- - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION

The third of three parts on what “Go Your Own Way” really means.

As I described it in previous blog posts, the TRUTH Card empowers millions of African Americans and people of color with a new viable financial solutions for those who cannot get a bank account, ultimately freeing themselves from alternative check-cashing or payday-lending options. Finally ridding their lives of these high fees and vicious, never-ending lending cycle’s. Added to that, the TRUTH Card is the only prepaid debit card that gives back to the community that supports it.

(See why options are needed, Part one, and how to make a difference, Part two.)

This is the right thing to do. By comparison, allowing millions of Americans to knuckle under the weight of advanced check cashing is the wrong thing to do (even though that practice, which is ruining African American communities, is quite disturbingly endorsed and advertised by some of the most prominent African American pitchmen in the world. (But that’s another story.)

Why do I write about this? Because what Halo4Empowerment has done in launching the TRUTH Card is exactly what I mean by going your own way. The company recognized a systemic problem within their community, were incensed about it, got passionate about finding a solution once and for all, and then conceived and delivered one. They believed in themselves, considered a less traveled approach, stopped complaining and started acting, and made something good happen in the world.

Another way to describe what HALO4 did is that it found its voice. Halo4Empowerment’s founder Jeffrey DeHaven found his voice. And voice, to me, is the intersection of talent, passion, conscience and need in the world. That’s exactly what I try to teach and instill in my students every day at the Center for Coaching and Student Success at MTSU – to find their Voice, to go their own way, and to change the world.

This three-part blog series has been about more than just going your own way and finding your voice, though. It has been about bringing to light the fact that a major sociological problem has been solved, and solved the right way, and that not just African American consumers but people of all races reading this blog can take action. Greed drives the opposite of taking action. For far too long, far too many people have been making far too much money on the backs of the African American community, and they have done it because they won’t do the right thing. The TRUTH Card, to me, is the antidote.

This story also offers proof that when you have a vision, do the work, exhibit the passion, and go your own way, people will climb on board with you to support you and ferry you on their backs to the culmination of your dreams – especially if it will result in helping other people. HALO4 alone is evidence of this. As Mr. DeHaven summarizes “I wanted to create an awareness that congregated together, the African American people were the strongest race on earth. For too long African American communities have not operated as one. I pray everyday that the TRUTH Card becomes a vehicle of trust, faith and honor. That brings us together.

“HALO4,” he said, “wants every company to take notice of our objectives and earn the business of the African American people. All they ask for is to be treated fairly and given the TRUTH!”

I started this blog by talking about the fact that my office is located across the street from a Confederate cemetery, and that down the street in each direction — not much farther than one would have to go to find a bank — there are retail check-cashing locations with colorful signs imploring people to visit. But here is something else that is (as the crow flies) not very far from my office. And that is the Rutherford County jail.

It is commonplace in America for jails and prisons to provide time-served inmates with a commissary check to help them restart their lives upon their release back in to society. Can you guess what most of these former inmates – too large of a percentage of whom are African Americans – do with that check? They head straight to a check-cashing location (up until now they haven’t really had a choice), give it away (for far more than a $5.95 fee) and, yes, often start doing bad things all over again.

By comparison, according to Mr. DeHaven, research shows that released inmates who walk out of jail or prison with a prepaid debit card or bank account in their possession see their recidivism rates drop by 50 percent. This is a perfect example of how financial empowerment comes in many forms.

This is a call to action: African Americans and others who wish to empower African Americans have a responsibility to embrace the TRUTH Card, as it is the first tool to congregate the African American people to help each other. They’re not asking you to buy anything new. They’re just asking that when you do buy something to use a card that will give back to the rebuilding of these communities and the empowerment of these souls. If everyone who reads this blog sends out on their social media channels to go to mytruthcard.com and orders their card today, this time next year they will have become part of something bigger than themselves.

With the TRUTH Card, people can get to control their own financial destiny. They can fix their own financial problem. It doesn’t matter anymore what other people are doing or are trying to do to them financially. There are other options.

Together, we have the opportunity to make real change. All we have to do is go our own way and embrace the truth.

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