the right to be proud. However, let's also remember that our accomplishments may never have happened without the help of others struggling before us. Now, we must pay it forward. We must reach back, down or across to others to help them on their journey.

Those are my thoughts about Ujima. Please take a moment to join this online Kwanzaa celebration with me. What do you think when the Ujima comes to mind?


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Ryan Dale Uses His Johnson & Johnson Scholarship at University of Louisiana

Ryan Dale * JnJ Scholar
BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) is proud to announce that Johnson & Johnson awarded a $2,500 college scholarship to ten (10) students. One of those students is Ryan Dale of University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He will use the scholarship funding to support his education in Informatics.

Ryan's concentration is in Systems Administration and he has a minor in Business. Ryan has been training in martial arts (mainly TaeKwonDo) since he was six years old. He started working at my martial arts school at age fifteen and have been working at multiple martial arts schools ever since. He also owns a small business that is a social venture based on spreading the power of positivity through martial arts tricking: an acrobatic form of movement including aspects from martial arts, gymnastics, dance and other disciplines.

After completing his second summer internship with GE, he signed on to start with their Digital Technology Leadership Program. Ryan looks forward to the rotational and leadership opportunities this program presents to him. He plans on taking on both technical and project management-­type assignments. After graduating from the program, he plans on finding a location to settle down in and become a project manager and eventually work my way up to a CIO position or something like it.

When asked to share his thoughts on BDPA,

Organizations like BDPA are key in a fast-paced field such as technology because they bring together bright minds from all over for one cause. In a world filled with globalization around every corner, organizations that support ideas and innovations are the glue that helps hold the industry together. Education and networking are so important throughout a person’s career and being a part of BDPA provides opportunities to grow and develop through so many outlets.
My favorite memory could perhaps be characterized as being quite recursive. This scholarship that was awarded to me with Johnson & Johnson shows me the incredible opportunities available to those who get out there and shoot for them. Not only are the opportunities important, but the companies and organizations that back those opportunities, such as Johnson & Johnson and BDPA, are so important when it comes to recruitment and retention in the technology field. I find it inspiring and I plan on giving back as well when I am settled into my career. This vote of confidence has made that much of an impact on me and I am extremely grateful for it.

BDPA is blessed to have such a young and talented student on board as BDPA student member and a winner of the Johnson & Johnson Scholarship. We look forward to supporting Ryan's career as he seeks to advance in the technology industry!

Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia ('Self-Determination')

Habari Gani? Kujichagulia!

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

The second principle in the Nguzo Saba calls for us to spend less time worried about what 'THEY' are thinking and more time focused on our own decisions. We can't waste our time trying to live up to the expectations of others. We must value the importance of our own personal goals. How are we living up to our own inner compass of what is right and wrong ... our own values ... our own dreams.

I plan to spend more in 2016 focused on setting and exceeding my own financial, family, physical and spiritual goals. I intend for 2016 to be a year in which I live my dreams. No more sitting back and waiting for others ... it is time for me to take control of my situation fully and completely.

Today, I take the first step.


I hope that other villagers are considering what the concept of 'kujichagulia' or self-determination means to them.

Here is an affirmation for today that we can all use -- 'On this day, I will take five minutes and visualize that I have accomplished one of my goals.'

Monday, December 26, 2016

Grant Declination: Brewers Community Foundation (BDPA Milwaukee)

Brewers Community Foundation provides a significant number of grants each year to nonprofit organizations that provide quality programming in the areas of health, education, recreation and basic needs, with a particular focus on low income and disadvantaged youth and their families. BDPA Milwaukee wrote a $5,000 grant proposal to them seeking support for the 2017 Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. We were recently informed that our proposal had been declined.

Dear Mr. Hicks,

Brewers Community Foundation has reviewed your request for financial support and regret we will be unable to contribute to your organization. Our decision was not based on any deficiency in either the information you provided us or the worthiness of the request, but rather our determination was based upon the funds available for grants this year.

We wish you success in your endeavors.

Cecelia Gore
Executive Director

Brewers Community Foundation is the official charitable arm of the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. Brewers Community Foundation harnesses the pride, passion and commitment of Brewers fans, players and other supporters to positively impact the lives of children and families in Greater Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

We will continue to raise money for BDPA Milwaukee

Kwanzaa: Umoja ('Unity')

Habari Gani? UMOJA

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

You live long enough and you begin to realize that you cannot have an impact on your community, nation and race until you first have an impact on your family. It is through the good you do with your parents, siblings, spouse, children, nieces, nephews and cousins that you leave your mark on the world. The pebble that you drop in the lake called family will begin to flow out in concentric circles that will grow larger and larger over time.

Make yourself and your family stronger ... you make our community and our nation stronger. Am I doing enough to make ourselves stronger mentally, physically, financially and spiritually?

The past is gone. Our ability to changes things for the better begins today. What can I do to make myself better mentally? physically? financially? spiritually? These are questions that I will ask myself today as I meditate on the meaning of 'umoja' in my life. I will find ways each day to improve myself and my family ... even my blogging family ... so that we might be stronger as a community and as a nation. Each one, reach one.


Care to share your thoughts on the concept of Umoja, the first principle shared in the Nguzo Saba?

Friday, December 23, 2016

Top Pharmaceutical Company Eli Lilly and Company Continues Diversity Commitment to BDPA

Eli Lilly and Company, one of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies and one of Fortune’s Most Admired Companies recently renewed its Gold Level sponsorship commitment to BDPA to increase diversity by creating opportunities in the industry.
Mike Williams
National BDPA President Mike Williams said, "Eli Lilly continues to be an invaluable partner and sponsor for BDPA. They continue to distinguish themselves as champions of workforce diversity through their actions and financial commitment."
Lilly is a global health care leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. For more than a century, they have stayed true to a core set of values—excellence, integrity, and respect for people -- that guide them in all they do: discovering medicines that meet real needs, improving the understanding and management of disease, and giving back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism.
Tim Coleman
One of Eli Lilly’s many principle commitments is respect for people. "We are proud to again partner with and support BDPA. The organization’s work to ensure a diverse talent pipeline for the future and to encourage young people to explore careers in science and technology aligns with our beliefs at Lilly,” stated Tim Coleman, Eli Lilly and Company Senior Director. “Education is so vital to creating the professionals who will contribute to the discovery of innovative medicines of the future," he added.
Eli Lilly and Company is headquartered in Indianapolis, IN. They have been strong sponsors and examples to others in the city. BDPA Indianapolis Chapter continues to provide opportunities to promote professional development and administer student programs to help high school students gain knowledge, skills and competitive experiences in Information Technology. The chapter has remarkable accomplishments in 2016, including: 2016 Chapter of the Year, 2nd & 3rd Place College IT Showcase Winners (4 participants), 1st & 2nd Place High School Mobile Showcase Winners, 2 Students won iPads and several students were awarded scholarships.
Terry Morris
Terry Morris, BDPA Indianapolis Chapter President stated, “As President of the Indianapolis Chapter of BDPA, I am once again proud to stay thank you and recognize Eli Lilly and Company for its sustained commitment to BDPA and its pledge to having a diverse and inclusive workforce. Eli Lilly has been the most tenured and consistent sponsor of our local chapter’s youth and professional development efforts. Their sponsorship, and more importantly, their willingness to allow their leaders to play a significant role in the leadership and execution of the chapter played a key role in the Indianapolis chapter being named the 2016 Chapter of the Year.”
For more details on the BDPA corporate sponsorship program, contact the corporate sales support team at (301) 584-3135 ext. 108 or Additionally, please visit

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grant Recipient * BDPA Greater Columbia ($4,000)

BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) awarded BDPA Greater Columbia with a $4,000 grant in support of its 2017 Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program. The funds will be used for 2017 BDPA Conference registration, lodging, airfare, incidentals for Youth Technology Students, expenses for chaperones, classroom instruction and college scholarships.

BDPA Gr. Columbia Students

BETF seeks to provide funding for National BDPA and its 46 local chapters. We encourage you to support our BDPA Greater Columbia chapter by making a secure online contribution.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Member on the Move: Jasmine Mann (Virginia Military Institute)

Jasmine Mann Wins Scholarship
We are very happy to report that one of our new college student members ... Jasmine Mann .. earned an improved college scholarship.   Jasmine was nominated by E. Sean Lanier to become a BDPA college student member sponsored by Hilton Worldwide.  Jasmine is a freshman at Virginia Military Institute who combined her strong academics she earned during summer school and first semester along with her demonstrated leadership potential to earn an upgrade to her ROTC Scholarship.  She will use her scholarship to continue her students in Electrical & Computer Engineering. 

Jasmine is  a member of ROCKS Inc., an essential leader in providing developmental guidance to members of the Army officer corps and ROTC cadets.  She is also a member of the VMI chapter of National Society of Black Engineers and the BDPA Hampton Roads chapter. 

Good luck to Jasmine!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

National BDPA Mobile Application Showcase

Mobile Application Showcase Winners & Sponsors
The National BDPA Mobile App Showcase, co-sponsored by McDonald's, State Farm Insurance and WWT, allows student application developers the opportunity to participate in a competition that allows them to an opportunity to test their talents against others and develop a working, functional mobile application, at no cost to themselves. The applications being showcased will represent three different application categories (i.e. business, personal productivity, and gaming). Each category will have stringent requirements to be met in advance to the showcase.

College and high school students have the opportunity to participate in this 2-day event in conjunction with the 2017 National BDPA Technology Conference held in Cincinnati, OH. The focus of this event includes development on Android and iOS smartphone operating systems.

Each student's projects will be judged in two major categories and four sub-categories. The competition and showcase are open to high school and college students. Their projects will be assessed by a panel of judges prior to the conference. Monetary awards sponsored by State Farm will be given to the top high school and college participants. The awards will be presented at the awards presentation during the 2017 National BDPA Technology Conference Banquet Ceremony. Each participant will be recognized with a Certificate of Participation for their effort.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Top 10 BDPA Chapters (Membership, November 2016)

The lifeblood of any nonprofit association is its membership. We have a new chapter who leads the nation in BDPA members.... BDPA Detroit.   The chapter ... led by its president, Loraine Stewart-David ... continues to amaze others by its consistent growth.  The chapter grew by over 27% in  the past year as they continue moving towards the next milestone of having 300 members this year.

We continue to operate under the leadership of National BDPA VP-Membership Management Mildred Allen.   Her team now includes Chad White (Dallas) and Judaea Lane (Memphis).  Her efforts have allowed BDPA to continue to grow.   She realizes that we need to work hard to keep membership growth and retention higher.

Loraine Stewart-David * BDPA Detroit President

BDPA believes in the management maxim -- you get what you measure.  Let us assess the numbers in order to honor those local BDPA chapters who are demonstrating success in their efforts to recruit and retain members.  Let's take a look at the ten largest chapters in BDPA-Nation:
  1. Detroit - president, Loraine Stewart-David
  2. Cincinnati - president, Shawnda Peterson
  3. Atlanta - president, Vincent Montgomery
  4. Chicago - president, Reggie Rush 
  5. Indianapolis - president, Terry Morris
  6. Philadelphia - president, Cedric Edwards
  7. Milwaukee - president, Allen Baylor
  8.  Washington DC - president, Perry Carter
  9. New York - president, Tyrone McKinney
  10. Triangle - president, Carl Hill 
The number of chapters now belonging to the 'BDPA Century Club' currently stands at four.  The benefit of having powerful leadership is obvious when we see that Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Chicago each have over 100 members. One of the common denominators for each of these chapters is that they place a high premium on the delivery of quality programs and services to their members. These chapters work hard to ensure that there is a strong return on the $100 investment that each member makes thru annual dues.

National president Mike Williams recently touted the value that organizational re-branding has made on BDPAWhat are your thoughts about the value of BDPA membership? What can your local chapter do to improve the value-proposition for you on a personal or professional level?