John Hope Bryant Statement on the death of former L.A. Police Chief Willie Williams

John Hope Bryant Statement on the death of former L.A. Police Chief Willie Williams

While on international travel I learned today of the passing of a good man, former LAPD Chief Willie Williams.   Chief Williams was the first African-American ever to serve as chief of police for the Los Angeles Police Department, and really become a central part of the healing process in the weeks, months and years following the Rodney King Riots of 1992. As founder of Operation HOPE, also founded in the backdrop of the Rodney King Riots, and a then member of the RLA (Rebuild LA) Board of Directors, I worked closely with the chief and his team. I even became an LAPD Specialist Reserve Police Officer under Chief Williams for a time, using the power of brainpower, not gunpowder, to solve many of the problems and challenges we found that were facing the city at that time. Chief Williams does not get the credit he deserves for ‘stepping into the gap’ of change back then, but I hope that we stop now, to pay our respects.  And to say ‘thank you.’  A personal and heartfelt condolences is sent from the Operation HOPE family, and my family, to the family of Chief Willie Williams today.  Here is a story on his passing. John Hope Bryant, Founder, Operation HOPE Share this:Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...
Freedman’s Bank Renaming Ceremony: Full Text Remarks by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew

Freedman’s Bank Renaming Ceremony: Full Text Remarks by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew

I was without words yesterday at the formal ceremony for the formal renaming of the Freedman’s Bank Building in Washington, D.C., across from the U.S. Treasury Department and the White House. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and his team could not have been more gracious, kind and generous in his formal remarks, which you can in the link here, and below also (reprinted below to make it easy). We were also honored to have the HOPE Global Spokesman,  Ambassador Andrew Young on the program, formally introducing Secretary Lew. The formal renaming ceremony was PACKED.  Standing room only, with leaders from all of the federal regulatory and other important agencies, civil rights icons such as Ambassador Andrew Young and Rev. C.T. Vivian, both Presidential Medal of Freedom awardees, civil and nonprofit leaders, business and other government leaders present. Rev. Vivian is sitting next to me here, on the front row.  The entire day, was just so very special.  It has not all set in yet, but there will be plenty of time in the future to appreciate it all — as now and forever more, the new Freedman’s Bank Building will stand forever in history. The new Freedman’s Bank Building is the only building within the 18 acre White House Complex dedicated in the spirit of both former African-American slaves (4 million of them at the time), as well as all of the poor and the underserved — of all races and places — who have genuinely aspired to ‘do more’ with their lives until this day. A special thank you to CBC Member Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, who literally flew across...
A New Year’s Salute to our Late Father — Mr. Johnie Will Smith

A New Year’s Salute to our Late Father — Mr. Johnie Will Smith

Last night, exactly one year on New Year’s Eve, our dad passed on to be with our Lord. Or as I said at the time of his passing, dad has been ‘promoted.’  Gone on to a better place. Today, we remember him. My mother remembers dad mostly for how he treated her children, even though he was not their birth father (my sister Montie, and my brother Donnie).  He treated them like they were his own, loving them unconditionally. My brother Donnie (Dave “Donnie” Harris)  remembers dad for his unconditional love, and how he encouraged him to read the Bible, and to keep his heart in Jesus.  He taught him math by learning the time tables. My sister Montie (Mara “Montie” Harris) remembers dad for how patient he was with her.  How he taught her multiplication as a child.  She remembers how at 10 years old, he took her to Beverly Hills for the first time, to get her first set heels.  She even remembers it was grey.  She remembers when she cut her hair to be like the other kids in class, and the cutting didn’t go so well. Dad stood up for her in class so she wouldn’t take a beating. My sister Arleen learned how to be independent and determined.  She even became proficient in the industry dad worked his life in, construction. My dad gave me my work ethic and in many ways, I wear suits today, because my dad wore suits when I was a child.  He was a businessman, and today, I am one. Dad was able to experience many of my high...

John Hope Bryant statement on the Paris tragedy.

There are no adequate works to express my deep pain, and my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families of those who have lost deeply here, with respect to the recent tragedy and senseless terrorist act which has recently hit Paris, France. This is a senseless act, by a heartless and cowardly attacker.  They say this is war, but they attack defenseless citizens of the public who did nothing to them, just like the likewise senseless acts by cowards in Kenya. The world will need to stand up to these bullies, but for the moment,  I and the world stands with our friends and loved ones there in Paris.   At this moment there is only one message — we are with you. What we are seeing and experiencing today in the world, is the slow death of hope. But this can be reversed.   I am dedicating myself to this reversal. A personal and heartfelt condolence to the people of France, from me, Operation HOPE and Global Dignity. John Hope Bryant       Share this:Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new...
John Hope Bryant statement on the passing of Soraya Salti and Jumana Salti

John Hope Bryant statement on the passing of Soraya Salti and Jumana Salti

  I am totally stunned, to learn of the passing of my friend and incredible leader in the Middle East, Soraya Salti, who I knew both as a fellow Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum, and the CEO for Injaz-Al Arab, JA Worldwide, which was the Middle East region’s representation for Junior Achievement. But Soraya was so much more than this position.  She was a light in and for a troubled world. I did not know her sister Jumana Salti, but if she was anything like her sister Soraya, then she was also no doubt a net contributor in a troubled world. Soraya was of one the few people I have ever met in the Middle East (or anywhere in the world for that matter) that had such unique and valuable combination of presence, leadership and substance.  When it came to the topic of youth entrepreneurship and financial literacy empowerment for young people in the region, I simply did not believe that my work was necessary — wherever she operated.  I could simply leave it to Soraya Salti, knowing that there would be best-in-class work being done on the ground, for people. Soraya ~ was an important thought leader in the region. Soraya ~ was a force of nature. Below is but one of the many inspiring videos of Soraya, sharing her vision for the region. When you watch the video, you will also see the powerful and empowering inspiration, and the role modeling, she provided likewise for women and girls throughout the Middle East region. My heart goes out at this difficult time to the families of both Soraya and Jumana Salti.  The...
Learning to get out of your own way…in life.

Learning to get out of your own way…in life.

Earlier today on Facebook, a young lady I have come to admire posted the below message, which I then shared with others in my circle.  The writer is Ms. Lora King, daughter of the late Rodney King, who triggered what we all now know to be the Rodney King Riots.  The same riots, that gave birth to Operation HOPE.  The worst urban riot in U.S. history. Ms. King is a professional today in her own right. An accountant I believe, at a major accounting firm, but I am sure she also has understandable pain tied to her father’s passing. I am sure she has pain tied to people judging her, based on her father. But none of this is her message today. Her message today — is hope.  She is looking pas ego and hurt and blame and pain — and color. She is looking at humanity, and wanting only the best for it, her, and each one of us.  This is a message, we should all applaud and support. If you know Ms. Lora King, send her a note of encouragement.  If you don’t, to her point below, send yourself one (smile). Let’s go… Ms. Lora King — daughter of the late Rodney King — got this 100% right. All should listen. Proud of her. Lora King Get out of the illusion and wake up ! Take advantage of your life! Some of us have reached an age that so many will never see. Stop complaining. …eat right if you tired. Get a job if you tired. Help someone mentally. It’s mental. I am at that point when I...

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