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Counter Punch: Rebuilding Black-Owned Businesses After COVID-19

Counter Punch, April 23, 2021, Rebuilding Black-Owned Businesses After COVID-19

With over half of American adults now at least partially vaccinated, many of us are beginning to imagine a future beyond the pandemic. But for the many small businesses that didn’t survive, there’s no “after.”

Black-owned businesses have been especially hard-hit. That’s because even after three pandemic relief packages, there’s an elephant in the room that every resource, policy, and program is failing to address: the preexisting conditions of Black entrepreneurs.

In a new paper for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, we offer a few ideas.

First, we advocate direct stimulus payments to spur revenue growth for Black businesses, as well as a new system of partners and resources to support Black-owned, Black-led banks and institutions that can deliver capital for these enterprises.

We also support greater transparency in data collection for small business lending. We need to hold financial institutions accountable for historic discrimination in their lending and credit practices.

Finally, we support making unemployment benefits permanently available to self-employed people who lose their income. And we urge a transition to universal health care that will benefit Black Americans, entrepreneurs, and the nation as a whole.

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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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