According to ProsperityNow.org/ (Formerly Corporation for Enterprise Development.) it will be centuries before “wealth equality” between whites and African-Americans and Latinos is realized in the United States. (Read their report on “The Ever-Growing Gap: Without Change, African-American and Latino Families Won’t Match White Wealth for Centuries.”)
According to Neilsen (The top consumer rating agency for the nation.), “…Black consumers are one of America’s greatest assets.” Without a doubt, any group of people or country that has $1.2 trillion in buying power and who at the same time has kept virtually nothing for themselves, would be everyone’s best buddy (asset). Especially coupled with no true power or authority to govern themselves and manage the distribution of their monies. In a way, it’s almost like saying, we support racism.
Even with all these strikes against African Americans, the nation still struggles to focus and understand why Black business development matters, not only in turning the tide in the advancement of the Black race in all aspects including making them players and global decision makers, but in making them major contributors to job and enterprise development, which benefits the nation.
In Chicago, Black Business Matters not at all to those who sit at the realm of our government managing our lives in accordance with the prevailing skin tones of the residents of particular communities. Racism is nothing new in a city that is still holding on dearly and without shame or apology to its versions of the Mason-Dixon lines.
Take a ride through the west and south sides of this city, and you, like in Stevie Wonder’s Living for the City will see the blatant disparity in income distribution, inequality in business and infrastructure investments, and the failure by our elected and appointed officials to provide a quality education to all the residents of this city. But, given the evidence of the disparity, which are known to more, what continues to be a mystery is the acceptance by these communities of the “slights” by the controlling parties, when evidence of the inequality has been staring them in the face since the city’s incorporation.
Without a doubt, the cry that #BlackBusinessMatters should be heard from every corner, pulpit and community organization given that even recently, the sitting elected officials of the city of Chicago straight-faced lied while investing $55 million of city TIF monies into Navy Pier as the south and west sides of Chicago continues to implode from lack of economic development. One of the city’s creative solutions even includes adding more cops to arrest more people for selling loose squares. Yes, selling loose squares is illegal. But isn’t diverting TIF funds from poor communities illegal and immoral?
These are just a few of the reasons why Black Business Matters:
- Communities are stronger when the businesses are stronger. Research has shown that the economic state of a community is partially related to the amount of money spent in the businesses within that community. Those businesses invest back into the community’s civic and social structure, thereby, solidifying its base. You know the local business owners. Their concerns are your concerns. You are part of a community family that supports each other and grows together.
- Employment and training opportunities denied to Blacks by other communities become available to the unemployed and under-employed. Small local businesses provide experiences the can propel many to upper level management positions by providing them with previously denied chances to gain experience and enhance their employability. (In other words, the community can hire its own college graduates.)
- Community businesses create and support a business culture wherein the community’s children become a part of that mindset, as they develop and grow around entrepreneurial- minded adults.
African-American businesses tend to have achievements in sports, arts, politics, education, and civil rights. Although these industries are of great importance to the community, we must continue to tap into other industries like technology, food and services and engineering. Its resolve must be 100 fold in order to enable support for every product need and service of the nation and permit gains in the US economy that will foster its position in the global marketplace.
Just like any other race the prosperity of the Black race will contribute to the tax base and that is of benefit to the local and national community. (Given this fact, it is up to the community to ask why the incentive is not there to make the appropriate investments locally in supporting the small Black business owner.)
New employment opportunities provide chances for previously unemployed or under-employed workers to increase take home pay and better their meet financial obligations. This leads to a higher rate of consumer spending, which benefits other businesses who depend on consumer sales to stay open. This creates a healthier local economy and allows more businesses to thrive and the community to be self-sufficient.
According to Wikipedia, “In 2016, Chicago hosted over 54 million domestic and international visitors, a new record making it one of the top visited cities in the nation.” But, the revenue flow stopped at the color line due to lack of investment in businesses in Black and Latino communities with the violence going unchecked on the south and west sides of the city. Visit Choose Chicago (Formerly Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau) and you’ll find Black Chicago a ghost town in the places to visit listings, therefore percentage-wise barely participating in the inflow of $15 billion in direct tourism spending and the 145,000 jobs generated by the city’s tourism. This means that outside of Chicago’s (white controlled) Central Business District (CBD) there was almost no opportunity for economic advancement and growth. Because it takes investment dollars to make that happen and the life flow (money) stops before it reaches our communities.
When the African-American community truly decides that Black Businesses Matter, instead of the constant lip service paid to such slogans, then they will put in place and demand that those placed into positions of power apply the necessary agendas important to these communities. When Black business truly matters to the Black community it will make the decision that those elected, appointed and employed persons with six figure incomes that fund their mortgages, educate their children and permit their families to obtain the best medical care are removed from those positions, then and only then will there be a clear understanding that you can’t hold a job that provides you with economic stability while the communities that you manage has double-digit unemployment.
There is no better time, then now, to move forward on the #BlackBusinessMatters platform, as we celebrate National Black Business Month.
As I’ve heard the Rev. Dr. Albert Sampson say many times, “Where is the rage?”