Black Men Win W/Cordell Zachery
1. What is your name? Where are you are from? What do you do for a living? GAS YOURSELF! Let the people know who you are!
I’m Cordell Allen Zachery (Jr.), candidly I’m not a true junior but I’m named after my dad. To say where I’m from is tricky, I was born in Grand Rapids a couple of months before my mom graduated from GVSU. I grew up the rest of my life split between Detroit and Southfield. Now I’m a Grand Rapids Resident. Simply put I’m a changemaker in corporate America. I manage e-commerce relationships for an office manufacturer here in Grand Rapids and I’m also a lead for their Social Innovation employee led team. What I do for a living is act as a change agent. I’m heavily invested in changing the narrative of people of color in or communities. I’m on the board of directors for a non-profit named BL2END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions) which aims to build spaces for young professionals of color to connect. I also am a member of the ENL chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. I’m a mentor, brother, son, and a black man.
2. Do you believe that as black men, do we support each other ‘enough’. Spiritually. Emotionally. Mentally. Physically. Financially.
Support is tricky when it comes to black males, much of this dissonance can stem back to the tension between the house nigga vs. the field nigga. We’ve been conditioned to be in competition with one another. I don’t believe we support each other enough in all of those fields you designated.
There are some exceptions though, in Grand Rapids there are many churches who host men’s small groups and I’ve seen a lot of good come from that. Every year there’s an African American Male Achievement Conference hosted by the Urban League, last year around 800 males attended! This past weekend Motu Viget (a local black owned champagne company) packed out 20 Monroe for their launch party. I believe its our duty as black men to support these movements, to spend a little more time, to pay a little extra just to see our black man win!
3. Do we continue to let our generational curses in our community of black men hinder us from experiencing and realizing our true potential?
Great question, I believe that this is a choice. There are some men who are continuing to aim low, to compete, and living up to the perception that the dominant culture has of us. It’s an easy trap though, many of us black men have been marginalized by systems in this country that have led to limited access to housing, poverty, and express passes to the prison pipeline. Simply put it’s tough to avoid generational curses. But as black men we have the choice to break those generational curses. It’s important for us to realize our roles in society and our responsibility to advance our black people. How do we complain about the lack of black male executives in workplaces if we’re not busting our ass in our own places of employment? How can we expect black women to have equity and be treated with respect when we encourage our fellow black man to cheat and put hands on their queens? We have to be the ones to break these curses.
4. What can we do better as black men, individually, to help improve our overall community for the next generations?
Representation and mentorship are big proponents for me. We must be present in all types of spaces entrepreneurship, community engagement, skilled trade, corporate, etc. And we have to strive to excel! Once we do this it changes the narrative of what a black man looks like and acts like in our communities. Once we’ve done this we then pass along that knowledge, we have to nurture our black boys and girls. We need to volunteer at schools as mentors, River City Scholars Academy has a program that does that well. Bring black youth into youth workplace, encourage job shadow opportunities. Youth need to have positive engagements with black men to give them something to aspire to be. The media won’t give them those role models so it’s our job.
5. What does #BlackMenWin mean to you?
#BlackMenWin personifies the barriers that black men break through every day. #BlackMenWin is a mindset, once we truly can support and champion each other we’ll see the elevation and improvement of all our communities of color. Shout out to blogs like yours who are catalyzing this movement.