LA: Reducing the Racial Wealth Gap

LA has long been known for its class gaps. Unfortunately this is even more true when it comes to minorities, most specifically the blacks.  For example, a study last year found that while blacks make up 8% of the population in LA, at the same time they comprise 34% of LA’s homeless community.

In recent times though there has been a significant investment made by Blacks in LA towards programs and entities that are seeking to reduce the racial gap, at least on some level. One example of this can be seen in the efforts being made by (Multi Depository Institution) MDI’s OneUnited Bank’s CEO, Kevin Cohee. He recently noted that progress which is being made can also be linked back to the fact that when people of minority groups applied for loans, much was done online which obscured their identity and indirectly helped to create ‘the new Black Wall Street.’ A similar scenario, Cohee explained, has been happening in Tulsa, Okalahoma.

 “Why would Tulsa, of all places, be where you’d have found a place called Black Wall Street? You’d think places like New York, Philadelphia or some big Southern city like Atlanta would be where you’d fine that source of entrepreneurship and ingenuity. But it was in Tulsa this community called Greenwood developed, it being the only place I’m aware of where actual reparations were given. People actually got their 40 acres and a mule. It was a place that demonstrated that Black Americans would be given a fair chance.”

CityFirstBroadway’s CVP Tom Nida recognized how MDIs which have been at the forefront of community development have been investigating the wealth gap through the generations.  He pointed out how since the majority of African Americans do not own their own homes, that has the trickle down effect of them not being able to reap the appreciating home values benefits and thus building up their equities.  He believes that one way of dealing with this is to create private-public sector liaisons to ‘leverage available resources.’
It seems that the entertainment industry is also jumping on the racial gap reduction bandwagon too. Netflix recently invested $100 million into six Black-led financial institutions nationwide., as part of the its commitment to allocate 2% of cash holdings into banks serving Black communities.