By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM
Black Eyed Peas,
Watch Night, and
The Power Of Prayer
Dear Valuable Friends, Clients, and Colleagues:
From my home to yours, I wish you rich blessings into the New Year. Here is a special article I created about the history of Watch Night Service in the African American community. The tradition predates the importance of the famous 1862 Watch Night Services and originated with the Moravians in Germany many years earlier. However, it is particularly important in the Black Church, with its evolution in the early to mid-1800s.
Wishing You The Best in 2016 !
Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA CDMP, CITM
The History Of Watch Night Services
In The Black Church
by Carole Copeland Thomas
With the festivities of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa now on full display, there is still time to reflect on the ritual of my ancestors and many other African Americans, whose forefathers sat around campfires and wood stoves in the twilight of December 31, 1862. There they sang spirituals acapella, prayed, and thanked the Good Lord for what was about to happen the next day.
A Look Back...153 Years Ago Tonight...
It was on January 1, 1863 amidst the cannon fire, gun shots, and burnings at the height of the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln sealed his own fate and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It begins with the following decree:
Whereas on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, towit:
"That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
"That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States."
CAROLE' S TRANSLATION:
Effective January 1, 1863 all slaves in the states in rebellion against the Union are free.
Technically that is all that President Lincoln could do at the time. He used his wartime powers as Commander in Chief to liberate the "property" of the states in rebellion of the Union. The act did not free the slaves of the Union or border states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, or West Virginia) or any southern state under Union control (like parts of Virginia). It would take the 13th Amendment (that freed all slaves in 1865), the Union Army winning the Civil War (April 9, 1865), and the assassination of President Lincoln (shot on April 14th and died on April 15, 1865) for all of the slaves to be freed. That included the liberation of the slaves in rebellious Texas on June 19, 1865 (Juneteenth Day) and finally the ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 18, 1865, giving all black people freedom and permanently abolishing slavery in the US.
So in 1862 on the eve of this great era, the slaves "watched", prayed, and waited. My ancestors, including Bishop Wesley John Gaines of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and the other four million slaves prayed for divine guidance and an empowered Abraham Lincoln to do the right thing. It is as important today as the tradition of black people eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day for good luck.
That is the history of Watch Night in the African American culture.
May you and your family enjoy a spirit filled New Year throughout 2016. Thank you for ALL of your support you have given to me and my business throughout 2015.
Nancy J. Lewis, MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
Today more than ever before, it is important to make sure you keep some
basic principles in mind whether you are a business owner or corporately attached. The world is getting smaller and smaller and it is vital that you
strive to make sure you are a principle centered business professional. Following are three core principles I feel are essential for building sound relationships that can help you in your career and business.
1. Honoring and keeping promises. It is critical that before you make a commitment or promise you plan to keep it. So often we say I will call you back or get back with you in the next day and it does not happen. Now we all know that life happens and if an emergency situation occurs, you may not
be able to fulfill the commitment. But because we live in a digital age, a text or email informing others of what happened would be helpful. To simply not respond is impacting your reputation and integrity level. The world is very, very small and it is important to ask yourself the following questions before you commit:
1) Why do I need to attend this event?
2) How will this help me in my strategic business and career goals?
3) What is the demographics of the persons in attendance?
4) Would my time be better utilized working on marketing and follow up with clients?
Based on your response, you might want to say no. Remember it is better
to under promise and over deliver. Integrity is a lot easier to maintain than
2. Take responsibility for your actions. When you make an error or miss a deadline, instead of making excuses take ownership of what you did and get busy with action steps to fix it. Remember you either win or learn. When mistakes occur where you fall short, simply step back from the situation and analyze what happened and accept your part in the dilemma. It allows you the ability to spend time looking for ways to resolve the situation as opposed to trying to blame others for what you didn't do. The true mark of a leader is being accountable and responsible for his/her actions.
3. Keep a positive attitude. Choose to embrace each day with an attitude of gratitude. It doesn't always mean everything is going great in your life, but is shows how you have determined you will handle it. It is having the courage to not whine and instead, choose to win. It is choosing to make your obstacles your steppingstones to greatness and letting your trials develop in you the resolve to triumph and walk in victory.
Happy Day. Happy Work.
By Debra W. Gould, MS
Do you ever lose sight of work? Do you get tired, unmotivated, burned out? At times like this, it’s important to look at the reasons why we enjoy our work. We will share three reasons why we enjoy work—not including the pay, of course. Here are three more.
Sense Of Team
Some people enjoy a special sense of completeness and wholeness by experiencing teamwork. In the workplace, many employers work hard to encourage this shared identity by conducting internal PR and messaging campaigns. For quieter teammates, a sense of camaraderie might provide an extremely important opportunity to connect and feel as though they belong.
For some, a special sense of joy comes from physical exertion, and the absence of it makes any job less appealing. It just doesn’t feel like work to some people if they aren’t breaking a sweat or doing battle with the weather. This is partly a product of socialization and might be related to what “work” means to them. Modern day psychology re-affirms the benefits from physical labor. We all know how endorphins can give us a slight high and everyone knows about the stress-management benefits created when we work out.
Finally, a great many of us enjoy the special mental satisfaction that comes from exercising our creativity or satisfying our curiosity. For some, the small euphoria that comes from developing something new or conquering a complex problem can be a big part of enjoying work.
So, what can be done to help others enjoy their work? The answer is simple: treat the cause, not the symptoms. Ask an employee if she feels connected to the team or if she is challenged. Stepping back and reflecting on each of these motivators can guide any manager or employee toward creating a more enjoyable workplace.
Debra W. Gould, MS is the president of Debra Gould & Associates, Inc. based in New Orleans and provides management consulting and training services to commercial and government clients. Debra is one of the founders of The Ebony Speakers and co-author of the book, Real Women, Real Issues - Positive Collaborations For Business Success. Debra can be reached at: (504) 244-6576,
email: email@example.com and
Five Lessons I Learned from Kita
By Michelle Porchia
Kita is a 19-month-old Pug/Chihuahua that I rescued in September. Kita came from a no-kill ranch that rescues strays and dogs from shelters, crate trains them, sometimes leash trains, microchips, spays/neuters, deworms, and provides medical care (heart worming, shots, etc.). Some of the dogs live on the farm and some go to foster homes until they are found a forever home. The ranch functions on donations, volunteers, and from the fee you pay for a dog. The procedure is to visit the website, identify dogs you are interested in, and schedule an appointment to visit.
In the month that I have had her, I have learned several business and personal lessons.
1. No matter how much pre-work you do, you don’t always get your first choice but you always get the right answer. I had visited the website several times and identified four dogs. Two ended up being adopted before my appointment. The night before my appointment, I went on the site and identified a few more potential dogs. After visiting with seven of the eight dogs, I was starting to become disillusioned. The person reminded me I had one dog left—Kita. It was love at first sight for both of us.
In business, we can research and prepare to attract certain clients. Yet sometimes our clients are the least expected. I never would have thought I would have done a team-building session for a funeral home staff. I did, and they were a great client.
2. Size doesn’t always matter. I’ve always been a big dog person. My preference would have been to have a Rottweiler. However, since I live in a small apartment and don’t have a yard, it was best to get a smaller dog. Kita is perfect for my space and she has a big dog personality in a small body. Most important for me, she is not the “ankle barker” that I always saw little dogs as.
In business, often we focus on the large corporations when independently owned businesses could use and benefit from our services just as well.
3. Sometimes we have to stand still and stand firm. Kita weighs a whopping 13 pounds. She walks well on the leash. Sometimes, though, she will stop and look around. She will not move when I ask her to heel or come. She stands firm. Then, when she's ready, she comes right along.
No matter who is prompting us to go in a particular direction, sometimes we have to stand still and stand firm before making a move or a decision.
4. Show appreciation. When training a dog in the basic commands, you use treats to reward them when they do something right. You also say, “Good job” or “Good boy/girl."
Friends, family and employees want to feel valued and appreciated. We don’t reward with treats but acknowledging when they are doing something well is key in a relationship, especially with coworkers and/or employees. When people feel appreciated, they want to go above and beyond for you.
5. Find your place in the sun (take time for you and have fun). Of course, I must mention the importance of taking time for you. I love being outside and in the sun. Hurray— so does Kita! She loves walking around outdoors. When we sit outside at Starbucks (where she does very well), and when she’s done people watching (something that is also fun to do when you are taking a break), she lays down in the sun. She has the option of being in the shade but usually chooses the sun.
Sometimes you just need to stretch out and enjoy your time in the sun or wherever it is that makes you feel relaxed.
We can use all these lessons I've learned from Kita as they relate to our personal and professional lives.
By Carole Copeland Thomas, MBA, CDMP, CITM
It was nonstop interaction about multiculturalism, global diversity and inclusion at the 9th Multicultural Conference held on Thursday November 5th at the University Massachusetts Boston Campus. Guest speakers from Chennai, India to Boston informed, educated and inspirited the audience about the new trends, key issues and challenges facing global diversity around the world. From Keynote Speakers to our State Street Corporation Distinguished Panel Presentation to our ever-popular Roundtable Sessions, there was something for everyone interested in advancing the cause of multiculturalism. Enjoy the photos and videos (coming soon) and join us for the next Multicultural Conference scheduled for Thursday November 3, 2016.
-Carole Copeland Thomas
Book Debra, Michelle, Nancy or Carole for your next speaking engagement or training event.