Papillon 2030: Questions and Answers
Papillon 2030 is a 1. target-date, 2. goals-focused, 3. national covenant movement of, by and for those who are members of the African American demographic (about the use of the word “demographic,” see below). The movement rests upon a pragmatic, non-partisan, and non-ideological covenant that commits those who sign it to take actions locally and nationally – in whatever ways they can – to help remedy the many problems African Americans face all across the country, and to document and self-report on their ongoing efforts. Its work is being accomplished through Papillon 2030 Public Benefit Corporation, a Delaware public benefit corporation. Its 501(c)(3) status is pending application completion.
Papillon 2030 is not intended to supplant any existing efforts by individuals or organizations, but rather to serve as a hub that will gather and magnify the energies and activities of African Americans to work toward the goal of significant, measureable improvement of conditions in the African American Community, and in the lives of its individual members, by the year 2030.
About our name and logo: Well, "papillon" (pronounced pap-ee-yon) is the French word for "butterfly." A butterfly is a creature of near total transformation. It emerges after an earlier form in which it dwells close to the earth, but then from a chrysalis, after a period of near total transformation, as a beautiful creature no longer bound to earth, but rather takes flight. We thought it a good metaphor for what we know can happen for the American American demographic. The logo's arrow indicates a period of decline, stagnation and then upswing toward the target year.
1. How Will Papillon 2030 Accomplish This?
Papillon 2030 will accomplish the above in the following ways:
i. Through the publication of a written plan of action addressing a number of important areas where the African American demographic is doing poorly, with suggestions for remediation. The plan will be revised from time to time given new data and the input from various experts across a wide range of foci.
ii. The written plan will encourage and stress the importance of establishing national and local networks, pro bono services and volunteerism, and indicate where resources may be found to assist in remediation efforts.
iii. Through the use of a web site that will link all covenant members across the country, providing access to people and ideas.
iv. Provide a set of goals to be accomplished by 2030, and assessments to monitor success along the way.
v. Provide “spirit” (see below) and encouragement to covenant members as they engage in the work needed to effect change, and to highlight successes on a regular basis using the Papillon 2030 web site.
vi. Work as a “hub” and clearing house for ongoing efforts, so that African Americans and movement supporters can share ideas, stories, and make suggestions in real-time.
vii. Establish chapters across the country so that “Papillonists” can have places to meet, strategize, and form coalitions at the local level.
2. How Is Papillon 2030 Different from the "Covenant with Black America" Published by Tavis Smiley?
First, our view of the efforts of others is: “May 1000 Flowers Bloom!” Papillon 2030 does not see itself in competition with any other organization or initiative, but rather wants to link-up the efforts of African American people and organizations across the country. That means, as well, encouraging and celebrating good ideas wherever they are found.
Papillon 2030 is a target-date movement. We believe that it is important to set specific goals and to pursue them within a reasonable timetable. That is one way that Papillon 2030 is different. In addition to the 2030 target date, We intend to continuously “take the pulse” of where the demographic is making progress toward the goals, so every two or three years, we will gather data to assess whether the national and local efforts hopefully stimulated by the “spirit” of a national effort are working.
We encourage people to not only read our plan, but also to read Tavis Smiley's three edited books regarding a "Covenant with Black America" as well as publications about similar efforts around the country. All of these are rich with good information and suggestions, and we are using them.
We also lay stress on the importance of an actual written covenant, which we take to be a spiritual and moral document, and not merely a desiderative promise with no moral weight. (See the rationale for a written covenant.) We discourage anyone from signing the covenant if he or she is not sure he or she will commit to the covenant’s goals, and if he or she is not sure of commitment to regular self-reports that will be made available to all covenant members, on-line. The issues that African Americans are facing are serious ones, and the covenant is not “shtick” or theater or a feel-good document, but is a public pledge to help solve the problems that continue to dog African Americans, from educational failure to mass incarceration, upon the signatories’ sacred honor.
3. What Is Meant By “Spirit”?
“Spirit” is what is generated when people gather to work together to achieve a difficult goal. In sport, there is “team spirit.” Spirit is also what is generated when one belongs to, or gives oneself to, a shared mission. With all of the constant negative news on offer, it may be said that the African American demographic is “dispirited.” Papillon 2030 wants to “quicken” African Americans into mutual service, to, together, solve serious problems, some of which are problems of life and death.
4. Who Is Behind Papillon 2030?
Papillon 2030 is the idea of Dr. David E. McClean, who is an educator, entrepreneur, community servant and author living in Long Island, New York. Dr. McClean gathered together a group of planners and created a Planning Board of African Americans who have been engaged in community service, education, community organizing, business, philanthropy, medicine, law, politics and other endeavors for many years.
5. What Are Some of Papillon’s Goals?
You can read about all of the Papillon 2030 goals on "The Goals "page of this web site. They include:
Reducing levels of incarceration and recidivism
Reducing new HIV infections
Reducing disparities in health service delivery
Improving all types of literacy
Improving household wealth and income
Increasing the number of African Americans studying STEM subjects and entering STEM careers
Improving high school and college graduation rates
Increasing the number of African Americans with graduate degrees
Reducing teen pregnancy
And others . . .
6. Why Do You Use the Word “Demographic” (Mostly) Rather than “Community”?
Papillon 2030 is not a movement of “black nationalism,” nor does it require any particular political ideological or philosophical commitments. Democrats, Republicans, Independents/independents, leftists and conservatives, religious and non-religious are are all called to join the movement. Its operating philosophy is pragmatism – a laser-like focus on what works. Further, there is no single African American community, but rather there are different communities with disparate needs. But all are part of a single, identified demographic.
The data on failure and success are demographic data, and since the 2030 goals are focused on improving outcomes for those captured by that data we believe the use of the word “demographic” more accurately captures our purposes and steers our efforts away from partisanship and sharp ideological divisions. True, the word “demographic” seems sociological and a bit sterile, but we are more than well aware that what comprises any demographic are people – people with needs, dreams, problems, families, and hopes for a better future.
7. How Is Papillon 2030 Financed and How Is the Money Used?
Initially, we will be financed from donations by those associated with its organization, as well as crowdsource funding on the web, and contributions from people who share our vision and approach. Funds raised will be monitored by a team of lawyers and CPAs who are unaffiliated with the organization. Initially, most of the money will be used to address organizational needs (such as legal and professional fees, office space, etc.), for information technology and web-site design, and for media interface, such as press-releases. No salaries are contemplated at this time, though payments will be made to contractors engaged for specific services, such as community canvassing, web site maintenance, etc.
8. Shouldn't Papillon 2030 Take on Smaller Projects and Establish a Record of Small Victories as a First Step?
While that approach is logical in most undertakings aimed at transformation, empowerment, etc., that is not the model for or the concept of Papillon 2030. We are introducing a new model for change.
We direct your attention to the UN's Millennium Development Goals, which we are using as a general model. Papillon 2030 will not serve as a grass-roots or on-the-ground organization, but rather it will serve as a hub and clearing house of ideas, information, networks, barometers, and as a "cheerleader" for hundreds of other organizations and millions of individuals who sign, eventually, the Covenant and undertake, in their own ways and in their own localities, to do what they can to advance the Papillon 2030 goals. Think of the hub and spoke model (a bicycle wheel, for example). We are a hub, and many spokes will link up to the HUB and carry-out the work on the ground that needs to be done. We don't care about credit for ourselves. Our job will be to encourage people to keep pressing on so that the goals are met by 2030.
9. So . . . what does someone who signs the Covenant do after he or she has done so and becomes part of the movement?
He or she will work locally individually, through coalitions, through churches/mosques/synagogues/temples, through schools, and through many other organizations to address a principal area of concern. For example, if someone signs the oath and indicates that he or she wants to address the problem of financial literacy, he or she can arrange to go into communities to give seminars or lectures on wealth creation and teach the lexicon of finance and investment. Or, if someone signs the Covenant and indicates that he or she wants to address the problem of youth incarceration, he or she could work with local or national organizations that are already working hard to demolish the playground-to-prison pipeline. What the person signing the Covenant will do will be entirely up to that person, as only he or she knows what his or her resources and concerns are. He or she will become one link in a chain that will help to pull the demographic forward.
10. Will Papillon 2030 work with other organizations?
Yes. Papillon 2030 will have informal engagements with any organization that wants to be in contact with us, as it is in fact these organization, many of which are in the communities and on the ground, so to speak, that will help achieve the Papillon 2030 goals.
11. Is The Covenant Religious? It Sure Sounds Religious.
No, but we do hope that much of the work on the ground will be helped along by religious groups. There is a long and revered tradition of this in the African American demographic.
12. Will There Be Regular Assessments of Progress?
Yes. Papillon 2030 is data-centric. As indicated, Papillon 2030 will draw on available data sources (government and private) to assess whether or not the problems it is trying to address are being addressed effectively. Of course, it will be hard to know if our efforts are causing improvements, or whether our efforts are merely correlating to or with improvements. We will need to find ways to best measure our effectiveness. That said, once a tipping point is reached and Papillon 2030 has clearly become a national movement, it would be safe to assume that Papillon 2030 is making a significant contribution. That said, we are not seeking credit, just to achieve the goals.
13. Will there be branches and chapters?
Yes. First, we will focus on establishing branches in major cities across the country. The branches can then set up chapters that report in. There will be a code of conduct for branch and chapter organizers/leaders.
14. Will The Books Be Audited?
Yes, the books will be audited, but not until general development commences and crowdsourcing begins, and after we have our 501(c)(3) -- not-for-profit designation from the IRS -- in hand. That won't be until 2017, but that won't stop us from moving forward.
15. Will there be roles for youth?
Yes, most definitely! Papillon 2030 will encourage the branches and chapters to appoint and empower local youth leaders.
Check back for more answers to your questions . . .