The history of the Black wealth gap in this country spans hundreds of years. Mehrsa Baradaran, author of “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap,” noted that when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, the Black community owned a combined half percent of the total wealth in the United States. One hundred fifty years later, that number has increased to only 1%. Today, across every socioeconomic level, Black households have significantly less wealth than white households, and in many instances less than Hispanic and Latino households.
According to the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility
, the persistent racial wealth gap in the United States is a burden on Black Americans as well as the overall economy. Closing racial gaps is not only about righting historic wrongs; it is about choosing a more dynamic future and realizing the full potential of a massively underutilized source of talent and skill to the benefit of all Americans.
Despite the progress achieved by Black families and communities, they still face systemic barriers to accessing and building wealth. One person or entity cannot eliminate the Black wealth gap or erase the associated disparities. But as a “village” of change agents, we have the foundation, knowledge and vision to make a difference.
On May 3, NeighborWorks is proud to offer a special one-day symposium on building wealth in Black households and communities, an issue we’re exploring as part of our “Advancing Equity for People of Color” series this year. We will convene practitioners and experts to explore the interlocking roles of the community development field and the public and private sectors to inspire and create change. We will explore how history and existing policies and practices continue to hinder socioeconomic equity for Black households in the United States. At the same time, we will engage partners and stakeholders with mission-oriented strategies and solutions that are working to increase the economic power of Black households and communities.
Over the course of the day, participants will engage with public and private thought leaders and strategists to explore sustainable solutions for building generational wealth for Black families and for restoring economic investments in disenfranchised Black communities. Participants will walk away with: