Page 6 - The Fayetteville Press Newspaper October 2021 Edition
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Page 6                                                                                         The Fayetteville Press September 30, 2021 Edition



                               Commentary












                                                                    Member of The NC Black Publisher Assocation & NNPA




                                        American Business Leaders Step Up to



                                                        Fight Inequities in the South




                                                                       By Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.


               (NNPA NEWSWIRE) — Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal                                                  leveraging relationships with local schools and libraries to distribute
           inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, politi-                                          laptops and service vouchers. Another tact SCI is taking is to partner
           cal leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of                                            with the owners of multi-unit buildings in low-income neighborhoods
           rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the                                          to install free public Wi-Fi for residents.
           Vietnam War. This toxic atmosphere has left them incapable of addressing                                                The lack of access to capital is another reason Black communi-
           pressing, yet ingrained issues like the racial wealth gap, the digital divide,                                     ties  throughout  the  South  have  been  traditionally  underbanked.  In
           and vast inequalities in everything from health care to home ownership.                                            Memphis, where 47 percent of Black households are underbanked,
               With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s re-                                               SCI is partnering with Grameen America to cover the $2 million per
           covery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities                                         year per branch start-up cost to build brick-and-mortar banks in mi-
           – particularly communities of color throughout the South – are struggling                                          nority communities.
           to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.                                                    This alone will provide 20,000 women access to more than $250
               From impediments to wealth creation opportunities and a dearth of                                              million per year in financing.
           education and workforce development to a lack of access to reliable broad-                                              Beyond these initiatives, SCI is partnering with groups like the
           band, substandard housing, and inadequate political representation, com-                                           Greater Houston Partnership and the Urban League of Louisiana to
           munities of color have suffered an outsized toll during the ongoing public                                         provide in-kind support to improve job outcomes for minority college
           health crisis.                                                                                                     students, expand access to home financing through partnerships with
               Yet political leaders can’t even agree on basic facts that would allow                                         community development financial institutions, and harness the power
           the nation to implement a coherent national strategy for combatting a                                              of technology to expand health care access in underserved urban and
           pandemic that appears to be entering a new wave amid the rise of the  SCI is aiming to drive long-term change, as outlined by rural neighborhoods.
           highly contagious Delta variant that is currently ravaging parts of the  PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Vista CEO Robert F. Smith and BCG  The issues facing these communities throughout the South are
           South.                                                        CEO Rich Lesser. In Atlanta, for example, SCI is working to not new nor will they be fixed overnight.
               Against that disillusioning backdrop, there is at least some reason  bridge the wealth gap that exists among the region’s African-  Fortunately, SCI is taking a long-term approach that is focused
           for hope. Moving to fill the vacuum created by the inaction of our political  American residents. While there is a strong Black business on getting to the root of structural racism in the United States and
           class, a group of business leaders in the technology and investment sec-  community in the city, and high levels of Black educational creating a more just and equitable country for every American.
           tors have embarked on a far-reaching – and perhaps unprecedented –  achievement thanks to the regional presence of several His-  A once-in-a-century pandemic and a social justice movement
           campaign to address the social inequities and systemic racism that has  torically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the voice not seen since the 1960s were not enough to break the malaise and
           historically plagued our country’s southern communities.      of the Black Press, there is still an extremely low level of Black rancorous partisanship in Washington. Fortunately, corporate leaders
               Known as the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI), the campaign  entrepreneurship and business ownership with only six per- are stepping up and partnering with local advocates and non-profit
           was founded by financial technology company PayPal, the investment  cent of employer firms being Black-owned.      groups to fix the problem of systemic injustice in the U.S.
           firm Vista Equity Partners (Vista), and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).  To remedy this disparity, SCI is working with the South-  We, therefore, salute and welcome the transformative commit-
               SCI was formed to work with local elected officials and advocacy  ern Economic Advancement Project to create entrepreneurship ments of the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI). There is no time
           groups  to  tackle  the  ubiquitous  problems  of  structural  racism  and  in-  hubs and accelerator programs to increase the number of mi- to delay, because as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so accurately said,
           equalities facing communities of color in six communities throughout the  nority-owned businesses. The corporations behind SCI are also “The time is always right to do what is right.”
           South. SCI notes that these areas – Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Hous-  using their networks to help other companies work with minor-  Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is President and CEO of the National
           ton, Memphis, and New Orleans – were chosen in part because they are  ity-owned supply companies.                  Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Executive Producer
           home to around 50 percent of the country’s Black population and are  In Alabama, SCI is seeking to bridge the massive digital and host of The Chavis Chronicles on PBS TV stations throughout
           where some of the greatest disparities exist.                 divide in an urban area where 450,000 households are without the United States. He can be reached at dr.bchavis@nnpa.org.
                                                                         connection to the internet. In order to tackle the crisis, SCI is


               ONLY THE STRONGEST SURVIVE                                                                                     can leader (Rev. Jesse Jackson) organized Operation PUSH (1973).
               By Dr. Mary J. Ferguson, Adjunct Professor                                                                     Minority children was to benefit from a concert of all the late Motown
                         Sometimes it is hard to imagine that we could do better, be                                          greats who performed to raise funds to fight poverty. Again, in year
           stronger and when we think we have given all we’ve got, there is still more                                        2021 it is time to ‘Save the Children’. “Save the Children (2021) is an
           to give. “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).                                              organization, a charity that is over 100 years old. It was established
           Challenging situations normally surface in our lives; we feel overwhelmed                                          to improve the lives of children through better education, healthcare,
           and defeated. Where does my help come from? ‘My help cometh from the                                               and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in
           Lord’.                                                                                                             natural disasters, war, and other conflicts.” We want to save ALL of
                                                                                                                              children. We don’t need a concert for awareness, just a shot. Man has
               “I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My                                              been given the knowledge to relay a solution to a massive problem.
           help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he                                                Social issues are always intertwined with political issues. Let us reach
           who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The sun will not                                           a consensus to be stronger, healthier, smarter, and a more loving people.
           harm you by day, nor the moon by night” (Psalms 121:1).                                                            No matter how rich, how poor, how saved or unsaved…we need help.
                                                                                                                              The 2020 visible and invisible restrictions have placed believable and
                Once, a friend of mine was having several home maintenance prob-                                              unbelievable statistics on the human race alone; it was riveting. We
           lems. He described his experience as ‘living in a den of a thousand devils’.                                       continue in 2021 to try and rationalize what to do with ourselves as an
           I found it hilarious, that phrase was a vivid one to reckon with, for some  By Dr. Mary J. Ferguson, Adjunct Professor  indication of moving forward in our faith, families, friends, jobs, and
           years later, I experienced the same problems. It only takes one thing to                                           battling with ourselves.
           cause a domino effect of woes. In our domains or humble abodes, it is
           usually the plumbing, heat, or air that can rock our worlds; things that war was covert and cold; now it is overt and hot. The enemy   I have come to the conclusion that love conquers all. All of the
           make us uncomfortable but yet we have no choice but to pay for repair. came for our elderly, health, minds, finances, relationships, our disagreements, confusion, and hurts dealt in 2020-21 is called ‘life’. It
           We are in debt now owing human repair. Money can not settle this debt; beautiful human existence, and now it has come for our chil- happens to the best and worst of us. But it never fails; in God’s timing
           this service is a free deposit to our account, America’s Children Account. dren. COVID has come for our children   He allow us to see the sense of it all. Fighting a losing battle is not a
           Are you up for the challenge? Are you strong enough to be accountable?          Children are extraordinary human beings. They are smart thing to do. Together we all win! There will always be situations
                         During the summer of 1968, one of my favorite shows was strong and knowledgeable. They are a joy and a gift from God. bigger than we are but I believe we have been given a solution to save
           ‘The Job Man Caravan’! No matter what I was doing in our house, I would Darwin theorized that they must survive so that the human our children.
           stop for the intro hoping Jerry Butler would be appearing. I never could race continues to exist. “Children are a gift from the Lord; they
           carry a tune, but my favorite song from this artist was ‘Only the Strong are a reward from him” (Psalms 127:3). “Children’s children are  SAVE OUR CHILDREN
           Survive’ from the album ‘The Ice Man Cometh’. He was such a cool guy! a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children”  When the road is weary and times are tough,
           That song always encouraged me, the melody, the calming of his smooth (Psalms 17:6). He has sent a messenger. Darwin spoke to the  God will decide when you have had enough.
           voice…just good music, good advice.                           science of animal and human existence; Jesus speaks to our                This battle seems long,
                                                                         very existence and our position on faith. If we could just reach         But it is making us strong.
                  Later during my educational journey, I learned about a theorist a consensus on saving our children, I believe we will save   Just a matter of time; just hold on.
           (Charles Darwin) who defined ‘strong’ not as person of high intelligence more than our children; we will save ourselves, faith, and prom-  Save our children!
           but a person who is willing to accept challenges. One could conclude that ise. The University of Southern California research statistics  When the sky is blue and you only see clouds,
           the last two years have been challenging; we are still in warfare. Every found that America alone has 114,000 children who have lost  There is nothing wrong with praying aloud.
           uniformed and plain clothesman is under attack; now the antagonist wants parents to the bowels of COVID-19 (Miller, 2021; USC, 2021).  When the cupboards are bare and no food to eat,
           to continue to test us. Our every existence is scrutinized. The very culture This study also reveals that many of our lower income families  Lean to the right of Him and have a seat.
           of living has become combative. What happens next? We try to protect are succumbing due to the lack of healthcare insurance. Count-  If your pockets are empty and you think there is no way,
           what is ours and retreat for safe dwelling. As for my personal human less leaders have fought for benefits for lower income families;  You woke up this morning to another God-blessed day.
           defense mode, I chose Darwinism who theorized...  ”As a consequence, health benefits have been the hardest to obtain.           He has given us a mission to stop the war,
           those individuals most suited to their environment survive and, given                                                     We do not have to hurt anyone, just save our little stars.
           enough time, the species will gradually evolve; the survival of the fittest   Sadly enough, our adult survival mode is all about busi-     Save our children!
           which applies to all forms of life and all environments, including ani- ness and government but our children are strong enough to  Our children are begging for a unified healthy time,
           mals and humans at different stages (Oxford, 2017). As for my overall simply desire normalcy. They want to go to school, they like  We need to come together at the drop of a dime!
           defense, I chose the Lord. He sends us man; chooses special people to people, they want to play, they simply want to be functional  No matter how tough the times may seem,
           grasp our attention and fills them with knowledge. Those chosen people both physically and mentally. Let us not lose our minds while  For you know to take your position to the right of Him.
           are messengers and mercenaries who oftentimes experience being hurled in the process of breaking down our bodies. Historically, dur-  Hold your peace, do not let out a defeatist scream.
           with insults, microscopically viewed, and attacked with suppression. Yet, ing the 20  century, there have been mandatory vaccines and  Help All of the children reach at least one of their dreams!
                                                                                 th
           they are strong; they are survivors. He knew them before they knew them- lives were saved. When we travel abroad, we are vaccinated.       Save our children!
           selves. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you When we are born there are mandatory vaccines. It is crucial  What was taken from you on any given day,
           were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” that we save ourselves for our children and in the process, we  Can be replaced and you do not need any monetary pay.
           (Jeremiah 1:5).                                               must save our children.                                         The gift of love and care has been cast upon us.
                                                                                                                                          Use it to save our future, we definitely must.
               The war continues while numerous leaders are retreating and say-  This warfare is not visible so, seeing is not believing.  Hold on, hold tight amid all that seems unreal.
           ing ‘enough’. Good people are separating themselves from the frontlines This warfare is real; attached is a very real message. The en-  Believe me, it is not over,
           of government, schools, and churches; simply exhausted and disappointed emy came for our most precious commodities (our elderly and     God has more to reveal.
           because they may believe that a consensus is not within their reach. The now our young). Let us not rob ourselves. An African Ameri-     Save our CHILDREN!
                                                                                                                                                     Save our children…
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