Why black wealth? Why now? Race has shaped the fortunes of individuals and communities since America’s inception, and systemic racial inequality has caused African Americans to unduly bear the burden of limited opportunity. The wealth gap is a problem of staggering magnitude: Black households in the United States own only 12 cents in wealth for every dollar owned by white households. The 400 richest American billionaires have mpore total wealth than all 10 million African American households combined. And this problem spans generations: one in five black Americans is experiencing poverty for the third generation in a row, compared to just one in 100 in white Americans. COVID-19 further weaponized this racial wealth gap, as households of color experienced economic and social harms related to the pandemic.
Building wealth in black communities–which goes well beyond merely increasing income–is vital to ensure susatained economic development and prosperity for all African Americans. Research tells us that the wealth gap is 6 to 8 times larger than the income gap., and it drives far more intergenerational inequity. We know that generational wealth is a key of political power. Without that power, African Americans will continue to remain at the margins. Further, making strategic investments in African Americans will help other marginalized communities and our entire nation. With people of color set to comprise a majority of the U.S. population within the next few decades, our nation cannot afford to continue restricting these communities from building wealth and prosperity.