For the first time in my life, last summer, I saw long-standing institutions and corporations make bold statements and stand together to denounce structural and systemic racism. Goldman Sachs recently came out with a study that showed what we all know to be true, there continues to be a persistent racial wealth gap in our country.
Additionally, in the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, White families were reported to have had a median wealth level of eight times that of Black families. Study after study has confirmed this to us, and we know the root cause.
Laws and policies that have lasted for centuries have created the racial wealth gap, from slavery to illegal redlining and beyond. These policies in government and practices in corporate institutions were designed intentionally.
Today, many of these same institutions have vocalized the desire to close this gap. It will take intentionality to do so.
One of the recommendations from the Goldman study for closing the gap was to prioritize Black-owned businesses. And it makes sense. Entrepreneurship is one way Black families can begin to acquire generational wealth. Black entrepreneurship is not a new concept and has been around for centuries. Institutionalized barriers to success for Black entrepreneurs have also been around for centuries.
Now is the time for us to identify and remove every barrier that stands in the way for Black businesses to thrive.
The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance seeks to do just that. We are committed to diverse programming that connects and secures resources for Black businesses in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County.
We are building a business resource center where our members can access coworking space, a board room and free internet. We are also building a comprehensive Black business directory. We will do a deep dive into policy advocacy. As a membership-based organization, we will advocate at every level of government for policies that will help our member businesses thrive even in a post-COVID economy.
Our plans are ambitious, but we know that we cannot do this alone. In order to close the wealth gap that will ultimately result in a revitalized and thriving economy, we need others to also prioritize Black businesses.
You can do this by supporting a local Black-owned business. I don’t mean purchasing a candle from that one Black entrepreneur you met last year. I mean review your family and/or your organization’s budget and identify line items where you can regularly invest in Black businesses.
Financial institutions can review their policies to make resources much more accessible. Corporations can set procurement goals that intentionally engage Black vendors. Individuals and organizations can join the MDBBA. We have a membership level for everyone.
You can become a part of our village. Our village consists of partners like TCF that have made significant and sustainable commitments to our organization because they recognize how critical the success of Black-owned businesses is to the regional economy.
We have a long way to go in order to close that wealth gap. The Metro Detroit Black Business Alliance is here to add urgency to the task, but we need help. I was so proud to see so many local institutions and corporations stand up against institutional racism last summer. Now is the time to bring action to those verbal commitments. Join our village, and let’s close this gap together.