GARIFUNA Mother Mrs. SULMA ARZU-BROWN Shares Her Family’s Money Management and Wealth Creation Strategies with BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine

 

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Bronx, New York — Garifuna Mother, Author, Entrepreneur and Executive, Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown and her family were recently profiled by BLACK ENTERPRISE Magazine in an article for its website where they chronicled her family’s money management and wealth creation strategies.   1

Written by Stacey Tisdale, this article, entitled “Making Her Daughter Money Smart.  Suleni and Sulma’s Story of Love, Learning, and Leading by Example” begins with an anecdote about using Real Estate as method for passing down generational wealth.  Also, the importance of involving children in financial matters by simply being present during important transactions like the closing of the purchase of a home as well as learning to become financially literate are discussed in full.

Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown, the author of the children’s book, “Bad Hair Does Not Exist” also talks about encouraging entrepreneurship with her children–in particular, the business arrangement Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown has with her daughter regarding the selling of the children’s book.  NOTE: I’ve been meaning to write about the publication of this children’s book but have not gotten around to it.  I hope to write about the “Bad Hair Does Not Exist” children’s book in the near future, as I have many thoughts on the matter.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

While the background of Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown should be considered (she is the Director of Events for the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, her mother is a banker, her father is an accountant), the article also includes the challenges Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown and her husband face as they grapple with their own money issues (managing and improving their credit scores, etc).

I point out the occupations of Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown’s parents because of their relative contrast to the occupations of most people of Garifuna descent, particularly those who are first generation immigrants in the New York City area.  Most New York City Garifuna women are home-care aides, and most New York City Garifuna men work as superintendents, maintenance workers, theater and stadium workers, doormen, cleaners, porters, security guards, window cleaners, or work in construction.  Many are members of the SEIU 32JB Union due to their work in residential apartment buildings, commercial office buildings, area theaters and stadiums.  In short, most first-generation Garifuna immigrants are working class people.  It’s different for the children of these Garifuna immigrants as they are American-based for the most part.  2

 

Overall, the subtext of this article is the process a family undergoes as they become more comfortable with money (talking about it, learning to use it as the tool that it is, etc).  While their cultural backgrounds should be taken into consideration (Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown is Garifuna-American from Santa Fe, Honduras; her husband, Mr. Mo Brown is Jamaican-Canadian), the emotional roller-coaster money forces people to go through is something that transcends race and/or ethnicity.  It IS an issue and learning to become detached regarding money is something that needs to be explored further.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

While reading this Black Enterprise article, I couldn’t help but think about two books that I own and have read that explore different perspectives on wealth; they are:

  • “The Jewish Phenomenon: 7 Keys to the Enduring Wealth of a People (Revised Edition)” by Steven Silbiger.  Copyright 2009.
  • “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secerts of America’s Wealthy” by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D and William D. Danko, Ph.D.  Copyright 1996.

The Jewish Phenomenon book tries to make a link between the cultural habits of Jewish people and explores how those cultural habits (and values) explain their consistent financial and social success as an ethnic group.

The Millionaire Next Door is a study with surprising and ironic findings about America’s Wealthy, like how,

“Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth…Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.” 3

Both are worthy and insightful reads that I often refer to when thinking about the overall financial plight of the Garifuna people.

Buidumeimeibei (“Congratulations” in the Garifuna Language) to Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown and her family for the financial profile in Black Enterprise Magazine.  Currently, you can read the profile on the Black Enterprise website.  Typically, articles on the website are also in the physical magazine itself, however I have not looked at the latest issue of Black Enterprise magazine to confirm it.

What do you think of Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown and her family being profiled in Black Enterprise magazine?  Please write a comment below.

About Black Enterprise Magazine

Founded in 1970 by Earl G. Graves Sr; Black Enterprise is a monthly United States magazine that focuses on business news and investment information for Blacks in America.  The Magazine claims a readership of 3.7 million.  4

ABOUT The Garifuna People

The Garifuna people are people of African descent (in other words, Black people) whose ancestry can be traced to Africans mixing with Carib Indians and Arawak Indians on the Eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent. From this fusion of race and ethnicities in St. Vincent Island, a distinct culture and language arose.  They are noted for being one of the few (only?) peoples of African descent (again, in other words, Black people) in the Americas to have maintained aspects of their ancestral culture and full use of their ancestral language for everyday use over the course of hundreds of years.

After being defeated in war with the British on St. Vincent in 1796; 1004 men, 1779 women and 1,555 children for a total of 4,338 people (mostly Black Caribs, as the Garifuna people were then known) were captured and taken to Baliceaux, a small island, a rock, basically, off the coast of St. Vincent.  This took place from July 1796 through February/March 1797.  About 2,000 Garifunas died of a mysterious and very infectious fever while living on Baliceaux awaiting their fate.  5

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In early March 1797, the remaining Garifunas were loaded onto the HMS Experiment and other ships.  Once they were rounded up, the convoy were taken to a Bequia, which is another island off the coast of St. Vincent. They proceeded to go to Grenada to get water, then Jamaica for refueling, then finally Roatan, Honduras, arriving on April 12th 1797.

Finding much of Roatan unliveable, the Garifuna people petitioned officials representing Spain and it’s government (which controlled much of Central America at the time) to be allowed to move to the Honduran mainland.  Upon being allowed to move to the Honduran mainland, namely the port town of Trujillo, Honduras in May 1797; the Garifunas settled many towns and villages along the Caribbean coast of Honduras.  They also migrated to the neighboring countries of Guatemala, Belize (then known as British Honduras) and Nicaragua over the years.  Finally, Garifuna People have also migrated to the United States of America where generations have settled in cities like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles.  Despite their mainly Spanish surnames, their culture and history are distinct from other Afro-American and Latino ethnic groups and it’s important to keep that in mind.

If you find the BEING GARIFUNA Website helpful and useful, please DONATE.  Every dollar donated helps keep this website in operation.  Donations are accepted via the PAYPAL website so your potential donations are SAFE and SECURE.

Garifuna Mother, Author and Entrepreneur, Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown and her Family.  Photo by Cristie Leondis for Black Enterprise Magazine.

Garifuna Mother, Author and Entrepreneur, Mrs. Sulma Arzu-Brown and her Family. Photo by Cristie Leondis for Black Enterprise Magazine.

 

Notes:

  1. “Making Her Daughter Money Smart.  Suleni and Sulma’s story of Love, Learning, and Leading by Example.  Stacey Tisdale for Black Enterprise Magazine.  May 8th 2015.  http://www.blackenterprise.com/money/making-her-daughter-money-smart/
  2. Garifuna Coalition USA Inc Report, “The Garifuna Advocacy Center Needs Assessment and Program Development” Not sure of year. Most likely 2007 or 2008.
  3. Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko, “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy”. pg. 1
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Enterprise
  5. Nancie L Gonzalez, “Sojourners of The Caribbean: Ethnogenesis and Ethnohistory of the Garifuna” pgs 21-23

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