On the heels of the National Urban League Conference in STL and the third anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, we are reminded that the events in Ferguson on August 9, 2014 are not past tense, nor should they be. In the intervening years there have been a wide range of protests, activism, engagement and change movements – all trying to change the status quo. Ferguson 1000 is one way people have reacted locally to the need for economic equity for people of color in St. Louis. Likewise, the Blacks in Tech platform is a targeted effort to demystify, de-stygmatize and drive toward diversity, inclusion and equity in the St. Louis Tech scene.
Ricky M. Wilson, Director of Business Development for Ferguson 1000 and facilitator of Blacks in Tech joins us to talk about his move from inspirational thinking to inspirational doing. From a middle child of five and a serendipitous encounter with a self-made millionaire from his neighborhood to a successful military career and luxury car sales position, Ricky has traveled many roads. In the process his path crossed with Dr. Lance McCarthy and today he is helping to bring the Ferguson 1000 model to Baltimore and other cities. Together we reflect on how this effort is different from other economic empowerment initiatives and what it means to foster entrepreneurship in the Black community through role models, peers and shared lived experiences.