The Christian Science Monitor: Corporations Pledge to Fight Racial Inequality. Will it Work?

The Christian Science Monitor, November 3, Corporations Pledge to Fight Racial Inequality. Will it Work?  

National attention has been brought to narrowing racial inequality and fighting racial injustice, after the death of George Floyd and in the midst of the pandemic. With this, several large corporations have announced improvement efforts being made for racial inclusion and diversity in their own workplace.

The online announcement had the usual lineup. Mayors and educators spoke about the importance of career readiness grants for Black and Latino residents in their cities. What was unusual about Tuesday’s event was the host, which wasn’t a foundation or the federal government.

It was JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank.

For several minutes on-screen, CEO Jamie Dimon talked about the need to address the nation’s long-term racial inequality through better career-prep in schools. The bank’s philanthropic arm is committing $35 million to a five-city, five-year effort to improve career readiness in underserved communities, part of a much larger corporate effort to tackle racial inequality. “To fix the problem, you’ve got to acknowledge it,” said Mr. Dimon, who is one of the many white Fortune 500 CEOs deploring America’s persistent racism.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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