At Leaders of the Free World we are passionate about the transformative power of international travel. To that end, we are highlighting the stories of several young, Black men whose international experience had lasting impact on their lives. In some cases, these experiences spurred them to make a difference in their communities.
Our first story is from Steven Hughes, Founder and Chief Financial Mentor of Know Money, Incorporated.
Steven got the opportunity to travel just over this past year spending 6 days in Geneva, Switzerland at a conference. What struck him the most? “I met 450 young leaders from 160 countries with diverse experiences, backgrounds and professions. Each were brilliant in their own right and it affirmed some things for me. ”
As a young, Black man from the United States, meeting so many people from so many countries was enlightening.
“The opportunity to see other people of color from different countries across the globe excelling at their craft was inspiring and motivating. The media in the United States is tirelessly negative when it portrays the young black man or woman. Getting away from that and falling into many positive experiences has changed my life forever.”
Steven has moved on to continue work on his own project, Know Money, Inc. to help teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship to youth and young adults across the state of South Carolina. Steven credits his experience for pushing him forward in this endeavor. "I met so many awesome people doing great things and I thought, 'I belong here. I should be doing this." He has also been bitten by the travel bug with plans to travel to Ghana, Tanzania, and Jamaica in the next year.
Steven is a first-generation Jamaican-American and native of Columbia, SC. After making countless financial mistakes in college and rebounding from them, he has developed a passion in teaching others about financial education and entrepreneurship. For the past six years, Steven has worked with colleges, universities, organizations and companies to educate their members on reaching their financial, personal and professional goals.
Leaders of the Free World believes that international experiences can change lives, perhaps even save lives. Many black men report their international experience as being one that completely changed their perception of the world and of themselves. They saw themselves not only an American citizen but as global citizen capable of so much more than what they had known up to that point.
In 2012, Nicolas B. Aziz wrote an article entitled, "Why The World Needs More Traveling Black Men". In it, he discusses the imperative for black men and their supporters to see traveling as more than just a "frivolous" expense by whites.
Aziz points out that the these international experiences can have long-term benefits in personal development and life-long learning. In the article he talks about his own experiences as a frequent traveler and the reason why more black men should go abroad.
"As someone who has traveled extensively and been able to see the effects of abroad experiences firsthand, I can say that it is imperative that we promote them; not only for the sake of African-American men, but for the sake of the world."
It's finally here!
Applications for our 2016 LFW Fellows and Mentors cohort!
Starting in this March the first Leaders of the Free World cohort will begin their first session. The team will meet twice a month as part of the LFW curriculum, leading up to our trip to Ghana in the summer (July 22-August 8).
(Article originally posted on Financial Juneteenth)
By Robert Stitt
Fifteen young Black businessmen entered the Black-owned Industrial Bank with the intent of opening accounts. The men were members of the Black Male Entrepreneurship Institute (BMEI), a partner of the U.S. Black Chambers Inc. (USBC). The move was a calculated effort to gain support for black-on-black economics.
Ron Busby is CEO of the USBC. He said, “In order for there to be a strong Black America, you must have strong Black businesses. In order for there to be strong Black businesses, we must have strong Black banks. So, from my standpoint, this is just a reciprocation for what Industrial Bank has done for our communities for the last 80 years.”
Brothers Set To Open Band of Brothers Brewing Company in Tuscaloosa, the Third Beer Making Company to Open over the Last 5 Years
(Article originally posted on Financial Juneteenth)
By Victor Ochieng
Jeremiah and Jeremy Donald grew up in Clarke County at a time when alcohol sales were banned. The two brothers had to find a way to satisfy their desire to drink beer, so they decided to learn the art, having acquired the skill from their grandfather. Little did they know that their skills would one day turn into a money minting business. Yes, the brothers have now turned that leisure into business, having launched their company in July of this year.
Their company, Band of Brothers Brewing Co., became the third beer brewing company to open in Tuscaloosa within the past five years.
David Banner, the producer and rapper from Mississippi who has long been vocal on a variety of sociopolitical issues, is making concrete strides toward bettering his home state. According to the Charlotte Observer, Banner has donated a recording studio to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Mississippi.
Located in Jackson, his hometown, the studio is in a converted office space that overlooks a bank of basketball courts where Banner often played as a child. It was announced as party of the city’s ninth annual Heal the Hood at Christmas initiative, where he also gave out gifts to more than 350 kids and their families.
Read More: David Banner Donates Studio to the Boys and Girls Club in Mississippi - XXL