Moving today’s racial discourse from rhetoric to results

The Civil Rights Movement could not have enjoyed a more eloquent spokesperson than the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. His “I Have a Dream” speech remains as relevant, and referenced, today as it was when he made it more than 50 years ago. The challenge when discussing race relations in today’s society, is to elevate that conversation, to move from rhetoric to results. The former inflames, the latter advances. It’s all in the narrative, according to Packer Hall of Famer and current Northeast Wisconsin resident Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. “I have black kids. An ex-teammate once asked me, ‘Have you ever thought twice about raising your kids in this environment where they’re the minority?’ I have a hard time relating to that discussion,” he said. “I’m getting to the point where when I fill out a form that asks for race I’m going to write, ‘human.’” It wasn’t always that way. Born and raised in South Central LA, Gbaja-Biamila initially learned to mistrust white people. “They made you very aware of how we as a people were mistreated,” he said. “I grew up thinking all white people were bad.” A junior high math teacher changed his perception and played a key role in altering the whole trajectory of Kabeer’s life. Mr. Guy Reed not only taught, he also trusted his young student, and the experience had a profound and lasting effect. “For a white guy to give me the keys to the whole school, it really inspired me,” he said. “Mr. Reed was a kind man. He taught me something and I still visit him today.” The steady chipping away of mutual racial biases continued as Kabeer made his way through college and the professional football ranks. One year, Kabeer accepted an internship to help coach track at Pulaski High School. He sensed the coach didn’t trust him, so he made sure to prove him wrong. “I had a feeling that this… | Read More »

Latest Favre headlines champion strong work ethic

Say what you will about former Packer quarterback Brett Favre, but, if a recent article featuring his oldest daughter Brittany Favre-Mallion is any indication, the man and his wife Deanna have done an excellent job raising their daughters. The article celebrates Favre-Mallion’s law school graduation and offers important insight into her motivation. “Mom’s dream was for me to be self-sufficient,” she says in it. “She wants me to be financially independent, but mostly she just wants me to have something that I’ve earned, that no one can take away from me.” With a widely reported net worth of $100 million, the Favre’s could have allowed themselves to fall into the same parental snare that traps other wealthy people — the belief that wealth would be enough to protect their daughters. Instead, from a young age, the couple championed a strong work ethic. In the article Brittany recalls a Saturday morning when she was in high school and her dad woke her up to go for a run. “I told him he was out of his mind if he thought I was going to get up for a run,” she recalled. The Pro Bowl quarterback responded with a life lesson for all of us. “I don’t want to go for a run today, either,” he said. “But you know those guys that’ll be chasing me around on the field in a few months? They’re running today.” That morning talk made a lasting impression on Brittany. “The most important lesson I learned from my dad is that at the end of the day, you just have to put in the work. There’s really no way around it,” she says.