Strength In Numbers

To gain real economic and social power, you'll need to compete in a world that is drastically changing in size and diversity. here's how.

elected to lead the USHCC in August of 1998. A strong advocate for the Hispanic bu
siness community, he communicates the needs of more than 1 million Latino American-owned businesses to the public and private sectors. Herrera is co-founder of the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and creator of NBC’s Hispanic Business Today, the first ever Latino-American business television program. He was recently recog-nized as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by Hispanic Business magazine.

Randal Pinkett, scholar on building institutions
Generation X is the first generation of African Americans who have full access to institutions. Because of our parents, and our parents’ parents’ fight to get into corporate America, prestigious universities, and the upper echelon of social economics, we didn’t have to fight to open doors. We didn’t have to fight to get into Harvard, AT&T, and fight to get into the upper class.

The challenge of our generation is to leverage those opportunities that our parents and their parents opened for us as a means to social, economic, and political power. With the generation before us, we see mayors and senators. We have mayors in major cities such as Detroit, and we run Atlanta. But we still haven’t transmitted that into true economic power.

We have to begin to pull our resources together and build our own institutions. I’m talking about entities that will exist long after we have left this world. The companies many work for are institutions. Viable nonprofit organizations are institutions. Schools are institutions. So, I’m not talking about Amway. And I’m not talking about mom-and-pop operations. Mom-and-pop stores are nice, but that’s what the last generation was poised to do — open storefronts and independent consulting firms. That might represent the means to what I’m envisioning, but certainly not the ends. We are poised for much greater accomplishments.

Randal D. Pinkett is a Rhodes scholar currently working on his doctorate in the Epistemology and Learning Group of the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He holds four degrees: a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rutgers University; an M.S. in computer science from Keble College, Oxford University; as well as an M.B.A. and an M.S. in electrical engineering from MIT.

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