Category Archives: Societal Trends

Trayvon Martin Tragedy Impact: Will Affluent Blacks Finance an Anti-Profiling Movement/Fund?

The Trayvon Martin tragedy was a shocking reminder to every black person that he/she could easily be a victim of racial profiling, possibly with deadly consequences. The horrible incident could have happened to any black man or any black person’s son, brother, nephew, cousin, etc., however wealthy or well-accomplished they may be (see excerpt below from a column piece by the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson).

Would (at least) a few affluent African Americans therefore feel strongly enough about racial profiling to help jump-start a potent anti-racial profiling movement or fund? (See previous blog posts: Trayvon Martin Tragedy Could Spur the Emergence of a “National Anti-Racial Profiling Fund”; A Potent Anti-Profiling Movement As the Silver Lining From the Trayvon Martin Tragedy.) Continue reading

Starbucks’ “Create Jobs for USA:” Demonstrating the Potential of a Resource Pooling Fund?

Like OIC of America’s Entrepreneur Mindset Initiative, Starbucks’ Create Jobs for USA is another initiative that can demonstrate the immense potential of pooling small amounts from large numbers of people to foster entrepreneurship and job creation in underserved communities, e.g., as conceptualized in the “National Venture & Excellence Fund” (or “EXCEL Fund”) discussed in the BlackProgress.com article, Financing Black Progress, Part 2: A Self-Reliance “Marshall Plan”: Creating a National Resource-Pooling Fund.

According to the Create Jobs for USA website (“How It Works”):

“Starbucks has teamed up with Opportunity Finance Network® (OFN) to help create and sustain jobs. The Create Jobs for USA program provides capital grants to select Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The CDFIs will provide loans to underserved community businesses, which include small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing. The goal of Create Jobs for USA is to bring people and communities together to create and sustain jobs throughout America. Continue reading

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Self-Reliance and “Pooling Our Resources”

MLK_Chicago rally“We need to pool our resources” has been a recurring exhortation in the African American community for decades. For example, here’s Dr. Martin Luther King in a 1958 interview:

Question: Do you think Negroes are partly responsible for their plight? They don’t stick together and they don’t help each other. Negroes, for example, will walk past a Negro-owned grocery store or shoe shop to get to a white place. Instead of trying to make themselves financially independent, most Negroes are trying to keep up with the Joneses. Isn’t it time for us to stop begging and stand on our own feet? 

Dr. King: I quite agree that there is a great deal that the Negro can do to lift himself by his own bootstraps. Well has it been said by one that Negroes too often buy what they want and beg for what they need. Negroes must learn to practice systematic saving. They must also pool their economic resources through various cooperative enterprises. Such agencies as credit unions, savings and loan associations, and finance companies are needed in every Negro community. All of these are things that would serve to lift the economic level of the Negro which would in turn give him greater purchasing power. This increased purchasing power will inevitably make for better housing, better health standards, and for better educational standards.

From: “Advice for Living,” The King Papers Project, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University – http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/primarydocuments/Vol4/Mar-1958_AdviceForLiving.pdf

Financing Black Progress: On a Marshall Plan for the “Abandoned,” Self-Reliance, and “Pooling Our Resources” Via a Transformational National Fund

In his book, Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC commentator Eugene Robinson (winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary) exhorts that “our most urgent priority should be an all-out assault on the stubborn, self-perpetuating poverty and dysfunction” of the segment of Black America he dubs the “large, Abandoned minority with less hope of escaping poverty and dysfunction than at any time since Reconstruction’s crushing end.”

Of course, approaches and strategies for addressing this challenge must span several interrelated areas: financing (public and private), entrepreneurship, wealth-building, job creation, education, job training, politics and policy, racial disparities, societal and cultural trends, etc.

Robinson proposes in his book a publicly financed “Marshall Plan for the Abandoned” (MPA) that would involve “massive intervention in education, public safety, health, and other aspects of life, with the aim being to arrest the downward spiral.”

Even at the time he proposed it – the book was published in October 2010 when the political environment was relatively less toxic (before the November 2010 elections, the subsequent budget and debt ceiling debacles, and the nasty and racially charged political environment that ensued thereafter) – Robinson acknowledged that the MPA “will be expensive, and politically it will be a hard sell.” Nonetheless, he argued then that the MPA could be politically feasible: Continue reading