$18,000 $2,250 $750



Recently as I was on my way to the Council For Opportunity In Education conference and I was reading a study that was conducted by the Corporation For Enterprise Development. The report was all about the growing racial wealth gap, the causes of it, and potential solutions. The reason it caught my attention is because of the media repeating one number, 228, but first let’s talk about the other numbers.

Based on their findings if the same growth continued over the next 30 years caucasian households would see their wealth grow $18,000 a year while hispanics would see growth of $2,250 a year and African American households would see $750 a year. If you think those numbers are disturbing let’s keep going. If you look at the wealthiest 100 members on the Forbes list their wealth alone is the same as every African American combined. Every African American combined! 100 people! That is still not the important number. The most important number that every news and media outlet picked up on was 228. This report said if nothing changes that it would take African Americans 228 years to close the racial wealth gap with caucasians.

Now that is the number that should cause you to pause. 228 years to close the gap! Also by the way the report said it would only take hispanics 84 years to close the gap. Closing the wealth gap has a lot to do with racial issues and a lot of it does not. Confused yet? What I mean by that statement is that yes there are so many reasons that African Americans are playing catch up (slavery, segregation, housing discrimination, unequal education, etc), but there are also people like Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune, A. Phillip Randolph, Madame C.J. Walker, Duke Ellington, Thurgood Marshall, Benjamin Banneker, my grandmother, my mother and so many more who rose above all of that terribleness to rise to greatness!

What they overcame to become who they are is nothing short of remarkable and if they were born at the same time I was we can only imagine what more they could have done! During the time they were born yes it should take 228 years or longer to close the wealth gap, but today when the most educated population is the African American woman I can’t accept 228. So why do I disagree? I disagree because of what I see as the possibilities to make change not only to close the racial wealth gap, but to also close the socioeconomic gap. There are people in all races who are looking to close the gap from low and middle income to high income. Every race has individuals who want to close the wealth gap in their lives and that is what this is about and that is what brings me back to the COE conference.

The individuals who attended the conference were TRiO professionals and they work with middle, high school, and college students. These students can be first generation, low income, middle income, or a minority and they are a part of different programs that these professionals run.

This is the US Department of Education’s definition of TRiO: The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes eight programs targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post baccalaureate programs.

My definition: I see them as individuals who are able to be on the front line of closing the racial and socioeconomic wealth gap! They all work non-stop to help students reach their highest potential. They are not the only ones, but also GEAR UP professionals and anyone else that works with high school and college students. Here is how it can be done…Continue Reading Here

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