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29 Aug 2014

Press Release

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Greater Houston Black Chamber Of Commerce Announces
ELITE Change, Inc. As 2014 Pinnacle Awards Finalist

Houston-Based Public Affairs Firm Recognized As Finalist for the 20th Annual Pinnacle Awards

For Immediate Release

August 25, 2014 – (HOUSTON, TX) – The Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce (GHBC) revealed Houston-based public affairs firm ELITE Change, Inc. as a finalist for the 2014 Pinnacle Awards in an announcement released Friday.

Founded in 1935 as the city’s first African-American civic organization, the GHBC has evolved into an active participant in the City of Houston’s socioeconomic process. The GHBC helps its partners and members navigate Houston’s large, diverse population, industries and the many nuances, which are unique to our city. The GHBC is Houston’s premier source for identifying quality and qualified African-American, multi-sectored small businesses to do business with. The organization has a database of over 2,000 unique resources and members.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by such an important organization that focuses on the prosperity and growth of Black businesses in Houston,” said ELITE Change, Inc. President & CEO Dallas S. Jones. “Our company is founded on the principle of empowering the communities in which we work, so we are truly humbled to be recognized by a true pillar of the community in the GHBC.”

The Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce’s Pinnacle Awards honors African-American businesses that have achieved success by combining vision, determination, perseverance, and dedication to building strong communities. The winners will be awarded during the 20th Annual Pinnacle Awards Black Tie Gala on Friday October 11, 2014, 7:00 pm at the Power Center. The GHBC will host its Pinnacle Awards Nominee Reception on Thursday August 28, 2014 from 6-8pm at the Ensemble Theatre, 3535 Main Street.

ELITE Change, Inc.is public affairs consulting firm dedicated to making a difference in todays political and business settings by empowering organizations and individuals to be leaders in the communities they serve. ELITE Change specializes in Public Affairs, Strategic Communications, and Business Development. The company boasts a prominent client list of non-profits, corporations, and elected officials across many levels of government. Their client list includes Verizon, Major League Baseball (MLB), Lyft, Marshall Retail Group, NAACP, Stand for Children, State Senator Rodney Ellis, and Houston City Councilmembers Dwight Boykins and Larry Green, amongst many others.

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25 Aug 2014

The Middle Is Missing

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By: Max Moll

I find it hard to sleep sometimes.

It’s often due to one of the major culprits – a cup of coffee consumed too late in the day, a project left uncompleted, the things done that day, the things yet to be done for the next day, the internal struggle of achievements attained and ambitions unreached. The list goes on, but you probably get the point. It’s likely that we all have that one thing that makes it hard for us to rest. I guess that’s just part of this life we lead.

But last night was different.

Last night I found myself in a mental space that I don’t often like stirring in. As I scrolled through the bits of news from the day that I had missed that morning, I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into hopelessness. ISIS, Iraq, the senseless killing of an American journalist; Hamas, Israel, Palestine, the bloodshed; Michael Brown, Ferguson, MO, another young man gunned down for no real reason besides the color of his skin. It was a lot.

“The world sure seems to be coming unhinged,” I thought as I continued to scroll through my iPad. As I ran out of new stories to digest, I ended up in the place where common sense, compassion, and civility go to die – the comments section. As to why I ended up there, I’m not sure. I certainly knew what I was getting myself into. In a day where the seething hatred of others can reach countless people in a matter of seconds, with the relative anonymity of the author protected by a computer screen and keyboard, I should’ve have seen it coming.

Take for example, a story that framed a comment from President Obama to sound as if he thought that withdrawing troops from Iraq was a bad idea and all President Bush’s fault. For the purposes of this piece – as well as personal posterity – I took a screenshot to capture the true essence of what I’m talking about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It really is unbelievable. Again, for the sake of posterity I took a screenshot of the Facebook comments on the same article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I sorted through my thoughts before composing this piece, I finally realized why I found it hard to sleep last night. Even through all of the problems going on in the world, I found myself most troubled by the idiocy of the comments section. Due in large part to the biases of contemporary media outlets, the prominence of social media, and the polarization of today’s political environment, it seems as though we’ve lost the ability to have constructive discourse. What used to be a bedrock principle our system has now mostly become a pie-in-the-sky dream of our forefathers.

Sure, there have always been those who hold very negative opinions of our elected officials – George W. Bush caught a lot of it, Bill Clinton did as well – but we are currently seeing hatred reaching brand new heights (or depths?) Don’t believe it? Just look at the comments above in regards to our President.

“Only reason he got elected was he was black.” “He is Arab, not Black.” “But he knew to pull the race card because he knew that would be the only way he could get elected to ruin OUR not his country!” Another comment links to an article declaring President Obama as a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Honestly, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

If the comments themselves are troubling, it’s the undertones are truly damning. That conversation is for another piece, but let’s just say that the undertones are in the same vein as clamoring for our President’s birth certificate and the ridiculous claims of “SOCIALIST! MARXIST!” Yeah, those undertones.

That said, these are just small, anecdotal examples of a larger question – will we ever be able to meet in the middle again? Will we ever be able to stop the mud flinging and elementary name-calling? Will we ever be able to stop talking about “left” ideas and “right” ideas, and come up with good ideas? Is our system under so much stress from both sides that it will eventually break? Has it already? I’m not sure, but I sure hope not.

When operating as it should, our political system is unlike any other seen in the history of this world. When we put aside petty partisan differences and replace them with a common belief that we can work together to help build the greater good, we achieve things no other country in the world can. That is what makes us uniquely American, and what makes this country greater than the rest.

Maybe this a hope based in naiveté, but I hope that we can reach that place again. That place where our disagreement and discourse leads to results, not partisan divide. That place where “left” and “right” are not stakes in the ground, but leanings that simply make us unique. That place where the middle isn’t missing.