In the National Urban League 2014 State of Black America, Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the League, said: “The 2014 State of Black America and corresponding Equity Index indicate that while each state and city has its own economic recovery story to tell, the consistent refrain is that there is an urgent and growing disparity between the few who are reaping the rewards of economic recovery and the majority who are still reeling from aftershocks of the Great Recession.”
The League’s 2015 report is due in April of this year. It appears from all reported sources that there will be little change in the Equity Index. This is not a new story. The most positive thing that can be said is that the Equity Index is better for Blacks in America today than it was in Slavery.
How can we help ourselves in tipping the Equity balance in our favor? For the next five years, make every effort to do the following:
• OPEN a savings account. Have a constant amount direct-deposited to your account each pay period. This will initiate a saving routine that will help in building your personal wealth and providing funds for true emergencies.
• JOIN an investment club. Use part of your savings account accumulations to fund your investment account. Become active in understanding the market economy by investing excess funds in company’s that support your life’s efforts.
• CHOOSE one national fast food restaurant and stop buying from them. You will be surprised to know how much your daily and weekly dollars impact the nation’s economy. We might be only 13% of the population, but in most major markets we are a significant factor. An effective buying stoppage sends an important message to the major corporations and the financial markets.
• CHOOSE one foreign automobile manufacture and stop buying from them. The message is the same. However, though we want to send a message, we should lessen the economic impact on our local jobs. These jobs in the automobile industry are higher paying and more rewarding than jobs in the fast food industry.
• CHOOSE one month of the year, say February, Black History Month. Do not make any purchases of items that are subject to sales taxes, except for the basic food, clothing, shelter and transportation. An effective non-buying strategy for one complete month will send a significant message of the importance of Blacks in America.
• STAY out of prison. Do not do anything that will get you stopped, arrested, arraigned, tried, convicted or imprisoned. Take the steam out the American justice system. Remember the jobs and the private businesses that thrive on our alleged criminal behavior. Again, let’s send a message that we decide where our wealth goes.
• VOTE. In the next national election, turnout at least 75% of all eligible Black voters. Let the politicians know who put them in office. Also, let them know we can make their stay in public service a short one. Vote, and demand a response to your vote.
• STOP using drugs. Illegal ones because they send us to jail, disrupt our family and economic life, and support the big money makers who are not part of our community. The legal ones because, do we really need all those pills? For a year or two, we can live without most of the over-the-counter drugs and can possibly decrease significantly our use of prescription drugs. Again, we are more important to this Nation’s economy then our numbers show. Let’s prove it.
• SUPPORT rap music. Give our youth their props. Let those who can be artist make money and have fame. Let’s tell the ones who disrespect our women and our culture to stop. We will support everything else, but not that.
• CHOOSE one major sport and stop supporting it. To make it easy, let’s choice baseball. We should no longer watch or attend a baseball-sporting event. Let’s also ask our kids to choose any other sport beside baseball for scholarships or professional careers.
• CHOOSE one TV network and one cable network. Stop watching. This message goes not only to the networks but also to the sponsors who expect you to see and use their products and services.
We are the only ones who can do anything about our current economic disparities. We have to take control of our destinies. We must take a stand to stop our future from becoming a continuing repeat of the past.