The 'Building and Business' II Weekend - October 26th through October 28th, 2007: "Many Parts, One Body"

It is an absolute honor to announce that will once again be hosting its "Business and Building" Weekend in Washington, D.C. from October 26th through October 28th. With the help of a talented, committed, and experienced Leadership Team, I am blessed to be able to say that we are prepared to organize and coordinate a series of events, activities and gatherings that have the potential to attract a critical mass of Viewers - around a series of Initiatives - who in turn will produce enough progress and magnetic energy to attract and impact hundreds and thousands more of our people in the America, the Western Hemisphere and Africa.

To gain some perspective, and learn more of the aims, objectives, and inspiration behind 'Business and Building,' we encourage you to read last year's announcement:

The “Business and Building” Weekend Is On. 'Toward A Learned Community... Connected To The Masses'

You can expect more information describing this year's event, in coming days and weeks, adding more details to the following outline:

The 'Building and Business' Format Above all, our effort and weekend is dedicated to fostering unity among a group of multi-interested, multi-talented, and ideologically diverse individuals who need only agree on two things - 1) the condition of Black people in America and all over the world demands our sincere and best coordinated efforts and 2) there is not currently a single organization or 'school of thought' among us that has proven it can address, on a mass level, all of our problems. With that premise agreed upon, through informal mixing, dialogue, and formal work sessions, we search together for higher and higher levels of truth that unleash the critical and creative thinking and spiritual energy of those present, to be leveraged and applied in four specific Initiative Areas: 1) Business and Investment 2) International Affairs 3) Political Action and 4) Community Development. By getting us all together in person and developing familiarity, camaraderie and agreement through comfortable and enjoyable interaction but serious dialogue, and work sessions, we can arrive at a right combination of organization and operation. This five-step process naturally occurs: Contact, then Knowledge, then Respect, then Unity, then (the deepest kind of) Love.

The Venues: We are pleased to have reached agreements with four very fine institutions that will serve as the venues for our four major activities: The Reception, Private Bowling Party, Dinner and Live Entertainment, and Dialogue and Work Sessions. Here is a brief description of each, along with information you will need, to enjoy participating fully in what we have planned with our venue partners:

1) Parish Gallery (Venue For The 'Business and Building' Light Reception)

Address: 1054 31st Street, NW


Event Description: One of the most respected Black-Owned art galleries in the United States of America is home to our opening reception. Norman Parish originally opened Parish Gallery of Georgetown in 1991 as a showcase for contemporary visual arts by African Americans and little known local artists. He noted that even though a majority of Washington's citizens are of African descent, there were very few fine art galleries showing African influenced art or the works of people of color. He has remarkably filled this void. Catered hors d’oeuvres, beverages, good conversation, remarks by Mr. Parish, and the works of featured artist Todd Williams, create the atmospere for us all to get acquainted and ready for a wonderful weekend.

2) Bohemian Caverns and Mahogany Restaurant and Lounge (Venue For The 'Building and Business Dinner and Live Entertainment’)

Address: 2001 Eleventh Street N.W.

Website: Bohemian Caverns:


Mahogany Restaurant and Lounge:

Event Description: Mahogany Restaurant and Bohemian Caverns are host to our evening-into-morning dinner and live entertainment event, featuring viewers, guest speakers, and special invited guests. A sit-down dinner, beverages, live music, and open microphone all in the setting of one of the most comfortable, historic and intimate locations in Washington, D.C.'s historic U Street. Opened in 1926, the Caverns has brought a great many artists to its stage, but it was the immortals that built its legacy: Washington's Son Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Louis Armstrong, Ramsey Lewis, Less McCann, Miles Davis, Shirley Horn, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Wynton Marsalis, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and even Bill Cosby have come through. If you can't develop rapport here with the like-minded (or even the most disagreeable), it may not be possible.

3) Homewood Suites (Hotel and Venue For The ‘Coffee Talk’ Dialogue and Work Sessions)

Address: 1475 Massachusetts Ave NW


Event Description: The hotel owned by Robert Johnson of Black Entertainment Television (BET) is our official weekend home, where every room is a full suite with a kitchen, amenities, pull-out sofa and cozy single or double bedroom lay out. And they have a special rate for our Conference Attendees. Hint: You can get three in a room (smile). The hotel is also the location of our ‘Coffee Talk’ sessions on the morning of Sunday, October 28, 2007.

Reservations: Call 1-202-265-8000 and mention that you are with the 'Black Electorate' Group to receive a favorable rate.

Note: You must make reservations by September 25th to qualify for our special value rate.

4) Lucky Strike Lanes

Address: 701 Seventh St., NW


Event Description: First, please visit the website and check out the plush 6-lane private area we will be enjoying for three hours of unlimited food, plentiful beverages and bowling the afternoon of Saturday, October 27th. But don’t get too relaxed, the second annual “Cedric Muhammad Invitational” is serious business. There will be prizes awarded to both the bowler with the highest score and the team that survives our tournament. Yes, the elite All-Star bowling team will be in contention. The event is private, catered and an opportunity to mingle in a comfortable and intimate setting. And even if you can't bowl, you can still people-watch, look beautiful or handsome, and most importantly network and cut a business deal in a private and quiet area.

Remember, bowling is golfing for the Black man and woman. Get your business on, in a social setting.

The Initiatives. The thinking behind our approach is that too often efforts at uplifting the condition of Black people are compartmentalized or divided, and as a result we have 'blind spots' in our advocacy, activism, mobilization and organization. At times our political knowledge crowds out insights from economics. In other cases our approach to business negatively affects our culture. And in some instances our concern for international affairs unnecessarily neglects local community development. For some, intellectually maintaining ideology, dogma, and doctrine matter more than testing and refining theory with real-world application and problem-solving.

Not here.

The 'Business and Building' Community is dedicated to an equal and simultaneous focus on a foundation of four areas of concern: Community Development, Business and Investment, International Affairs, and Political Action. We believe that only by balancing our portfolio of interest can we properly leverage the unity of a critical mass of professionals, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and students.

Thus far, we have a Business and Investment Initiative underway - our "Black-Owned Bank and Investment Club" Initiative' ( and have selected an International Affairs Initiative, "The United States Of Africa Advocacy Group," dedicated to informing, challenging, encouraging and holding accountable the effort of the over 50 plus African nations to unite into one bloc. In addition to the fulfillment of these two Initiatives we have the remaining work of selecting the Political Action and Community Development Initiatives.

Immediately after registering for our Weekend we will be engaging Attendees about their level of interest in the four areas and walking them through a process that will result in their immediate participation in a dialogue that will lead to work sessions, decision-making and action in all four areas during and after the Weekend of October 26th.

The Process. We know that your time, sincerity, hopes, and energy are valuable and precious. Therefore we have worked diligently to make sure that this gathering is not a wasted effort on our part or yours. Whether you are looking to promote yourself, an idea or interest, or simply looking for marching orders as part of a united group of equals dedicated to a single cause, this Weekend will lend itself to your concern and approach. To ensure that our Weekend is outcome-based and effective in coordinating our interaction, we have developed a process of Dialogue and Work Sessions that will have us all leaving on the same page in terms of clarity of purpose and next steps for action. This will require an orientation of mind before our arrival and coming together in D.C. Our "Business and Building" Manager and Initiative Director Raghib Muhammad describes it as follows:

"The collective intelligence of any movement, association, or organization must be equal or greater than the intelligence of its individual members. Therefore, in preparation for Business and Building II, we are asking that participants focus on Commitment, Capacity, and Continuous Improvement (3 C's).

Commitment- an agreement or pledge to do something in the future. In order to be successful, all initiatives must have committed individuals who are willing to work to make an idea reality.

Capacity- aptitude and potential; depth; the ability to hold a vision. If we want to ensure the implementation of any initiative, we must have the capacity (individual and organizational). Capacity can take the form of increasing one's personal competency (i.e. staying abreast of the issues) or organizational competency (i.e. ensuring that the organization or association can sustain change).

Continuous Improvement- constantly clarifying goals and objectives in order to ensure that all actions are relevant. In terms of the initiatives, we have to be flexible enough to adapt when needed and utilize more efficient methods when required."

The Lessons of The Life and Movement of Marcus Garvey. Last year we made it a point to have the image of Frederick Douglass on our promotional material for 'Business and Building' I as a constant reminder of the suffering of our people and to symbolically create the imagery of an ex-slave looking at us and our deliberation. This year we have selected the image of the Honorable Marcus Garvey to provide not only symbolism but also to indicate our shared committment to study the lessons of his life and the movement he led, including mistakes and errors, as well as the glorious and inspiring moments of progress and success that were achieved. It is our fervent desire and prayer that by individually examining history, we may become better acquainted with the moments, decisions, dynamics, consequences and actions that make for the setbacks and advancement of our people, informing our collective work in 2007. That is the great rewarding value of the study of history. To aid in this process, we encourage our Attendees to purchase any one of several books on Marcus Garvey available through the wonderful (and Black-owned) Karibu Books online store:;jsessionid=abccQcKYcSEm6cId0EXrr


As I write these words I am reminded of two sections - one from the Holy Qur'an and one from the Bible. They are instructuve in this important work.

In my view, the greatest form of ignorance is the lack of the Knowledge of Self. The greatest emotional and spiritual barrier to personal progress is the lack of Belief In One's Self. And after that, the greatest impediment hindering the mass rise of our people is the inability of us all to individually organize our self-community and unite with others on the basis of righteous principles and in the doing of good. In that sense we are like the dried bones described in Ezekiel 37 as being 'cut off' from one another.

On this latter point I ask you all to reflect over:

Surah 95: 4, "We have indeed created man in the best of molds."

I Corinthians 12-26: The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

May this year's Building and Business II help us all to realize how much we need each other, and that it is our continued irrational disunity - in the face of knowledge which tells us better - that is the principle reason we suffer so much as a people.

Remember - many parts, one body.

To Register For A Weekend Dedicated To Action Please Visit This Link:

Cedric Muhammad

Wednesday, August 29, 2007