As we wrap up one of the most memorable Juneteenth holidays, I am overcome with emotions of pride and esteem. Not only is 2020 the first year where I personally felt that the Juneteenth holiday was celebrated on a national level, it is also the first time that I felt confident that the black community had the chance to overcome the mental inferiority syndrome that has plagued blacks for over 400 years. Our community has been forced to overcome systemic oppression, mental sabotage and physical trauma to finally reach this moment of enlightenment. The moment where we realize our brothers and sisters are precious, our voices are being heard and our dollar matters.
I am guilty of it myself. I use Capital One (they are terrible) and Chase for banking when I know my dollar in a black owned bank could make the difference for that future business owner. I purchase food at whole foods knowing that I Have a brother or sister who could use that extra $50 to help feed the community. The examples are countless- and it is finally time for a change.
How strong our dollar really is
It is documented that the black community has $1 trillion in buying power. To put that in perspective, if the black community were to be an independent country we would rank the 16th largest in the world. If this is to be the case, why are urban communities dilapidated, schools underfunded and nutrition an afterthought? The answer is that we have been conditioned and consistently influenced to spend our dollars outside of our communities. It is estimated that only 3% percent of the black dollar is spent at black owned business or mainstream firms that engage them. Instead of supporting that local clothing or grocery store that is located and owned by the community we resort to the convenient fortune 500 company whose support for our community stops sort of a statement of solidarity when a black man is shot. We constantly plead for more jobs for our young people but are complacent when we drive past the abandoned store fronts that once flourished.
What could that extra dollar do?
According to the 2014 State of Black America report, just an increase of 7% percent of spending within the black community could bring almost 1 million jobs. Each store front could be a business owned by your neighbor offering every service from dry cleaning, barber shop to boutique restaurants. Occupied buildings would employ electricians and carpenters. This demand for additional labor would promote young folks to learn practical skills and attend associate schools and apprenticeships. Those with the aptitude to attend a university will now see the benefit of returning back home. Investing in new companies, setting up new law firms and construction companies. These new companies can finally "buy back the block" and renovate the community and promote black home ownership. The financial tree for the black community can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Our next step- keep the dollar in the community
The key is keeping each dollar that we earn in the community for a longer period of time. We marvel at how well the Asian community manages and retains their wealth. This could be attributed to the fact that the Asian dollar stays within their community 120x longer than the black dollar in its respective community. At a mere 6 hours, we have fallen victim to consumerism outside of our communities which has a compounded impact on long term wealth. We must invest in our black owned business and no longer abandoned our neighborhoods. We must take a stand against infiltrators in the same way that we find it impossible to start a company in a white neighborhood. If we succeed, we could establish our own communities that prioritize our needs and feed our culture. We can create our own beautiful sub-country that is the 16th largest in the world.