Building Black Wealth

April 27, 2023  •  5:30 pm Central Reception  •  6:00 pm Panel Discussion  •  Hybrid

Panelists: Jozelle Booker, Dr. Charles McKinney, Erik Stevenson
Moderator: Roshun Austin

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Part of the Catalyst for Change Distinguished Speaker Series, Building Black Wealth: Past, Present, & Future, will focus on economic empowerment by diving into the history of structural racism and the systems designed to separate Black Americans from higher education, purchasing homes, accessing high-paying jobs, and more, we begin to understand these facts: 

  • White Americans hold 84% of total US wealth but make up only 60% of the population - while Black Americans hold 4% of the wealth and make up 13% of the population (Federal Reserve of Minneapolis).
  • The wealth gap has consistently increased since 2010.
  • In 2016, the average Black household held $124,000 less wealth than the average White household (Brookings Institute).

The panelists include:

  • Jozelle Booker, President & CEO of Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum, whose work supports the growth and development of minority and women-owned businesses through advocacy, business consulting, capacity building, public and private contact connections and access to capital;
  • Dr. Charles McKinney, Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College, whose areas of expertise are the Civil Rights/Black Power Era, African American Activism, and African American Politics; and,
  • Erik Stevenson, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Greater Memphis Chamber. His work as a professional is centered around developing communities that have been historically underserved.

The moderator is Roshun Austin, President/CEO of The Works, Inc. The pre-event reception begins at 5:30 pm.

When faced with a history of oppression and a present rife with inequity, we must look to the experts to design a strategy for the future. Our panelists will cover strategies for building equity through capital gains and social programs and for policy reform that addresses the high cost of education, increasing debt, and increasing interest rates.

This panel discussion aims to analyze the systematic economic disinvestment of Black people throughout history and its effect on the present-day wealth gap. Through this analysis of labor, (un)employment, and economic development, panelists will inspire action toward building a future of economic safety and prosperity for the Black community.


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