A Love Story

When you rise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. — Marcus Aurelius

I do love an incredible woman, but the focus of this message is not her. Today is about my love for black people and the work happening to move our community forward.

There is a new wave of leadership taking the helm in our community. We are less focused on political parties and more focused on organizing ourselves around group economics. We are less reliant on public institutions and more capable holding institutions accountable. We are more conscious of our health, well versed in how to protect our women and children and no longer interested in being entertainers and athletes. We are not separatists drawing ourselves into corners. We are eager to learn from the lessons of others throughout the country and throughout the world.

I draw lessons from local leaders and historic figures. Observing the example of Black Muslims led to me no longer eating pork or red meat. My relationship with Kim-Shree Maufas inspired me to step into the public spotlight and run for office. My friendships with Shamann Walton & Matt Haney pushed me to be courageous in my leadership. The lessons I learned from Booker T. Washington and Malcolm X encouraged me to take over at Mission Bit and invest in income producing businesses. But none of these is more important that the legacy of my great-grandfather Luther Harris. We lovingly referred to him as Madea’s Daddy.

Madea’s Daddy moved to San Francisco with no more than a 6th grade education. He died leaving behind several properties and owning over 100 acres of timber forest in Arkansas. More important than that, he was a loving husband, devoted father and a pillar in his community. This man wasn’t struggling with implicit bias and micro-aggressions. He overcame Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, the predatory lending practices encouraged by the federal government through redlining policies and discriminatory hiring practices.

He was no social justice warrior, he was about that action.

We are celebrating Black History Month and we recently finished Valentine’s Day. So a message of love to the black community feels timely. But I also have a deep love for people that want more for themselves. I want to see them succeed.

I mentor men and women from all backgrounds. I read books and listen to podcasts from any and everyone that can help me advance my objectives. I refuse to hire or work with people on the basis of race. Through my time leading a company, I’ve learned the most important thing is to bring on the person that can get the job done. You get no favors from me based on race. You have to be qualified.

I love being black more than my position in politics, the title I have at my organization or the accolades I’ve received over the years. I love it too much to hate anything or anyone else. I am overwhelmed with love and obsessed with our liberation.

Book Recommendations: The One ThingMaster The Money Game

Music Recommendation: A Seat at The Table

Twitter: @StevonCook

SF Examiner: School Board President, musician Fantastic Negrito Celebrate Black History Month

Stevon Cook