Today’s atmosphere of division and cultural conflict occurs at a very bad time. We live in a time of unprecedented, accelerating technological change, environmental disruption, and wealth disparity. In this time of heightened fear and uncertainty, things could turn catastrophic very quickly. On the other hand, the unprecedented knowledge and resources we possess could set the stage for humanity’s greatest era. We are poised at the threshold of our brightest times, or our darkest times. That is why now, more than ever, we need to heed MLK’s call to treat each other as brothers and sisters.
Though I lived and worked just a few miles from where this hidden giant of science lived and worked; though his nephew was my professor and thesis advisor at University of Michigan; though we frequented the same barbershop, for Christ’s sake; I never met Walter S. McAfee. I didn’t even know who he was until after he died. I now know that he could have, as much as anyone, claimed to be a founder of The Space Age.
More than six years ago, in September 2014, I took delivery of my first electric vehicle – a Tesla Model S. Around that same time, I bought Tesla stock. Both decisions turned out to be fortuitous, if not downright prescient, in light of the current excitement about Tesla in particular and electric vehicles in general. Tesla has changed my perception of cars and personal transport. Somewhat sadly, my love affair with internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles is fading. I’ve been electrified.
My favorite uncle, William Wise Hayden, died in 2004. Uncle Bill was a factory worker at Ford Motor Company and a proud United Auto Workers member, and in his off hours he was a man about town and an avid photographer. I visited Uncle Bill at his Detroit home a few months before he died, and during that visit he gave me one of his most prized photo albums. I felt as if he was bequeathing the album to me, and that feeling was reinforced when I read the words on the cover. The words, typed on a blue plastic label affixed to the green vinyl album cover, were: ”BETWEEN THESE COVERS ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE.”
My friend Brenda Perryman succumbed to Covid-19 on April 5, 2020. Shortly after she passed, I vowed to publish the video interviews she produced for the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (recorded and edited by our friend Michelle Wyche Watson). These interviews are a testament to Brenda’s community involvement, her commitment, and her talent. Take some time to watch and enjoy, and if you knew Brenda, to remember.
The Fall 2020 edition of the Urban Entrepreneurship course is a wrap! In the course, students learn what it takes to build an “urban-focused” business, i.e., an enterprise that addresses an important urban community need. The Covid-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, but thanks to great entrepreneur partners and hard-working students, we turned those challenges into opportunities.