During an exercise in a session on Exponential Fundraising being led by Harvard professor Jen McCrae, a lady tells me about her work in Uganda educating
girls/women. The education is holistically based. They teach the whole child/woman. It is even sometimes necessary to impress upon them the initial
spark of desire that leads to education process. As she is detailing her service, I ask, “Is this a REAL need?” She appears puzzled by my question,
but can tell it comes from true ignorance of the Ugandan culture and out of a sincere desire to know. She informs me that in Uganda it is an anomaly
when you find a girl or woman who already has the goal of working outside of the home, going to college, or owning a business. I learned that they
firmly believe their position is to support the family.
In a dialogue around social entrepreneurship, I learned from a Tawainese woman who works with various social entrepreneurs there, of the many difficulties
and great successes she has witnessed and experienced throughout the island,
There was the gentleman from Lagos, Nigeria who exclaimed, during a discussion about generational advancements, “…the future is bright. I can already
An hour-long conversation about hope between twenty-five people from over ten countries and the room was filled with tears, smiles, contemplating eyebrows
and not one trite statement about some generally vague concept of hope. It was real!
We debated about how to teach this generation of children to push back and remain alive in the process.
I learned of great work being done in Connecticut around educating the underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields. I learned of the innovative approaches
to education being done in China, the Middle East, Seattle and all over the continent of Africa.
I learned of the strides being made around racial equity and proximity in South Carolina. Yes, South Carolina!
A gentleman from Panama advised us, “if being personally financially secure helps alleviate some of the fear of uncertainty, as it pertains to committing
your life to what you know you are here on earth to do although it doesn’t come with a hefty salary, then BY ALL MEANS, become financially secure!”
Those of you who know me personally know that really resonated well with me.
As I wait on my flight itinerary to become a little more clear, sitting in this Denver airport I feel like I want to get up and run! See, I just spent
the last five days at The Aspen Institute in Aspen, Colorado. Upon invitation from their Global Leadership Network, I participated in the Resnick Aspen
Action Forum. “One of the greatest platforms for effecting real and measurable change in the world, …that encourages entrepreneurial leaders from
around the world to commit to putting their ideas for impact into action.” This year’s theme: Leading Toward Justice. My internal compass has always
been my driving force in life. While still a relatively young man, I have committed my life to driving change and addressing the inequities that adversely
affect minority communities and populations in the United States through sports, education, entrepreneurship, mentoring and philanthropy. I can honestly
say I truly love helping others grow their capacity. Yet, leaving this convening and for the first time in my life, I feel moved to action! So much
so, it was either blog or literally sprint through this airport. While my physical body could definitely use the cardio, mentally I need to get this
For far too many nights to count, I’ve pondered at my desk, “Where else is the help?!” While far from making any direct correlation between my life and
that of Dr. King’s, since undergrad learning of and reading his sermon “A Knock at Midnight,” I have on many nights experienced that midnight hour
weakness and faltering of courage that he talks about. However, I never heard that inner voice he spoke of that told him to stand up for righteousness.
Time and time again, I heard my grandfather’s voice say, “Buddy, just do what’s right cause in the end right wins.” That always gave me the strength
to not see the problem as being bigger than the solution. Yet, the loneliness of leadership is more than a platitude.
Spending a week at the ACTION Forum with 350 of the world’s thought leaders, who are also doers, my question has finally been answered. “Where else is
the help?!” It’s spread out all over the globe. There are highly intelligent attorneys in Alabama committed to juvenile justice. There are teachers
in South Texas waist deep in the struggle to create equally accessible quality education for ethnic minorities. In Egypt, oh my God, they’re doing
a myriad of things! Israel, El Salvador, Minnesota, New Orleans, Hong Kong, San Francisco, you name the place and help is there. Now, with a new paradigm
established, armed with a network that has multiplied a hundred-fold, I’m sprinting through this airport, not literally, but sprinting nonetheless
because I found the help. As is the case in so many circumstances; finding your help gives you strength to DO more. I WILL DO MORE!
Edward R. Boyd, Jr.
iNvictus Group Holdings, LLC, Founder/Chief Strategy Officer
iNvictus Forward Outreach, Board Chair