"Capital District Black Chamber of Commerce hits reset button"

By Massarah Mikati

ALBANY - Albany native Jahkeen Hoke did not see black excellence until he left the Capital Region to study at Morehouse College in Atlanta roughly 10 years ago. For Corey Ellis, it was when he went to study at Fordham University in the Bronx. And for Tony Gaddy, he had to venture over 800 miles to Chicago to be exposed to successful people who looked like him.

"It's really easy for a kid to go to downtown Atlanta and see a lawyer, doctor, accountant, business owner that looks like them," Hoke said. "You can touch that person, you can talk to that person."

Ellis, former mayoral candidate and now president of Albany's Common Council, was so blown away that he started doing his own "synopsis" upon moving back to Albany, walking through the mall and asking how many people of color worked in different stores.

The response never exceeded two or three.

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