You Don’t Plant Greens and Get Corn

A note from The Highland Project’s Founder, Gabrielle Wyatt

The Highland Project
7 min readJun 20, 2022

I had the honor of gathering with the inaugural cohort of Highland Leaders in Jackson, MS at the beginning of this month to share breakfast with civil rights activist and leader Ms. Flonzie Brown Wright. She reminded us “you don’t plant greens and get corn.” As Black households and communities come together today for a second day of honoring our ancestors and celebrating Juneteenth, I’m sitting with Ms. Flonzie’s words.

Highland Leaders and Ms. Flonzie Brown Wright in Jackson, MS

Two years ago after the senseless murders of Black Americans flooded mainstream media, we saw national pledges across sectors to invest in, protect and honor Black lives. For the first time- since 1865 — Juneteenth became a federal holiday. Billions of corporate and philanthropic dollars were pledged to fight systemic racism and discrimination. Very little has flowed to date.

Rhetoric and symbolism alone will not get us protected, respected and thriving Black communities for multiple generations. You don’t plant greens and get corn.”

In just one year since The Highland Project’s first national poll of over 700 Black women, rhetoric and symbolism has not made us better off. In our latest poll in partnership with brilliant corners Research & Strategies:

  • In just one year since our last national poll, Black women not only feel left out but falling behind in the economy writ large: 57% say economic conditions are getting worse. 53% say their own wages are falling behind the cost of living.
  • Black women continue to name concerns about a number of issues beyond just the economy. While lowering inflation and the cost of goods is of concern (33%), police reform (25%), voting rights (22%), health care (20%), women’s reproductive rights (20%) and college affordability and improving K-12 education (25%) remain top issues.
  • Black women are not just worried about present day economic conditions; they are worried about how today impacts their futures and the futures of their communities.
  • Black women are not seeing educational attainment as a means to thrive economically. College degrees are not protecting economic anxieties.

Black women simply cannot escape all of the compounding issues as our lives are uniquely influenced by several systemic and social factors.

“You don’t plant greens and get corn.”

This Juneteenth, our humanity as Black women and communities is on the line. If we are serious about multi-generational change and investing in Black communities, then we must invest beyond the next decade of leadership and in seven generations forward. We must plant and invest in abundance.

What might this look like? At Camelback’s Guardian Summit this month, I asked a room full of investors and other leaders to imagine a world where we invested abundantly in Black women. Celebrated Black women abundantly. Amplified Black women abundantly. They had thirty minutes to come up with as many possibilities and visions as possible. No idea was a bad idea. No idea had to be fully fleshed out or considered “reasonable” by today’s status quo. Why? Because we must plant abundance.

We’re inspired by the manifesto they seeded and on this Juneteenth, we ask you to reflect on, add to, and invest in this vision of abundance.

130 Ways to Invest in, Amplify, and Celebrate Black Women by 2022 Guardian Summit Attendees

  1. Ask Black women what they need
  2. Black women are able to take care of themselves first and burdens are lifted
  3. Black women can do what they are passionate about and it is valued
  4. Invest in activists in the same way we do entrepreneurs
  5. Redefine expectations of a women’s role in society
  6. Men are advocates and champions
  7. Elect a Black woman President
  8. Cancel student loans
  9. “DEI” is gone! No one is the DEI lead because it is integrated and viewed as integral to success
  10. Invest in maternal health initiatives
  11. Establish gender and racial pay equity
  12. Equalize family leave
  13. 100% of public companies are Black women CEOs
  14. Endow Black-led non-profits
  15. Invest in school suspension reform
  16. Black women can make mistakes as they innovate and not be punished
  17. Require 10-year spend down of all foundations — get rid of permanent philanthropy
  18. Provide full tax breaks for donations to Black-led organizations / investments in Black-owned companies
  19. Experience matters as much as “credentials”
  20. Invest in Black women maternal health care
  21. Invest in a sustainable climate / planet
  22. Investing in education must to free next generation from debt
  23. Invest in funding alternative schools
  24. Universal broadband!
  25. Invest in safe spaces
  26. Fund inter-generational conversations
  27. Cultivate 10 more MacKenzie Scotts
  28. Celebrate: turn our networks into ambassador groups to amplify our work and impact
  29. Invest in resources to support Black women who are the leading caregivers for their families
  30. Invest in culturally competent childcare
  31. Invest in outsourcing non-essential services to support all Black women in imagining the future
  32. Invest in wealth development advising
  33. Invest in changing the rules of the game
  34. Invest in shifting power and decision making
  35. Invest in listening space
  36. Invest in stipends for preventative health
  37. Mandate a 15% pledge for Black-women owned business
  38. Invest in individualized education plans
  39. Create policies — federal and state — that empower Black girls
  40. Create Black Girl Joy Fund — funding the arts, gardening, and more
  41. Invest in free Montessori education for Black girls
  42. Support Black women in creating stories for Black girls
  43. Invest in Black women-led institutions
  44. Create ‘common core’ for white people about the impact of Black women on society
  45. Invest in raising children as anti-racists
  46. Endow chairs and fellowships at universities
  47. Limited partnerships redefine requirements for first time WOC fund managers
  48. There’s more growth equity supporting women
  49. There’s more publicly traded Black women-led businesses
  50. Create Giving Pledge for Black women
  51. Develop an endowed Liberation Fund to finance education for Black women
  52. Create minimum basic income for Black women without restrictions
  53. Create a Black Economic Alliance focused on Black women
  54. Invest in citizenship programs for Black women immigrants
  55. Raise $1M for every Black woman in politics
  56. Invest in funds for Black women in technology and entrepreneurship
  57. Create universal childcare for Black women
  58. Create free accreditation process for Black women to become Superintendents
  59. There are no government grants or corporate contracts to organizations without Black women in C-suite with true decision-making roles, not in DEI or fundraising roles
  60. Invest in a “Break Fund” — paid sabbaticals for Black women
  61. Health insurance companies pay for mental health services for all
  62. Black women have full autonomy over their health
  63. Medical trials include Black women
  64. Increase funding for research on diseases disproportionately impacting Black women
  65. Invest in, celebrate and amplify empathy
  66. Shift power: white men leave the room, send the elevator up
  67. Cash to Black women
  68. Invest in Quality and affordable health
  69. Guaranteed income
  70. Pay equity
  71. Invest in Youth cash transfer / investments
  72. Mailbox money and legacy money
  73. Invest in ownership and education
  74. Have opportunities for Black women everywhere — and, where they want to be
  75. Adjust access to basic needs, so leaders are not struggling to afford
  76. Recognizing work, valuing all work
  77. Workplaces were women’s greatness shines
  78. Representation and influence on boards of top companies
  79. Path to leadership its not limited by childcare needs, etc.
  80. Women are leaders and then can pass down/on power, money and policy
  81. Policies to hold corporations accountable
  82. White men leaving the room and power
  83. Invest in mentoring and exposure
  84. Re-imagine workplaces / places of influence
  85. Re-imagine education
  86. Systems change in care economy: education, housing, finance
  87. Invest not in “affordable” housing, but access and ownership
  88. Invest in cash transfer / UBI to women and a social network of supports
  89. Invest in access
  90. Invest in the playbook of strategy and intentionality
  91. Teach Black men how to co-power with Black women in corporate spaces
  92. Help growth equity in supporting Black women
  93. Help micro-businesses take advantage of technical assistance
  94. Help Black women access banking relationships
  95. Invest in increasing Black women leading organizations — HBCUs, legacy civil rights organizations
  96. Amplify Black women!
  97. Recognize Black women!
  98. Re-distribute wealth
  99. Reform global taxes
  100. Invest in senior care
  101. Invest in childcare
  102. Create provisions on down payments
  103. Create tiny home and other ownership assistance programs
  104. Invest in financial literacy
  105. Ban predatory lending
  106. Invest in cooperative land ownership
  107. Energy and real estate retrofits for health and self-sufficiency
  108. Role model different definitions of beauty
  109. Increase visibility of Black women on traditional public platforms — statues, currency
  110. Expanded healthcare
  111. Expand flexible work options
  112. Create a new network of funders
  113. Normalize where Black people are traditionally not seen as essential and central
  114. Change narrative at systemic players/ecosystems to ready them for Black workforce
  115. Exposure/training — Rock the Street — craft and confidence
  116. Push policy for culturally sensitive / disruptive engagement with financial systems / “literacy”
  117. Protect voting rights
  118. Narrative / storytelling that emphasizes what Black people are especially incredible at because of our history
  119. Narrative change: Black people are innovators
  120. Decentralized power over where funding goes
  121. Everyone has a therapist
  122. Everyone is taught truth and reconciliation
  123. Everyone is taught the history of colonization
  124. Guaranteed income and baby bonds for young people
  125. Free universal maternal care
  126. Free health insurance
  127. Investment in storytelling about Black joy, beauty, and belonging
  128. Invest in sponsors and mentors
  129. There are consistent and growing pathways to Board representation
  130. There are consistent and growing pathways to ownership



The Highland Project

We invest in the sustainability, joy, healing, & impact of Black women leaders.