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May 14 - May 27, 2015

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Making Your Family Wealthier

anne priceDebates on America’s growing income equality are fast becoming a very hot topic from presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio to the rioters in Baltimore.  However, will any one of them present the facts and embrace solutions similar to those presented at the recent Color of Wealth Summit?

At the 2015 Color of Wealth Summit on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, panels of experts revealed facts and stories related to the huge wealth gap between White and other Americans.  The Center for Global Policy Solutions held the day long discussion which also included presentations on solutions such as the expansion of programs that provide financial support accounts to Americans at birth.

Anne Price (pictured left), Managing Director of the Oakland based Insight:  Center for Community Economic Development, provided one of the most profound presentations that clarified how economically disadvantaged Black America is when compared to White America.  Price and Trina Spanks, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Michigan, who presented at the 2011 Summit, agreed that programs that provide capital for young adults independent of their families’ economic condition and decisions will help close the wealth gap and provide a more level playing field for all American children.

During her presentation, Price provided the following startling data from Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn’t Enough for Black Americans:

Education is not the Great Equalizer

  • A Black with a COLLEGE DEGREE has about $23,400 in wealth
  • A White with LESS than a HIGH SCHOOL diploma has about $34,700 in wealth
(Wealth is not income. Wealth is the amount of money a person or household has AFTER they pay all their bills.) 

Family Income in not the GREAT EQUALZER

  • A Black family earning more than $93,000 per year, has about $138,000 in wealth
  • A White family earning between $57,109 - $93,000 per year, has about $146,000 in wealth
Employment is not a Great Equalizer

  • A Black working FULL TIME has about $11,649 in wealth
  • An UMEMPLOYED White has about $21,892 in wealth
Racial wealth differences cannot be explained by education, family income, or employment says Price. Economists estimate that, by far, the largest factors explaining these differences are gifts and inheritances from older generations including:

  • a down payment on a first home
  • a debt-free college education
  • a bequest from a parent
“Given the roles of intergenerational wealth transfer and past and present barriers that have kept Black families from building wealth, private action and market forces alone cannot be expected to address wide-scale racial wealth inequality. Public sector intervention is needed,” added Price.

Public Sector Intervention - 529 Plans

trina shanksShanks (pictured left), who is a social worker by training, is one the nation's foremost experts on how wealth shapes child outcomes and supports the development wealth building programs for children. She says, “Children growing up in higher-wealth households experience better outcomes, particularly in areas such as math scores, high school graduation, college enrollment, and college graduation.” (See her full report in The Promise of Child Development Accounts: Current Evidence and Future Directions.)

Current state-based 529 plans are tax deferred investment accounts that help families save for their children's college education and provide some relief.  They do not address intergenerational disadvantages and Shanks provided data on how infrequent parents use the voluntary savings plans that are supported with public funds. “Only three percent of all U.S. households participate in college savings plans now offered in every state and only 6 percent of U.S. households with children under 25 participate in such 529 plans,” she says.

Programs in Canada and Maine Encourage the Poor to Participate

For America’s northern neighbors, Canadians faced low take-up rates to its Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), which are similar to U.S. 529 college savings plans, but households there were offered a universal 20 percent match on contributions made to a RESP for a child under 17. Participation rates have increased steadily since the start of this program in 1998, but low-income families remained persistently unlikely to start an account.

As a response, in 2004, the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) began to offer an initial $500 deposit, a higher match rate, and subsequent $100 annual deposits for children of low-income families to further incentivize these families’ participation.

A program in Maine also found similar participation differences between advantaged and disadvantaged households. From 2008 to 2013, the Harold Alfond Challenge promised $500 to every newborn in the state of Maine as long as parents signed up for a Maine 529 college savings account before the child’s first birthday. But many lower-income parents did not “opt in.” Challenge recently announced that it would shift to an opt-out policy, meaning the program will include all children unless their parents take action to “opt-out.”

Other jurisdictions have similar programs, which often use 529 Plans as their base, including Oklahoma and Nevada, the city of San Francisco, and Cuyahoga County, OH.

However, Price concluded that to address intergenerational disadvantages, Americans would need to embrace strategies such as The Baby Bond program developed by economist Darrick Hamilton and Sandy Darity and discussed in Bold Policies for Economic Justice. “The program is analogous to a social security plan that would provide capital finance that Americans can draw on as young adults and is started at birth,” she says.

Further Reading

This story was based on the following two concise report:

Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn’t Enough for Black Americans from Insight:  Center for Community Economic Development

The Promise of Child Development Accounts: Current Evidence and Future Directions by Trina Shanks

when affirmative action was WhiteRecommended by Julianne Malveaux, who hosted a panel
When Affirmative Action Was White

The 535 Report: A Pathway to Fundamental Tax Reform
By Dorothy A. Brown

H.R. 40, Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act

From Our Archives

America’s Chief Moral Dilemma

Whatever Happened to the Revolution? - The Americas: Looking Back With Richard Hatcher

Expanding Age Gap Between Whites and Minorities May Increase U.S. Racial Divide

black memorabilia show

Gambian Education Partnership - Podcast

 kylie barker

Kylie Barker of Edge Institute interviewed Yankuba Senghore of the Gambia’s Side by Side Organization and Wayne Young of the Port of Harlem Gambian Education Partnership (POHGEP) about their projects in The  Gambia and the needs and opportunities that exist in that country.

Hear the Interview

Spring Cleaning Clothing Drive

POHGEP has nearly filled one of two barrels with clothes to send to two programs in The Gambia.  The Baobab Youth Development Association (BYDA) and Secca Memorial School will use the second hand clothes to raise money for their programs including youth scholarships. To make a donation, call or text Wayne Young at 202-378-8905 or click his name and send Young an e-mail.

Obama More Popular Than Republican Candidates

 obama 44
In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, pollsters asked whether people felt positively or negatively toward President Obama and six candidates or potential candidates to replace him: Republicans Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker, plus Democrat Hillary Clinton. While 47 percent of adults said they viewed Obama positively compared with 40 percent who view him negatively, none of the 2016 candidates scored better than even.

Currently, 48 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while 47 percent disapprove. In April 2007, just 35 percent approved of Bush's job performance, compared with 60 percent who disapproved.  Obama’s numbers will more likely help the eventual Democratic nominee.

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Peace Corps and HBCUs

peace corps and  hbcu 
Peace Corps’ 2015 top volunteer-producing Historically Black Colleges and Universities are:

1. Howard University (13 currently serving volunteers)
2. Spelman College (8 currently serving volunteers)
3. Morehouse College (4 currently serving volunteers)
3. Norfolk State University (4 currently serving volunteers) 

Black-owned Breweries
in Harlem and Gary

sugar hill brewIn Harlem, Celeste Beatty, is recognized as the first Black woman owner of a nationally recognized, award-winning brewing company – Harlem Brewing Co.   The flagship beer is called Sugar Hill Golden Ale

In Gary, Drew Fox, is doubling the production capacity at 18th Street Brewery in Gary’s lakefront community, Miller.

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Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.

Why Nursing Homes Need to Have Sex Policies

 older black couple

Today’s aging Americans also grew up with fewer sexual limits than earlier generations and may be unwilling to live in nursing homes that don’t accommodate their sex lives, experts say. “Let’s be real. Baby boomers brought the sexual revolution to America in the ’60s—what are they going to bring to nursing homes?” Roberta Flowers, co-director of the elder law center at Stetson University College of Law, told TIME.

But elder advocates, physicians, and nursing home experts say that there is no national standard of best practices for how nursing homes should accommodate residents who are sexually active. The policies that do exist are archaic, regressive, and even ageist, and do not acknowledge that nursing home residents could happily have consensual sex with each other.

Read More

Related Story from TIME:  Why Millennials Might Be Having Less Sex Than Their Parents

Black Union Soldiers March

 black union soildiers

On May 17, Black and White Union soldiers will march down Pennsylvania Avenue in America’s capital city.  The parade of reenactors will create an inclusive cover for the original 1865 ceremony organized by officials that banned African-American soldiers. The reenactment will also include an exact replica of the original Presidential Reviewing Stand.

Including Blacks in the 2015 march, says Frank Smith of the African American Civil War Museum, is important. “This historic event will correct a great wrong in history,” he explained.  Smith estimates that the Stand will cost about $65,000.

The parade will be part of a weekend of events. Additional information, including a donation portal and registration for descendants of African-American Union soldiers is at Grand Reviewing Stand.

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 murder ballad

Murder Ballad has been extended

Washington, DC
Murder Ballad
Studio Theater
1501 14th Street, NW
Through Sun, May 31, $45-$80

Breastfeeding and Pumping Basics
Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital
921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Sat, May 16, 2p-4p, $60 single, $70 couple

Nigeria 2015: Beyond The Ballot
Nigerian-American Leadership Council
Rayburn House Office Building
45 Independence Ave SW
Mon, May 18, 5:30p-7:30p, free

Black Genealogy 101
CR Gibbs
Greenbelt Library
Tue, May 19, 7p, free

Our Auntie Rosa: The Family of Rosa Parks Remembers Her Life and Lessons
Sheila McCauley Keys and Eddie B. Allen Jr.
Library of Congress
Thomas Jefferson Building, rm 119
Wed, May 20, at noon, free

Duke Ellington School of the Arts 8th annual
Performance Series of Legends benefit concert
Warner Theatre
Wed, May 20, 7:30p, $50-$250

African Liberation Day 2015
733 Euclid Street, NW
Wed, May 20, 6:30p, free

William Julius Wilson
Effects of race and class in determining life outcomes
Library of Congress
Thomas Jefferson Bldg, rm 119
10 First St., S.E.
Thu, May 21, 4p, free

Annual Us Helping Us
Picnic at the Park
Fort Dupont Park
3600 Minnesota Ave, SE
Mon, May 25, noon–6p, free

Dance Place
3225 8th St, NE,
Tue, May 26–Sun, May 31, $

New York
Contemporary African Art Fair
Pioneer Works, Center for Art and Innovation
159 Pioneer Street
Brooklyn, NY
Fri, May 15, 12p-8p
Sat, May 16, 12p-8p
Sun, May 17, 12p-6p, $5-$20

HueMan Presents: After the Dance:
My Life with Marvin Gaye
(a book signing with Jan Gaye)
Arts Horizons
2485 Frederick Douglass Blvd
May 20, 7p, free

Dance Africa
Howard Gilman Opera House
Peter Jay Sharp Building
Fri, May 22–Mon, May 25, $20

my brother's keeper 
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