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As we enter the ‘do or die’ stretch of the primaries, media is on standby for pertinent soundbites by the characters of this political drama.

At last week’s Governor Rauner’s Difference Makers Awards during their Black History Month program at the Thompson Center—scrutiny surrounded a special demonstration of diversity in the workplace. The keynote speaker, Tyronne Stoudemire, Global V.P. of Diversity and Inclusion for Hyatt Worldwide is known to share his knowledge and resources for employees and employment recruitment. His speech was not out of the ordinary in discussing why it’s important to include people of color into the management and senior roles at companies with predominately white senior management.

As Gov. Rauner, Janice Glenn (Acting Director, Illinois Department of Human Rights) and emcee Dometi Pongo (WGN Radio) looked on from the stage—Stoudemire walked over to the table which had a glass of whole white milk, a bottle of chocolate syrup and a spoon.

“This glass represents corporate America, fortune 500 companies. If you look at any corporation website, look at their leadership team you’ll see all white men, a few white women and maybe an Asian in technology. This chocolate syrup represents diversity, women, people of color, disabilities, Generation X, Y and Z,” he said.  “It’s not that organizations are not diverse but if you look at most organizations, diversity sits at where? The bottom of the organization. You don’t get inclusion until you actually stir it up.” He instructs the governor to stir it up and adds, “Diversity is the mix and inclusion is making the mix work. I’m not going to ask the governor taste it because it may not taste good.”

Enthusiastically, Rauner said he had no problem and took a sip commenting, “Very very good! Diversity!” Now, here’s where it gets a little awkward—people applauded but not because the governor took the sip from the glass because they could relate to Stoudemire’s speech. What the media centered on was a white Governor who has been criticized repeatedly by decisions made that have direct impact on African-American communities involved in a demonstration that promotes the importance of diversity. Plus, let’s not forget—it’s election primaries.

Now, the flipside is the backlash of opinions from that soundbite that hurt Stoudemire who was dragged through social media by repeated comments of his ‘demonstration’ not being accurate. Well, let me add… as one of the senior executives for the Hyatt Corporation, he has been instrumental in training and hiring many Black and Latino young adults. Through his diligence and dedication to Black excellence, he continues to make sure the Hyatt is partner for several organization which supports community efforts. In addition, his diversity workshops are an instrumental part of the company’s management practices. Not to mention, the media missed the entire purpose of the program.

Twelve African American individuals were honored for their achievements in their respected fields and community service: Erica Douglas, Cornelius Griggs, Dwayne Hirsch, Jahkil Naeem Jackson, Spencer Leak, Jr., Bernard Loyd, Sharon Rossmark, Queen Mother Helen E. Sinclair, Cassiopeia Uhuru, Josephine “Mother” Wade, Dr. Walt Whitman and P. “Patrick” Saingbey K. Woodtor.

Now let that be your soundbite…

Illinois Attorney General Race Flares Up

The Illinois Attorney General’s race is heating up with Senator Kwame Raoul as the bull’s eye for direct concerns about his contributions. A topic of discussion the Illinois Senator had hoped would die down is not going away from the various candidate forums. In a closely watched race, the last couple of forums—one held this past weekend at Chicago State University and NABJ hosted discussion at CBS 2, Sharon Fairley and Scott Drury made it clear—Kwame Raoul is the target.

“I’m Kwame Raoul running for Attorney General and Kwame Raoul have a 13-year record. In regard to the Cook County endorsement, I gladly accept it. I gladly accept Madison County and I gladly accept the St. Clair County endorsement and the Kankakee County. I have a record I’ve accomplished over the years with criminal justice reform, access healthcare, sexual harassment domestic assault.” CBS reporter asks, “So you’re not an insider?” Raoul answers, “I’m an insider because I’m elected official and everything I’ve accomplished because I’m inside.”

Although, it may appear Raoul will get high support from the Black community—looks can be deceiving. Former IL Gov. Pat Quinn has significant name recognition throughout the state and still holds favor with older Black voters. With no television commercials on the air and little visibility Quinn is banking his name familiarity.

One More Chance?

Guess who held a private reception in his downtown luxury condo to announce his run for the city of Chicago mayoral office? Well, it won’t be Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia but millionaire businessman Willie Wilson feel good enough to go for a second try. Sending out a special invitation to both Black and Latino media outlets and faith leaders from their communities—he made it clear, he will support the brand that supports him. Apparently, Mr. Wilson has hosted a couple of gatherings similar to last week’s reception including a group of young voices that were open enough to share their ideas and concerns.

At this point, no other Black potential candidates have stepped up because some are afraid of not receiving the financial support to raise monies to beat Emanuel’s deep pockets. It was a close call for the mayor in the 2016 run-off and best believe—back door meetings are taking place on who will his strongest opposition be for round three.

Sean Long

Birthday Shout-outs

As the weather changes from cold to warm back to rainy snow, so does those fabulous sometimes moody Pisces! Happy Belated birthday to my girl, comedian/actress Erica Watson celebrated on Feb.26 and Midway Documentary filmmaker, Ryan Brockmerier on Feb. 27. Chicago to Cali transplant, Charles Little and Chicago Jazz Philharmonic co-founder, Mark Ingram celebrates on Feb.28. Choreographer, dancer and author, Winkk Atme; Diane Womack Foreman; and actor, Leon Albritton kick up their feet on March 1. Big hugs to Nadia Allen Bush; Chicago rap artist, Mush Millions and West Coast marketing executive, Kelly Woo on March 2. A special ‘Q Dog’ shout out to my JA-AM 1390 alumni and proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Sean Long on March 3. I can’t forget the King of Steppers, Pete Frazier ‘steps in the name of love’ on March 4.

Pete Frazier

Got a scoop? Send us your birthday shout-outs, career moves, anniversaries and special events to: mdatcher@chicagodefender.com

Follow Mary L. Datcher on Twitter @mdatcher and Instagram @mdatcher

 

 

 

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