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Showing posts from 2023

Racial Disadvantage and Government Aid

In a recent article, the Washington Post presented a contentious view on the role of federal programs in addressing racial inequality. The paper indicated these programs are based on flawed assumptions of inherent disadvantage, but this overlooks the nuanced complexities of systemic barriers faced by minority groups. What is needed is a more honest, ethical, balanced perspective, highlighting the historical context and the necessity of such programs. Read more:

2024 Economic Outlook for Minority Businesses and Firms: Navigating a Changing Landscape

Influenced by legal developments, the election, macroeconomic shifts, and investment trends, minority owned businesses face a complex year ahead. Legal and Regulatory Environment: The aftermath of the 2023 Fearless Fund lawsuit has stirred significant conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This case, challenging the support for Black female entrepreneurs, shines a light on systemic discrimination in business funding. Compounding this is Elon Musk's contentious statement on DEI, sparking further debate. A concerning report on Navy Federal, the nation's largest credit union, revealed over half of Black mortgage applicants were rejected, underscoring deep-seated disparities in financial services and systemic biases in lending. 2024 Economic and Market Outlook: The Federal Reserve's economic indicators for 2024 and 2025 signal a cautious yet hopeful scenario: - GDP growth: 1.5% (2024), 1.8% (2025) - Inflation: 2.8% (2024), 2.4% (2025) - Unemployment: Stabl

How The 8th Circuit's Ruling Echoes the Struggle of Rosa Parks

  When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that Montgomery bus in 1955, she was exercising more than defiance; she was claiming her right to equal treatment under the law—a principle that would eventually lead to monumental changes across the United States. Yet, a recent ruling from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals casts a long shadow over the legacy of Parks and the countless individuals who have fought for civil rights through the legal system. The court's decision, which restricts the ability to sue under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act to the U.S. Department of Justice, effectively removes a vital tool from the hands of private citizens and organizations like the NAACP—groups that stand on the frontlines against racial discrimination in voting. This move to limit who can bring a racial gerrymandering suit to court is more than a legal technicality; it is a barrier potentially as obstructive as the one Rosa Parks faced on that bus. If Parks were with us today, facing a

Black Family-Owned Businesses Doubled Since 2019

New data has revealed a promising trend for Black Americans, indicating a significant increase in assets, including ownership of businesses and stocks, over the past three years.  See:  and

Henry Bridgers at DC Fintech Week, 2023

Henry Bridgers and Chris Brummer Henry Bridgers at DC Fintech Week, 2023 DC Fintech Week , which I attended on November 8th, featured a diverse range of sessions and prominent speakers. It began with a discussion on tokenized assets, moderated by CNBC Tech reporter MacKenzie Sigalos. It included speakers such as Dante Disparte from Circle and Martin Moloney from the International Organization of Securities Commissions. Next, chairperson of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson, Gary Gensler, discussed securities law with host and Georgetown Law School professor Chris Brummer.  The event continued with sessions on Hong Kong's crypto agenda, the future of the U.S. dollar, and the implementation of MiCA with speakers like Julia Leung, Maj. Margaret Smith, Chris Giancarlo, and Michael Greenwald. The day concluded with a session on FedNow and FedFuture, featuring Nick Stanescu, the Senior Vice President of FedNow. This comprehensive agenda covered significant fintech a

These Options Can Help Black Americans Grow Investments In The Coming Year

These Options Can Help Black Americans Grow Investments In The Coming Year

A Comprehensive Peace Framework for Israel and Hamas

Including the World Zoom Forum: To ensure the involvement of a diverse range of voices and address the international dimension of the Israel-Hamas crisis, we propose the establishment of a "World Peace Forum" as an integral part of the solution. This forum will leverage technology and diplomatic tools to manage a conversation involving millions of participants from around the world.  I. World Peace Forum:    A. The World Peace Forum (WPF) will be a global online platform open to the public.    B. It will feature structured discussions, expert panels, and interactive dialogues.    C. WPF will enable people worldwide to voice their concerns, ideas, and perspectives on the Israel-Hamas conflict. II. Managing the World Peace Forum:    A. Utilize advanced AI-powered moderation and filtering to manage a large number of participants.    B. Categorize discussions by themes and topics to ensure constructive dialogue.    C. Host regular virtual events featuring prominent figures, diplo

Oil and the Slave Trade. Gregory Savioz-Buck, Intern, University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

Profit serves as the linchpin of the capitalist system, permeating every aspect of our society. This relentless pursuit of financial gain is synonymous with progress and prosperity. Oil companies epitomize the essence of this capitalist framework, being massive enterprises that amass immense wealth. However, it is imperative to acknowledge that greater the profit, greater the damage. Oil corporations are enormously affluent, but their operations bear a substantial burden of responsibility for widespread environmental degradation. Their unrelenting exploration, excavation, and exploitation of certain ecosystems come at a significant ecological cost. An intriguing connection surfaces here, one that interlinks the capitalist machine epitomized by oil giants with the historical atrocity of the slave trade. It is crucial to clarify that we are not equating oil companies with a new form of slavery, but there exist parallels between the profit-driven mechanisms at play. Both systems share a c

Modern-Day Tulsa, Ongoing Racial Discrimination, and the Fight for Racial Equality

The history of the United States is a complex tapestry woven with contrasting threads, some bright, others mournful and grotesque. The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 represents one of the worst chapters in American history. It's a story we must confront today as a stark reminder of the long and challenging journey towards racial equality. Greenwood, known as "Black Wall Street," was a thriving Black and Native American community that had defied the odds by accumulating wealth through early 20th-century oil discoveries in Oklahoma. The resilience and prosperity of this community proved to be a thorn in the side of white residents who resented the growing Black wealth. This resentment laid the groundwork for the tragic events of May 31 and June 1, 1921. The Tulsa Massacre left over 35 blocks of the city in ruins, more than 1,200 homes destroyed, and an estimated 300 people dead, most of them Black. Ten thousand people were left homeless. The events of 1921 in Tulsa aren't


Navigating the landscape of government agencies and their programs can be frustrating for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Two agencies that are at the forefront of discussions on federal government assistance to small businesses are the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). While both agencies seek to foster economic growth by providing support to businesses, they serve distinct purposes and cater to different demographics. In this article, we will explore the differences between the SBA and MBDA to help you better understand their respective roles and how they can benefit your business. The Small Business Administration (SBA): The Small Business Administration, commonly known as the SBA, is a federal agency that primarily focuses on assisting small businesses, regardless of their ownership. Established in 1953, the SBA offers a range of services, including financial assistance, educational resources, a

Focusing on the Racial Aspects of Climate Change Will Create a More Resilient Society

Addressing the racial aspects of climate change is not just a matter of justice; it is a strategic imperative supported by data and statistics. By recognizing and prioritizing the vulnerabilities and challenges that marginalized communities face in the context of climate change, we can create a more resilient and effective response to this global crisis. Here's why a data-driven focus on racial aspects of climate change is crucial for the well-being of society as a whole: **1. The Economic Toll of Climate Change**: Climate change is a costly crisis. One study estimates that extreme weather events alone cost a staggering $16 million per hour in damages.  From 2000 to 2019, the world witnessed over $2.8 trillion in damages attributed to intensified storms, floods, and heatwaves, a financial burden that society bears collectively. **2. Racial Disparities in Economic Impact**: Delving into the economic aspect, the racial disparities are striking. A study identifies a $13 trillion loss

Climate Change Deniers: US vs Europe. Gregory Savioz-Buck, Intern, University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

Since the international community first raised concerns about climate change, there have always been individuals who question the theory. Nevertheless, the tangible effects of climate change are undeniably evident today, exemplified by a summer marked by adverse climate records. Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere by hemisphere. Source: NASA.   Interestingly, a segment of people remains skeptical about humanity's role in these frequently devastating alterations. This group of climate skeptics appears to be more vocal in America than in Europe. The reasons behind this discrepancy beg exploration. Is it a matter of greater numbers, or is it simply that their voices carry further? Regardless, in the US, individuals who harbor doubts about human-induced climate change often engage in debates over the relevance of government and organizational efforts to combat climate change. This ongoing discourse significantly impedes progress toward a more sustainable world. In contrast, Europe appears

Minority Business Development Agency Listening Session

MBDA Listening Session. September 20, 2023. On Wednesday the 20th of September, Under Secretary Donald Cravins of the US Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) hosted a crucial listening session at the department's library. This gathering provided a valuable platform for minority business owners, impact investors, and researchers to engage in a dialogue concerning the challenges confronting Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Recent legal developments have underscored the urgency of this conversation. The Role of MBDA Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) are commercial or non-profit organizations in which 51% or more of the common stock or other ownership stakes are held by members of the following groups: Asian-Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic or Latino Americans, Native Americans, women or combinations of persons from these groups. These firms and non-profits are pivotal contributors to the US economy, adding billions of dollars to US GDP and g

SBA LENDING TO BLACK BUSINESSES DOUBLED SINCE 2020. Jeffrey McKinney, Black Enterprise Magazine

Calling it “historic progress,” the U.S. Small Business Administration announced it has doubled lending to Black businesses nationwide in multiple categories. The SBA on Thursday, Sept. 21, reported it has backed 4,387 loans to Black-owned businesses so far in fiscal  2023 via its 7(a) and 504 loan programs, over twice as many as since 2020. In terms of loan amounts, a total of $1.3 billion has been provided, constituting a 7.5% overall share of SBA-approved loans for businesses, also showcasing a doubling since 2020. The SBA reported that women and people of color have led a historic small business boom. Some 13.1 million new business applications have been filed with the agency since President Joe Biden took office— a rate 65% faster than the pre-pandemic average.   SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman and Congressman Steven Horsford (D–NV Fourth District) announced the loan performance at the 2023 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference on Thursday.

2023 Contracting Summit: Equity in Government Contracting, Henry Bridgers, Grinnell College, Intern.

On Thursday, September 14th, the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) hosted the  2023 Contracting Summit: Equity in Government Contracting . At this event, public sector representatives and government contractors gathered in the  White House Eisenhower Executive Office building  to discuss current initiatives and contracting opportunities for minority business enterprises (MBEs). The Summit began with a welcome by  Donald R. Cravins , Under Secretary of Commerce for the MBDA.  Mr. Cravins  gave a brief overview of the issues minority businesses face, drawing attention to the lack of minority representation in contracting.   After Mr. Cravins' address, Gene B. Sperling, Senior Advisor to the President, shared brief remarks before returning to the White House to address issues concerning the  United Auto Workers’ Strike in Michigan . Public Sector Panel: Overview and Updates on Federal Investments The next session was the  Public Se

Unlocking Financial Success: Recent Developments in SBA 7(a) Lending

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and their success is vital for overall economic growth. Yet, one of the biggest challenges these businesses face is accessing the capital they need to grow, hire, and innovate. This is where the Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) 7(a) loan program comes in. **### What Is the MBDA Program? ###** The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. **### What Is the SBA 7(a) Loan Program? ###** The SBA 7(a) loan program is the SBA's primary business loan program, aimed at providing financial assistance to small businesses. It offers loans that can be used for various purposes, including: Acquiring, Refinancing, or Improving Real Estate and Buildings: Whether you're looking to purchase a new property, expand your existing one, or refu

North Korea's Perspective on BRICS Expansion. Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are moving to establish a new international monetary system to replace the U.S. dollar. North Korea claims that the current international economic order is unfair, centered on the U.S. dollar, and welcomes the expansion of the BRICS to break this unequal order.  "The unprecedented international movement to restrict the use of the Dala (dollar) and the trend of many countries joining the BRICS are accelerating the end of the dollar as a key currency and the subsequent end of U.S. hegemony," the (North) Korean Central News Agency KCNA said in a report issued under the name of international critic Jung Il-hyun. "It is a well-known fact that the dollar-based international monetary system has become the second pillar of the U.S. global hegemony along with military means," the news agency said. "A representative example is financial sanctions imposed on Russia after the Ukraine crisis." BRICS countr

Black America Should Apply for Membership in BRICS

In a world that constantly evolves and redefines the dynamics of power and influence, the time has come for African Americans to explore innovative avenues that can bolster their collective progress. One such opportunity lies in seeking membership within the BRICS alliance – a coalition of emerging economies that has reshaped global diplomacy and economic dynamics. By advocating for African American inclusion in BRICS, we can pave the way for enhanced socio-economic empowerment, representation, and collaboration on an international scale. BRICS, comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, represents a formidable force in the global arena. This group brings together nations that share common challenges and aspirations, including a desire to break free from historical patterns of cultural dominance. The potential benefits for African Americans to engage with BRICS are significant and multifaceted: 1. Economic Empowerment: The BRICS economies contribute significantly to t

Before the Emergence of BRICS: Non-Aligned Movements and Unity. Gregory Savioz-Buck, University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

BRICS refers to the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, enlarged in 2010 with addition of South Africa to the predecessor BRIC. Before the emergence of the BRICS, there were several non-aligned movements and groups formed in response to the Cold War and a desire to maintain sovereignty.  These coalitions were born out of the preference to remain independent, steering clear of aligning with major superpowers during the Cold War. These movements sought to safeguard their national interests, maintain self-determination, and forge a path distinct from the ideological struggles of the era. Here are a few examples: Non-Aligned Movement (NAM): The most prominent and well-known non-aligned group was the Non-Aligned Movement, founded in 1961. It consisted of newly independent countries from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The NAM aimed to remain neutral in the Cold War conflicts and promoted peaceful coexistence, decolonization, and economic cooperation among member sta

Fearless Fund Lawsuit part of a disturbing trend

This complex tale of systemic inequality pivots around a recent legal clash. The American Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER), founded by a conservative activist instrumental in the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision rejecting affirmative action, has taken aim at an Atlanta-based venture capital fund: the Fearless Fund. This fund stands as a vital force in supporting Black women-owned small businesses, providing them a platform for growth and empowerment. Notably, the Fearless Fund has also backed African American-owned enterprises like Capway, as they venture into the competitive fintech space. See:

Reaction to the Montana Youth Climate Case. Jeongmin Yoon, ESG Intern, Incheon National University.

In a landmark climate case, a group of young people in Montana secured a significant legal victory when a judge ruled that the state's failure to consider climate change impacts when approving fossil fuel projects was unconstitutional. The ruling comes amidst a summer of extreme heat and wildfires, highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change. This decision marks a turning point in the fight against government support for oil, gas, and coal industries, which contribute to global warming. The court found that the plaintiffs, representing a range of ages from 5 to 22, have a constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment that includes climate considerations. Montana must now factor in climate change when making decisions about fossil fuel projects. As a young person and a Korean, I'm deeply concerned about the global impacts of climate change. The Montana case is not only a victory for the young plaintiffs but also a message to governments worldwide about thei

BRICS Summit 2023: Navigating the Transformation of Global Finance

Recent developments in the global financial landscape have captured the attention of the finance world, promising a new era of integration, transformation, and collaboration. Amidst the excitement, however, it is essential to acknowledge the formidable obstacles that stand in the way of realizing these ambitions. The 2023 BRICS Summit , slated to convene amidst this shifting landscape, is poised to be a significant juncture that could have profound implications for the future of international finance. The resurgence of Bitcoin, marked by an impressive, if smaller, year-to-date price surge, has underscored its enduring relevance. Similar concerns surround the exploration of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The UK's digital pound initiative, while forward-looking, raises questions about stability, security, and privacy and potential economic power imbalances. The notion of a BRICS digital currency, potentially extended to include several countries, reflects a desire to chall

Easy Ways to Make Your Podcast Better. Gregory Savioz-Buck, Intern, University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

When it comes to creating an impactful podcast, quality equipment is key. Microphones and cameras are the unsung heroes that can make your content truly shine. Microphones capture the essence of your voice, turning your words into captivating stories. Whether you are going for the warm tones of a condenser microphone or the crisp clarity of a dynamic one, choosing the right microphone can enhance the listener experience and draw them into the recording room. Cameras, on the other hand, add a visual dimension to your podcast. Video podcasts are becoming increasingly popular, allowing your audience to see the faces behind the voices. A well-framed shot and good lighting can create a professional look that resonates with your listeners. However, it is not just about having the fanciest equipment. Understanding how to use your gear effectively is equally important. Proper microphone placement and camera angles can impact the overall quality of your podcast.

Critical Reflection on JPMorgan Chase's Investments in Minority Depository Institutions

From:  The Current State of Black Banking . August 12, 2016.  On April 28, 2003, several major US investment banks, including J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMC), were embroiled in aiding and abetting efforts to defraud investors, leading to a fine of $1.4 billion imposed by the SEC. Despite the severity of their fraudulent actions, the repercussions for these institutions seemed inadequate to deter future unethical practices. In 2012, the LIBOR scandal brought to light a series of deceitful maneuvers linked to the London Inter-bank Offered Rate. Banks unscrupulously manipulated interest rates to bolster their own profits or portray themselves as more creditworthy than they actually were. This scandal, involving approximately $350 trillion in derivatives, stands as an unparalleled financial scam in history. Unfortunately, the punishment meted out to the involved institutions did not seem to be a sufficient deterrent against future misconduct. These incidents serve as a backdrop for examining t

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