Conscious Conversation: How Does Gentrification Impact Local Youth?


Influential Source presents Conscious Conversation: How Does Gentrification Impact Local Youth?

This month’s #consciousconvo will focus on the subject of gentrification and the impact it has on local youth. Many discussions on the issue of gentrification have centered on its impact in regard to housing affordability and resident socioeconomic status. However, as rapid development forces local communities to evolve, what is the impact of development on youth living in gentrifying communities? Also, what is the effect of gentrification on the lives of youth that are displaced from these communities.

There are many aspects of community transformation that have serious implications for local youth, such as access to employment opportunities and changing school demographics.

Join us on April 27 to engage in a conscious conversation with local experts and community members on the effects of gentrification on local youth. We’ll begin at 6:00 pm with informal networking, and the conversation will begin promptly at 6:30 pm.

Format: Connect, Converse, Create!

Isaac Addae, Assistant Professor
College of Business, Tennessee State University

Christiane Buggs
Assistant Director of TRIO Programs, Tennessee State University
MNPS School Board Candidate, District 5

Eric Capehart
Founder, All The King’s Men, Inc.

Jackson Miller
MNPS School Board Candidate, District 7

Lagra Newman
Founder & Head of School, Purpose Preparatory Academy Charter School

Molette Investment Services –
Knowledge Bank Nashville –



Conscious Conversation: Is Gentrification Really a Bad Thing?


Influential Source presents Conscious Conversation: Is Gentrification Really a Bad Thing?

This month’s #consciousconvo will focus on the subject of gentrification. As a topic that has drawn much criticism in discussions centered on economic and community development, gentrification has become commonplace in urban America. Within the Nashville metropolitan region gentrification is occurring in a widespread manner. Evidence suggests that this trend will continue in the foreseeable future.

Given the low likelihood of a reversal in this trend, how do local communities cope with the permanent effects of gentrification? Is it possible for displaced community residents to benefit from gentrification?

Join us on February 25th to engage in conscious conversation with local experts and community members on the topic of gentrification.

Format: Connect, Converse, Create!
Moderator: Isaac Addae

Tifinie Capehart
Realtor, Silverpoint Properties

Brian Sexton
Affordable Housing Development Specialist, New Level Community Development Corp.

DJ Wootson
Principal, Titus Young Real Estate

Kwanzaa Nashville –
Nashville Social Butterfly –


Why I Love Cycling

Many people have taken notice to my love for cycling. I’ve always enjoyed riding a bike. In college, I twice participated in Bike-A-Thon with my Alpha brothers, where we rode from Nashville to Memphis for charitable purposes. Even after college, I would occasionally ride my mountain bike on local trails. I started road cycling toward the end of August 2014, and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Running was beginning to negatively impact my knees and I needed a more fun way to stay fit and manage my blood pressure.

I can honestly say that road cycling has changed my life. The past 9 months have been filled with many difficult life challenges, and I don’t believe I would have endured without the psychological benefits of cycling. In addition, I’ve achieved a level of physical fitness that I’m certain will increase longevity. I encourage any and everyone to give cycling a try. The cycling community is great and full of wonderful people. You’ll meet knew friends, challenge yourself (physically, mentally, spiritually) and have fun along the way. I highly recommend it!

Children of Ghana

Child of Ghana

I can still see their faces, vividly clear in my mind. The bright, glowing smiles. The youthful energy and excitement. Their yearning for a better future. The children I’ve interacted with in the various rural villages of Ghana all exude the same positiveness and ambition. They want to be educated in what they know to be “good schools.” It appears that throughout their entire lives, they’ve been told that the schools they attend are subpar. They’ve heard stories of other kids who went to “good schools” and how the higher quality education led to markedly improved life outcomes. Yet the abject poverty that surrounds them relegates these children to realities far from their dreams.

The mindset of the youth in Ghana starkly contrasts what I’ve observed from American youth living in the poorest communities. These children are afforded opportunities to receive free education, typically including free transportation and in some cases subsidized or free meals. They are essentially “privileged” in comparison to youth in developing nations. Surprisingly, in my conversations with American youth, I’ve observed a lack focus on a vision for the future. I guess this could be considered a basic dilemma of the “haves” and “have nots.” Will things ever change? Only time will tell.

100,000 Miles & Running: Life & Longevity

100,001 miles on speedometerToday my 2004 Honda Civic officially logged over 100,000 miles. Leading up to this milestone, I was planning to capture the magical moment and share it with my social network. Somehow I totally missed the 100k mark, and just so happened to glance at the dashboard as it was turning to 100,001. Oh well, that’s first world problem right?

As my car hit the 100k milestone, I reflected on the relatively problem-free duration of ownership. While somewhat dated (if you consider ten years to be old) the car has provided the reliability one expects from a Japanese brand. Although it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles I desire, the car meets my basic requirement, safely getting me from point A to point B. I’m certainly looking forward to getting another 100,000 miles out of the car (unless I upgrade to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class I’ve longed for) and I’m definitely going to step up the care I provide to the vehicle.

After thinking about my car’s milestone, I began correlating its journey with my own life journey. Just like the car, throughout my life I’ve lived through many ups and downs, sunshine and rain, good days and bad. There are even times when I’ve neglected maintaining my physical health just like I’ve often skipped maintenance checks for the car. For the most part, I’ve taken good care of the car from an operational perspective, but I’ve also gone long periods without taking time out to keep the car in pristine condition with regular car washes, etc. I’m also guilty of pushing myself so hard at times, that I’ve failed to maintain the physical and mental health needed to ensure longevity in life.

Even though I’ve only lived around 30 years, it feels like I’ve crammed a lifetime of stress and strain into that timeframe. I recognize that I’ve subjected myself to extreme levels of pressure in pursuit of my life’s goals. What I’m now realizing more that ever is the importance of regular maintenance and care needed for a sound mind and body. In order to survive another thirty years, I’ll have to more effectively balance my family responsibilities with career and academic pursuits.

Unlike the car I drive on a daily basis, there is no way to easily replace me, or anyone else for that matter. We’ve only been given one life to live. As the world continues to change and the pressures to do more with less continue to be pushed upon us, it is critical to focus on maintaining sound physical and mental health. While providing the maintenance needed to push my car to the next 100,000 miles, I’m also going to increase the level of attention I give to my own health. Hopefully by the time I upgrade to the luxurious E-Class Benz, my own physical and mental health will be considered premium or top-of-the-line.

Dont Quit, Set Goals

GoalsI always find it amusing when I randomly come across pieces of paper on which I’ve jotted notes about future goals.  These random moments may not actually be all that random though.  They tend to occur at times when I’m confused about the direction my life is heading.  It’s during those times when I question every aspect of my existence.

However, when I read the note where I’ve written my goals, the picture becomes clear again.  As if a future version of my self (that has already achieved everything I intend to do) appears out of no where with my future already scripted out.  That person on paper seems so amazing to me, and I can’t wait to meet him.  I know this might sound crazy, but hey, I’m just being honest.

If there’s any lesson to take from my ramblings, it’s this.  During a rare moment of clarity, jot notes about what you want your future to be.   Then stick those notes in the most obscure places.  You’ll thank yourself later when you become frustrated with the path you’re on, and one of those notes pops up and reminds you of your purpose.  Stay focused, don’t quit, set goals.

Avoiding Shiny Object Syndrome: Staying Focused & Minimizing Distractions

Shiny Objects 1I’ve always known that my interests are vast and varied.  Sometimes I even amaze myself in terms of the diverse knowledge that I possess, and my ability to focus on many different things.  But what I’m now beginning to understand is the importance of being focused on fewer things.  Whenever I see something that catches my eye, I tend to jump in with both feed to learn more about it, or get engaged in some way.  However, if I continue this trend, it will prove to be problematic in the future.

Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to eliminate things from the forefront of my mind, and concentrate on the most important things in front of me.  Given my belief in divine intervention, I always look at situations and circumstances as purpose-driven occurrences.  Whether through a new network connection, or through the discovery of an interesting topic, I always feel that these occurrences happen for a reason.  In the past I viewed these occurrences as things I needed to pursue, for one reason or another.  As I’ve gotten older and taken on more responsibilities, I now consider these random occurrences as distractions.  I view their purpose as motivation to hone my ability to focus, essentially teaching me how to resist Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS).

Not to be confused with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), SOS is less of a cognitive disorder, and more of an innate inclination to get distracted by ideas.  I believe a link exists between SOS and the presence of an entrepreneurial mindset.  Entrepreneurs, from the Kirznerian perspective, are considered to be alert individuals that are always scanning their environment for potential opportunities.  Entrepreneurially-alert individuals are constantly evaluating environmental cues, in search of the next business opportunity, and can easily suffer from SOS.  However, you don’t have to be a business owner to have an entrepreneurial mindset, as this perspective can be applied to all aspects of life.  However, the fact that you do think entrepreneurially means that you may be likely to suffer from SOS.

I recently read an article on Addicted to Success that offered some useful tips for overcoming the effects of SOS.  While the article is focused specifically on business ownership, I believe these four tips can be applied by anyone fighting the “shiny object” urge.  Check out the tips below, and let me know what methods you implement to overcome SOS.

  • Step 1: Create a running list of all your ideas
  • Step 2: Pause before you start anything
  • Step 3: View your new ideas through the lens of your long-term goal(s)
  • Step 4: Don’t make crucial business decisions every day

*These tips were originally posted in Addicted for Success*

What Are You Passionate About?

Passion 2

I came across these powerful words on Facebook the other day, and thought it would be worthwhile to share.  I’ve always been focused on living life in a way that fulfills my purpose, while also engaging in things that I’m passionate about.  It may not always be possible to connect your vocation to your passion, but I believe that this is a goal we should all strive for.  Achieving this goal may require you to make difficult changes, and you may not always have the support of the people in your inner circle.  But sometimes you have to trust in yourself, and make a leap of faith.  Once you get to a place where your passion is directly connected to how you make a living, you’ll never want to go back.

Why Ask Why?

Why 3When I was a kid I would always ask my father numerous questions about why things were the way they were. “Why did you do that?” “Where are you going?” Why did you name me Isaac?” The list of questions was endless as I had, and still have, an insanely inquisitive mind. Despite the seriousness in my voice when asking questions, my father would always jokingly reply, “Because ‘y’ has a long tail!” We would both laugh hysterically and my question would go unanswered. I guess this was his way of temporarily quelling my thirst for knowledge. As an adult I still wonder about various things as if I were a child all over again and pose questions to myself. Instead of getting my father’s canned response, I often answer my own question by stating “That’s just the way it is.” Just as in my childhood, I’ve never been satisfied with this response.

It’s funny how we as people can live our lives following traditional paths. As children, most of us were taught to pursue education and eventually a career. Being the well-behaved children we were, we pushed hard through high school and college to land the treasured JOB. Well, I can’t speak for everyone but that’s what I did, largely without questioning. There are many people that took non-traditional routes to achieve their dreams. Some of them succeeded, but many more are as lost as they were the day they began their life pursuit. Those who ventured down the road less trodden were deemed risk-takers by the masses.

Now that it’s my turn to be a parent, I intend to teach my son to be very inquisitive, and question everything. As annoying as it may be for me, I want him to realize that the path others have defined for him doesn’t have the be the path he chooses to follow. Instead of blindly focusing on goals others set for you, the better approach would be to ask why and then focus on determining the path you should follow. Adhering to my parent’s advice led me down that path where I could achieve success. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have been successful by going against the grain and blazing my own trail.