Courier Times: To rebuild PA, we must help minority-owned small businesses

Courier Times, September 23, 2020: To rebuild PA, we must help minority-owned small businesses 

Many minority-owned small businesses are struggling to keep going, even with the Paycheck Protection Program providing loans to small businesses. One reason they still struggle is because minority borrowers experienced discrimination for banking services.

Rather than save lives and livelihoods, President Donald Trump fostered a blame-game targeting Asian American communities — claiming these communities were responsible for COVID-19. The president’s referring to COVID-19 as “kung flu” contributed to 2,583 incidents of discrimination and violent acts and to nationwide decimation of Asian American-owned businesses.

Beyond Chinatowns, there was a 22% drop in small businesses nationally — the largest drop on record. Black and Latinx-owned businesses were hit especially hard, dropping 41% and 32%, respectively. These losses are devastating on all jobs. Last year, 1.1 million minority-owned small businesses employed 8.7 million workers, which generated over $1 trillion. Without these businesses, unemployment will increase. The economy will decrease.

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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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