Bob Johnson in Haiti

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This is a picture of Haiti President Rene Preval, Mr. Robert Johnson, and Youri Mevs (left to right). These three principals have teamed up to build a manufacturing plant in Haiti for construction materials. The end result is that they will create jobs, develop infrastructure, and produce housing. In the midst of a devastating earthquake, these innovative and industrious leaders are responding not with a hand out, but a hand up. Many of our local inner city communities need just this type of creativity to pull itself up by its proverbial "boot straps." I remember Bob Johnson from the early days of BET meeting in church basements advocating for participation of African Americans in media. Along with the late Purial Marshall, I was blessed to participate in those meetings and to challenge local radio and television stations to change their policies towards hiring, promotion and programming. During the 1970's and 1980's we felt that direct action would produce changes. Mr. Johnson sense then the need to control programming. In the long run he was correct. Unfortunately the economics of the business made it very lucrative to sell his interests and cash out. It's good to see that with his many interests he is using his talents and resources to enter into the fray and seek to improve the quality of life of resident of Haiti over the long term. I wish them the best!

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