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Success Is Best Path to Justice for the Disenfranchised

success as the best path to justice
(Artur Szczybylo/Dreamstime)

By Thursday, 11 June 2020 10:48 AM Current | Bio | Archive

These days are full of stress, protest and explosive rhetoric.

Sooner rather than later, we will have to address the major steps toward long-term economic stability.

That means revisiting the savings and retirement readiness gaps within our minority communities.

We have to better understand these challenges in order to implement the right ideas and policies that will make our country as a whole more secure.

It's clear how a lack of financial security leads to personal disarray and painful outcomes.

A stronger spotlight on sensible solutions would help more people share a piece of the opportunity pie.

It will take hard work to bring private sector solutions to this dilemma.

But clearly big government solutions haven’t done the job.

There are indeed some necessary steps to get the overall process rolling forward:

—We need to get our job engine running again. Corporate America is on alert on the need for action.

It may now be more interested in creative solutions for getting minority employment back on track and for providing enhanced job security.

In February of 2020, the black unemployment rate had plunged to 5.8% close to lowest figures since 1972 when records began.

Unfortunately by May, the Black unemployment rate surged to 16.8% and the Hispanic jobless rates jumped to 18.9%

Nearly 44% of Black families and 66% Hispanic Americans reported in April that they or someone in their family had experienced job loss due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A stunning downturn after historic employment gains in the past few years for all demographic groups.

The large number virus cases among black and Hispanic families also caused further stress to already strained household budgets

If many Americans who are now no longer earning incomes continue to stagnate, there is no way they can prepare for anything resembling retirement security.

—Now that Corporate America agrees that it is time to focus on minority hires and advancement, let’s ensure all employees have access to retirement savings

vehicles like 401(k)s. It’s not enough to just offer the plans with limited guidance.

Employers need to make sure these workers understand and take advantage of the value of these opportunities.

It is more important than ever for business to encourage participation in workplace savings plans and offer better educational tools so black and Hispanic/Latino employees build up some savings given their nest eggs are lagging.

In the most recent data available, White Americans had about $130,000 in liquid retirement savings like 401ks while Black Employees averaged only $19,000.

Black and Latino households may require more savings support. A proposal called "Promise Accounts," is a matching program in consideration to incentivize savings and provide a needed assist to get on wealth-building paths.

All accounts would be managed by the U.S. Department of Treasury guaranteeing safety, administrative efficiency and low cost.

—Let's raise the visibility of an impressive number of groups and successful professionals dedicated to helping minorities understand financial literacy and business opportunities.

New York Jets linebacker and Wharton graduate, Brandon Copeland, 28, teaches a financial literacy seminar, "LIFE 101" at the University of Pennsylvania.

His main lesson is the importance of saving. Regardless of the size of your paycheck, maintain the key discipline of saving part of your income.

Marshawn Lynch, a Seattle Seahawks running back, has sound advice to young players or anyone, and that is to take care of yourselves, and those you love, both mentally and physically. He also advises and cautions, "Money can easily be wasted, so be careful." 

Robert Smith, billionaire CEO of Vista Equity Partners, who recently paid all the student loans of Morehouse College graduating class of 2019, tells his black audience to take risk while young; position yourself to win in promising sectors of business no matter where your entry point; don’t let bad situations become barriers; learn how to stand your ground.

These are just some ways to build savings, wealth and security.

These black leaders and many others hammer home time tested ways all groups benefit from long established lucrative paths: starting businesses, owning homes, and investing in markets.

Americans are incredibly hardworking, resilient people — small business and the American worker is holding up better than many imagined.

The media myth that a mystical money machine exists to produce immense prosperity and privilege for only a chosen few and people of color are doomed because we have no access to this magic carpet does not do us justice.

That there has been untold suffering, racial injustice and cruel barriers to success is sadly true.

But now is the opportunity to grab this moment and create a new chapter to broaden prosperity, as long as the focus remains on results and not rhetoric.

America’s story is and will remain a tale of progress.

As a daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, we had painful struggles along the way working, assimilating and building a productive, ultimately wonderful life.

Tragedy can be a force multiplier to incentivize success.

And success however defined is the best path to justice.

Clara Del Villar is Director of Senior Initiatives at FreedomWorks Foundation. Her financial industry career included senior roles in Investment Management, Private Asset Management, and Capital Markets. Her entrepreneurial ventures involved digital media as Founder, CEO of The Hispanic Post; energy tech as founder of InEnergy and health tech. She is a former advisor at 60Plus Foundation. Currently, she is a Board Director at General American Investors Co. and Executive Committee of Weill Cornell Women’s Health Symposium. She earned a BSFS at Georgetown University. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.

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As a daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, we had painful struggles along the way working, assimilating and building a productive, wonderful life. Tragedy can be a force multiplier to incentivize success. And success however defined is the best path to justice.
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Thursday, 11 June 2020 10:48 AM
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