|Let’s disrupt the status quo in support of our Black and Hispanic community members.
At CAC we believe in Equity, Respect, Dignity, and Transformation. These are the values we hold sacred. Our values mean we stand with Black Lives Matter and aim to mobilize our communities to promote transformative action.
One area we believe transformation is needed is in the growing wealth gap between Black and White families in Wisconsin and the United States, while median wealth for most families have increased 16% following the Great Recession. At Community Action Coalition we fear, without action, the pandemic and current recession will inevitably result in unequal loss of wealth for our Black and Hispanic community members. This loss of wealth threatens the stability of communities by limiting the opportunities our community members have to obtain social and economic security.
Why do we think the Black/White wealth gap will worsen?
A 2016 study by the Institute for Policy Studies predicted by 2020, median Black households stood to lose 18% of the wealth they held in 2013. This means the wealth of median Black households could shrink to zero, or a negative number. Recent data shows the wealth of median White households has rebounded since the recession and increased modestly to $162,600. This number may be surprising, but it’s 10 times higher than the wealth held by median Black households ($16,600), and eight times higher than Hispanic Households ($20,000) (Pew Research Center, 2019 & Duke University, 2019).
What do we do when faced with a system designed to benefit some, and harm so many?
One idea is to ask disruptive questions. Disruptive questions help us re-imagine our communities as they could be by making sure everyone can benefit from wealth building programs and policies. These programs have historically included giving gifts of land, education, government-backed mortgages and farm loans, a social safety net, and business subsidies. All of which were often intentionally not available to Black or Hispanic community members, driving many of the generational wealth inequities we see today.
Here at CAC, we are pondering our own disruptive questions around social and economic racial justice.