Racial realism in Black finance reflects the persistent anti-Black barriers that keep the Black community from gaining equitable access to capital. At the federal level, one of the largest and least-elevated stories is the immense, anti-Black wealth transfer of the federal COVID-19 relief programs. Specifically, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP awarded over $542 billion in aid to U.S. businesses and organizations to incentivize retaining employees. Less than two percent of that aid reached Black-owned organizations!
To contextualize, Black wealth in 2020 remains near zero due to centuries of systemic anti-Black racism. COVID-19 predictably hit the Black community harder than most, and yet, the massive federal tax dollars used for relief wholesale failed to reach Black communities. Instead, the funding went overwhelmingly to wealthy white communities, only further compounding existing racial wealth, economic, and health gaps.
This is racial realism: the perpetual, unrelenting anti-Black racism baked into every facet of our society. And this is why King County Equity Now was formed: to combat racial realism in King County by: (i) vigorously calling out anti-Blackness in all forms, at all institutions; (ii) organizing with local Black community to elevate equity solutions that, when followed, will lead the Black community to measurable markers of equity; and (iii) ensuring such solutions are put into practice.
Below, we highlight just a few campaigns to combat anti-Blackness in capital access including the: (a) collective demand for $300M in American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funding to go directly to the local Black community; and (b) Washington State Housing & Finance Commission (WSHFC)'s anti-Black funding policies (including its initial plan to exclude all Black projects from its 2021 quarter billion dollar allocation). That is, we highlight how anti-Black racism impacts the Black community's access to capital both during a global pandemic and routinely in a local institution. Take action to combat this below.
King County Equity Now Demands $300 Million In Direct Investments To Black Community
“Current, white-centric, non-community-based services do not work for a predominantly Black service population,” says Emijah Smith, Chief of Staff for King County Equity Now. The collective is advocating for $300 million of investment directly into the Black community for service and other holistic relief. Read the Seattle's Medium's piece to learn more about the collective, cross-sector demand.
Local Leaders Call for American Rescue Plan Act to Invest More in Black Community
“To prove that Black lives matter, local government will need to invest in those communities, said Isaac Joy, president of King County Equity Now (KCEN), on a May 17 call on the “State of the Black community in COVID.” Read on.
Celebrate A Few Black Finance Wins As We Approach Our 1-Year Anniversary
Just a few latest land wins:
- $150 million in increased community development for affordable housing from the Washington State Housing Finance Commission;
- $27 million for Africatown Plaza towards Black community-centered spaces and replicable, scalable models to halt the impacts of gentrification; and
- $4.5M for the Keiro project (plus halting a full block of predatory development in the heart of the Central District to create the opportunity for Black community equity in the first place).
Demand | $100M in City COVID Relief Funding to Black Community
COVID-19 has laid bare once again the glaring implications of hundreds of years of anti-Black racism. That a global pandemic would widely, disproportionately harm Black community is not surprising. Take action to ensure the Seattle City Council equitably distributes relief funding by committing at least $100M to Black communities directly.
Black Community Receives No Federal COVID-19 Aid
At the federal level, one of the largest and least-elevated stories is the immense, anti-Black wealth transfer of the federal COVID-19 relief programs. Specifically, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that awarded over $542 billion in aid to U.S. businesses and organizations. Less than two percent of that aid reached Black-owned entities!
WSHFC's Anti-Blackness | Updates
After Black communities and allies put immense pressure on the Washington State Housing Finance Commission (WSHFC) to reckon with its anti-Black policies and practices, WSHFC reversed its plans to exclude all Black projects from it’s 2021 funding allocation. Learn more.
The Washington State Housing Finance Commission reportedly planned NOT TO FUND any affordable housing projects within the City of Seattle in 2021 effectively excluding Black-led projects including Africatown Plaza, Elizabeth Thomas Homes and Ethiopian Village from accessing critical resources. KCEN and ACLT led an advocacy campaign to stop this.
Watch | State of Black Community in COVID-19
Black community leaders, members, business owners, and elected officials came together to address the State of Black Community in COVID-19, and present the collective demand to invest at least $300 million dollars from the recently awarded American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) funding directly into the local Black community.
Housing Finance Commission Bias Against Black-Led Groups
On the Washington State Housing Finance Commission's exclusion of Black-led projects and processes: "when we look at who is actually benefiting, who is generating wealth, who is getting the primary economic gain or the lion’s share of the economic gain related to these development projects, it’s very much not reflective of the community to be impacted." Read on.