In 2015, the City of Arlington and the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce established the Community Influence Leaders Roundtable (CILR) to represent a cross-section of leaders and community partners to discuss issues related to improving the economic and community development of the city. CILR was a leading advocate urging the City of Arlington’s adoption of a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise policy that set a 25% goal to award contracts on City projects to MWBE companies, and they have cultivated a pipeline for the next generation of African American leaders providing ten scholarships to attend Leadership Arlington over the last four years to further promote an atmosphere of inclusiveness and diversification of the city’s economic base. CILR has been formally adopted into the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce and as such is a strong supporter of the Chamber’s mission to create economic and community prosperity.
After serving on CILR since its inception, Chaplain Rich Stoglin is stepping down as Chair of the group. He wrote a wonderful speech commemorating the moment that is worth sharing with the full Chamber membership.
From Chaplain Rich Stoglin
It is said, when they befriended each other, it was one of the most important friendships of the 19th Century. Indeed, she became his closest confidant who never betrayed his trust. As their friendship deepened, it was then, he said to her, “you must now stand where I have stood because as far as I am concerned, you are ready to take the gavel of leadership.”
Although, she had spoken in places across the country, sometimes at her mentor’s request, several of those assignments proved to be very dangerous. Yet, her bravery, intelligence, and tenacity in many ways were unmatched. It was at that point, the future light of leadership brightened.
Eventually, she would follow his advice and become one of the most important voices in the Women’s Suﬀrage Movement, a strong advocate against lynchings, a better journalist, and one of the founders of the NAACP. His name was Frederick Douglass. Her name was Ida B. Wells.
As Frederick Douglass’ health began to fail, he had worked on his final public speech for months and now with Ida B. Wells secured in her next chapter of leadership responsibilities; he announced what would become his last public address.
So, 9 January 1894 at Washington, DC’s Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, Frederick Douglass delivered his “The Lesson of the Hour,” with the opening of these words, he had shared with his friend and protege—Ida B. Wells:
“No man should come before an audience like the one by whose presence I am now honored, without a noble object and a fixed and earnest purpose.”
Today’s assembly of leaders began with a small idea that expanded into a gigantic reality. Thanks to hard work, a core of leader’s consistency, tenacity and skills sets, while taking the word “no” as vitamins for the journey CILR needed to accomplish, here we are today with a clear and noble purpose.
The Five areas of CILR outlined in its 2021-2026 Strategic Plan is in Marine speak, “on time, on target!”
As we prepare to turn the page of this chapter of the CILR, a quick review of our influence and accomplishments bares repeating.
- June 2015, we began
- Drafted the MWBE initiative for then Mayor Jeﬀ Williams and the Arlington City Council to review and approve.
- Connecting the three higher educational institutions of Arlington to become members of the CILR.
- Influence of recommending a diverse community of leaders to become part of the now Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
- Showcased in several publications of the Arlington Today’s Magazine and Fort Worth Star-Telegram; outlining our presence and initiatives to improve the quality of life within Arlington and Tarrant County.
- Creating a historical relationship with the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce.
- Creating the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce / CILR Leadership initiative to Leadership Arlington.
- Invited numerous subject matter experts on business, economics and community initiatives, along with community leaders to address the CILR on critical topics.
- Improved the vision and support of achieving a better & united business focus that is representative of Arlington’s diversity of citizens and yes, having influence for the creation of the City’s Unity Council.
We accomplished these much-needed initiatives to quote a former US President, “We did these initiatives, not because it was easy, but because they were hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because the challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone.” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put it this why: “It’s in the action, that you discover the true character of the person and not their words.”
In many ways, this is a true description of the Community Influence Leaders Round Table: Here’s how—The former President of Morehouse College, Dr. Robert M. Franklin stated, he wanted leaders who best fit what he called the “5 Wells of Leadership” 1) Well read, 2) Well spoken, 3) Well traveled, 4) Well dressed, 5) Well balanced. Our CILR leaders epitomize those 5 W’s.
Let me conclude by stating the next chapter of the CILR is in great and capable hands. Elena Fernandez is ready to accept the gavel of leadership. She has proven dedication, commitment and consistency to CILR.
With that, I am ready to pass the gavel of leadership to the next leader of the Community Influence Leaders Roundtable, Chair Elena Fernandez.