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Vol 1 No 2 November, 2021 Now is the time to build a Black Economic Infrastructure

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

This epidemic proves it is all about the Benjamins, as documented by the fact that every person, enterprise, and even the church is lining up for support, large, small, Black white, rich, poor, etc., with the wealthy segment firmly in control! It also proves that the lower economic parts are more than equal to the upper parts. Without the more minor contributors, the country would be at a standstill today. Driving home the recognition that "As the Black Community Excels, the entire City Excels." All parts of all cities are affected by the successes of their Black communities

But, this epidemic points out where our Black businesses and our communities are, in the

scheme of things, "an afterthought" on the bottom rung," due to the decades of conditions that have brought us to this place. Yet, the Black community assets are needed more than ever!

In light of our experiences and this illuminating time in history, we need to begin working on local community plans with commitments extending through this pandemic into the future! Local ideas that utilize the new federal resources and provide the underpinning for the future of our communities and businesses using the community design.

Now is the time to develop local community plans to bring about improvement within our Black communities! With an upcoming federal infrastructure proposal in its final stages of approval, our community leaders should develop a strategy to receive some of these funds in a manner that they determine. These funds tend to get lost in state and city treasuries and not be directed to the purposes for which they were created. This can be prevented, or at least cause the community needs to be addressed as defined by the community and anticipated by the articulation of a community plan which describes what and how the community foresees spending the new funds. If a community has a dream, it cannot be ignored. It must be considered within the creation of what a larger city or state offers. If the community has a plan, it is the plan for the community until and unless overridden!

These local community plans must contain strategies to create and grow our Benjamins and use them to lock up our future. They can create a local competitive advantage where and when possible and make communities distinct and different from one another if desired. The obvious would be to support and utilize Black and minority-owned businesses and increase their support that could extend through recovery from the coronavirus recession into the future. This help offered our Black businesses to regain their rightful place as an economic engine capable of supporting our communities. However, other local concerns include food deserts, wifi infrastructures, flood mitigation, transportation, which must be incorporated into the desired design.

The Atlanta Business League has a program worthy of imitation. It is called the 5% Solution. The 5% solution is a Strategy, calling for first, Black people to spend at least 5% more each year with Black businesses, Black businesses spending 5% more with each other and contributing 5% to community organizations, and finally, Black organizations spending 5% more with Black companies. The idea is to increase the circulation of the dollar within the Black Community. Second, the argument could be expanded to include any new outside business involvements be an investment within a particular community be required to return an (x) percentage of profits on an annual basis.

With all this money floating around, we need to help direct it to provide a Return on Investment within our community. We can create designs that ensure our communities have strategies with long-range potential and returns over time. We need to ensure that the new funding does not quickly escape the community and develop new ideas that cause these funds to turn over several times within the community before leaving.

We need to offer new policies that protect the community against tax abatement schemes and different ideas on capturing the funds and spending them first with local community Black businesses and organizations. We need to show the Black community that Black businesses deserve their support by having these Black businesses re-invest in the Black community, perhaps as a type of levy or business retention and recruitment! Or maybe, programs to take our underperforming residents and help them become contributing members of a community design. The potential infrastructure funds combined with the current efforts of the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and others to support Black businesses can make significant differences within these communities when guided by local leadership.

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