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A new column seeks to add diverse voices to TeBurg. BY WENDY JACKSON-DOWE


n November 2013, I was having coffee in the downtown location of Little Amps when I was introduced to Lawrance Binda. Well, my mind immediately starting racing and I thought, “Yep,

I’m going to ask him!”… so I did. I knew Lawrance was editor-in-chief of TeBurg, a magazine I really enjoyed reading and looked forward to each month. However, each issue seemed absent of a perspective that, in my opinion, was and is quite necessary to share, particularly in central Pennsylvania. Te perspective I’m referring to is that of the progressive and professional black population in our region. As I have shared with some who cared to know (and perhaps some who didn’t), most of my adult life has been lived outside of Harrisburg in places like Nashville, Chicago and Maryland. You may wonder, “What does this have to do with anything relative to TeBurg?” It is, in fact, the impetus of the “ask” I made of Lawrance—or LB as some call him. Although Harrisburg is my hometown and my family has deep roots here, I sometimes struggle with the realization that I now live here and am raising my impressionable children in this region. When I left Harrisburg in 1980 to go to Fisk University as an impressionable, eager college freshman, I soon was exposed to—and interacted with—black folk who owned banks, motels and insurance companies;

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who published national magazines and were transplant surgeons; who owned multiple luxury car dealerships and investment banking firms; who leased their sprawling acreage to railroad companies. Tis exposure left quite an impression on me, as it would anyone. So my “ask” of LB was to add a perspective to

the magazine that highlights success stories from the greater Harrisburg black community, past and present, as they relate to intellectualism, economic empowerment,

fiscal leadership, the sciences,

banking, etc. We embody incredible intellectual capital, and, too often, it is omitted, overlooked, slanted or simply spoken about within an insular setting.

As stated in my first article published in the magazine, too often black folk are lauded for our superior athleticism or our exceptional ability to entertain. We are barraged with the negative images of black boys and men in the news. Now, people certainly should be held accountable for their actions. However, I feel these images cannot be the only prominent images of black men, young and old, that my children and members of the greater population believe to be true. Tis dynamic also added to my eagerness to make “the ask.” Tere is no stopping the “browning of America,”

and, if we are to live together, we must have constructive dialogues that work toward the greater good, work in teams that are efficient and productive, hire one another, take direction from each other, provide constructive criticism, successfully apply for business loans, and rely on one another to protect our communities. We must teach our young, award contracts to each other, and promote those who may look a little different to positions of power. We must make a greater effort to get to know each other outside of often-superficial workplace relationships. You won’t read about a victim mentality in my

articles. You will read stories of hard work, stories of a tenacious desire to reach a goal, stories of pride, stories of economic empowerment, stories of a dignified people. My hope is to inspire, to move people to engage one another, to open minds to make considerations where one may not have before. Some may call it bold; I call it common sense. So, again, I say, thank you to Lawrance Binda who saw value in my “ask” and who provides me a platform to do my part to make a positive difference in my space of the world in central Pennsylvania and beyond.

You can reach Wendy Jackson-Dowe at

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