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Charlene Crowell: Nation’s Racial Wealth Divide Worsens with Federal Tax Cut

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charlene crowell - 2019 Institute for Policy Studies Graphic Racial Wealth Divide Has Grown Over Three Decades (002)

*If you’re like me, every time you hear a news reporter or anchor talk about how great the nation’s economy is, you wonder what world they are living in.

Certainly these journalists are not referring to the ongoing struggle to make ends meet that so much of Black America faces.

For every daily report of Wall Street trading, or rising corporate profits, you’re reminded that somebody else is doing just fine financially.

To put it another way, ‘Will I ever get past my payday being an exchange day…when I can finally have the chance to keep a portion of what I earn in my own name and see how much it can grow?’

When new research speaks to those who are forgotten on most nightly news shows, I feel obliged to share that news – especially when conclusions find systemic faults suppress our collective ability to strengthen assets enough to make that key transition from paying bills to building wealth.

Ten Solutions to Close the Racial Wealth Divide is jointly authored by the Institute for Policy Studies, Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. This insightful and scholarly work opens with updates on the nation’s nagging and widening racial wealth divide. It then characterizes solutions offered as one of three approaches: programs, power, and process.

According to the authors, programs refer to new government programs that could have a major impact on improving the financial prospects of low-wealth families. Power refers to changes to the federal tax code that could bring a much-needed balance to the tax burden now borne by   middle and low-income workers. Process refers to changes to the government operates in regard to race and wealth.

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“For far too long we have tolerated the injustice of a violent, extractive and racially exploitive history that generated a wealth divide where the typical black family has only a dime for every dollar held by a typical white family,” said Darrick Hamilton, report co-author and executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University.

From 1983-2016, the median Black family saw their wealth drop by more than half after adjusting for inflation, compared to a 33 percent increase for the median White households. Keep in mind that these years include the Great Recession that stole nearly $1 trillion of wealth from Black and Latinx families, largely via unnecessary foreclosures and lost property values for those who managed to hold on to their homes.

Fast forward to 2018, and the report shares the fact that the median white family had 41 times more wealth than the median Black family, and 22 times more wealth than the median Latinx family. Instead of the $147,000 that median white families owned last year, Black households had $3,600.

When Congress passed tax cut legislation in December 2017, an already skewed racial wealth profile became worse.

“White households in the top one percent of earners received $143 a day from the tax cuts while middle-class households (earning between $40,000 and $110,000) received just $2.75 a day,” states the report. “While the media coverage of the tax package and the public statements of the bill’s backers did not explicitly state that it would directly contribute to increasing the racial wealth divide, this was the impact, intended or otherwise.”

With the majority of today’s Black households renting instead of owning their homes, escalating rental prices diminish if not remove the ability for many consumers of color to save for a home down payment.  As reported by CBS News, earlier this year, the national average monthly cost of fair market rent in 2018 was $1,405. Recent research by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition on housing affordability found that more than 8 million Americans spend half or more of their incomes on housing, including over 30 percent of Blacks, and 28 percent of Hispanics

Homeownership, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, remains a solid building block to gain family wealth. But with an increasing number of households paying more than a third of their income for rent, the ability to save for a home down payment is seriously weakened. CRL’s proposed remedy in March 27 testimony to the Senate Banking Committee is to strengthen affordable housing in both homeownership and rentals. To increase greater access to mortgages, CRL further advocates low-down payment loans.

“The nation’s housing finance system must ensure access to safe and affordable mortgage loans for all creditworthy borrowers, including low-to-moderate income families and communities of color,” noted Nikitra Bailey, a CRL EVP.  “The lower down payment programs available through FHA and VA, provide an entry into homeownership and wealth-building for many average Americans.”

“Government-backed loans cannot be the only sources of credit for low-wealth families; they deserve access to cheaper conventional mortgages,” added Bailey. “Year after year, the annual Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data reveals how consumers of color, including upper-income Black and Latinx households are disproportionately dependent on mortgages that come with higher costs.  Our nation’s fair lending and housing finance laws require that the private mortgage market provide access for low-wealth families.  We need additional resources for rental housing to address the affordability crisis that many working families face.”

There’s really no point in continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result. When the status quo just isn’t working, change must be given a chance.

charlene crowell1

Charlene Crowell

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending’s deputy director of communications. She can be reached at [email protected].

 

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Nona Hendryx to Host Global Virtual Event with Special Guest Appearance by Angela Davis

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Nona Hendryx

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*Singer, songwriter, and activist Nona Hendryx in conjunction with Nubian Q.U.E.E.N.X., have partnered with the international feminist group JASS (Just Associates) to present a “Musical Meditation and Celebration of Radical Healing” on Friday, August 14, 2020. This global, multi-artist virtual online event is designed to share and affirm our connections and power in a time of uprising and crisis through music, dance, poetry, and guided meditations. Featuring female performing entities from around the world, including noted activist, academic, and author Angela Davis, this one-of-a-kind event will be live-streamed on the StreamYard platform beginning at 4:00 p.m. EST/1:00 p.m. PST/2:00 MT/7:00 p.m. UCT.

JASS was founded in 2003 by activists, organizers, popular educators, and scholars from five continents, including Lisa VeneKlasen, who recently stepped down as Executive Director, and Shereen Essof, the current Executive Director, who are connected by their commitment to grassroots feminist organizing and justice through shared political struggles from Central America to Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the Philippines.

Hendryx – a former member of Grammy Hall of Fame trio LaBelle – and VeneKlasen have long wanted to collaborate politically on an event spotlighting women’s often invisible role in the ongoing fight to address unfinished struggles of our liberation – violence, inequality, racism, discrimination, stigma, and more. Initially planning to partner to celebrate Women’s History Month in March, then Black Music Month in June, they postponed plans when the country was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as by the global outcry for racial and social justice. With numerous artists and organizations taking to online platforms for performances and fundraisers, Hendryx and VeneKlasen decided that August was a stronger opportunity for the two women-focused entities to address both the hopeful possibilities and trauma and pain of these times.

“By radical healing, we’re acknowledging the power of music to lift our spirits and connect us across all our differences,” says Hendryx. “We recognize that we can’t build and sustain strong movements for the long haul with broken people who bear the brunt of crises and violence. We need moments of shared joy and connections as much as information and strategy.” Adding that women’s role at the forefront of numerous movements has been powerful and consistent, she also notes, “some of the most amazing music ever created has been birthed from struggle.”

Shereen Essof, JASS Executive Director, adds, “In the face of crises and violence, feminist organizers believe that our collective healing is vital to building strong, agile movements for the future. Songs, music, dancing, and poetry are part of a long tradition of activism and communities organizing for justice globally. We are incredibly excited to co-create this moment of radical healing with these extraordinary artists.”

Hendryx will perform with New York-based collective Nubian Q.U.E.E.N.X. (Quantum, Unique, Evolving, Essence of Nubian Sistas), a musical meditation on the affirmation of healing traumas of the past and present while answering questions and exploring ways to move forward. First presented at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., in September 2019 with special guests Divinity Roxx, Be Steadwell, Liza Jessie Peterson, the group will be joined by Sophia Ramos for the August 14th performance.  Q.U.E.E.N.X. is a multi-generational, multi-disciplinary blending of music, spoken word, hip-hop, funk, rock, and avant-garde. The group has been hailed for its unique performances that embrace a broad range of audiences, particularly the African American, Latinx, Indigenous Natives, and LGBTQI communities.

Also joining Nubian Q.U.E.E.N.X. for this special presentation in radical healing will be noted women artists from around the globe, including South African actress and poet Lebo Mashile; indigenous Guatemalan singer Sara Carruchich; Zimbabwean singer and Mbira player, Hope Masike; and Filipina theater actress and singer Monique Wilson.

For more information and reservations for this event, please go to https://nona-hendryx.squarespace.com/nubianqueenx and https://www.justassociates.org/

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Evelyn Lozada Gets Emotional Recalling Ochocinco Abuse [VIDEO]

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EVELYN LOZADA, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson

*Evelyn Lozada has responded to the recent comments her ex-husband, former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, made about his 2012 domestic violence case.

“I lost my temper for once in life for 3 seconds & it cost me a lifetimes worth of work,” he tweeted without mentioning the incident. “I got it all back plus some after getting a 2nd chance & NOTHING will ever get me out of that happy space again.”

As reported by thejasminebrand.com, Johnson was arrested and charged with domestic battery in 2012 following an altercation with Lozada. She filed for divorce days after.

He pleaded no contest and struck a plea deal and served a year-long probation sentence.

Johnson was also dropped by the Miami Dolphins after his arrest. He and Evelyn also filmed a VH1 realty show that never aired. 

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The “Basketball Wives” star released a tearful video Thursday in response to Johnson’s tweet.

She captioned the 5 minute clip: “I’m sorry to my kids, my family & friends, my fellow cast-members, their kids & family, the viewers & anyone else I hurt or affected with my actions. I hope & pray my message is received and that this video makes sense. I’m sorry for being so upset but this is HEAVY on my heart. #ILoveAllOfYou”.

In the video Lozada makes clear that Ochocinco was abusive on more than one occasion.

Hear/watch her tell it via the YouTube clip above. 

Evelyn Lozada Cries While Alleging Ochocinco Was Abusive More Than Once [VIDEO]

Johnson’s spoke about his troubled past after social media users asked his advice on how to stay positive.

“What’s the secret? How do you stay so positive? Was it therapy? Not being funny…really asking for myself,” wrote one fan.

Evelyn and Chad were married for only 41 days before she filed for divorce after they had a violent brawl.

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Stephen A. Smith Says NBA Players Will ‘Struggle’ with Sexual Frustration in Orlando / WATCH

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Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith

*As the NBA prepares for the conclusion of the season in Orlando, Florida, Stephen A. Smith thinks the biggest challenge players will face in the city is the lack of sex due to the COVID-19 lockdown. 

“Do we really think that the ‘recreational activities’ that these guys are accustomed to are going to be compromised for three months?” said Smith on Tuesday’s edition of First Take, per 97 The Game.

The NBA recently shared a photo of courts for the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic being set up inside the bubble at Disney World, offering a first look at team practice rooms being set up in hotels. 

As noted by CBS News, ” as teams start traveling to Orlando next week, we should start getting more information about how everything in the bubble is going to look,” the outlet writes. Adding, “Teams will practice at staggered times in order to promote social distancing and keep everyone healthy. “

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Smith added, “Forget three months. They’re gonna’ struggle with three weeks. Why you think they wanted Vegas?” asked Smith.

Hear him tell it via the Twitter video above.

Meanwhile, Jesse Pantuosco of 97 The Game writes, “the NBA has made its Orlando accommodations as player-friendly as possible with table tennis, on-site barbers, movie-viewing areas and other entertainment options. But even with all those amenities at their disposal, Smith predicts players will leave the premises to fulfill their sexual appetites.”

“They’re gonna’ violate the bubble. That’s what I’m telling you,” Smith insisted. “Somebody’s gotta’ say it.”

Meanwhile, when asked what he would like to see when the league restarts in Florida, Lakers player representative Danny Green told ESPN.  “We got to continue to speak up, continue to figure out ways to affect change as a group,” said Green. “We’ll be competing against each other and focusing on winning, but we still need to focus on what’s the bigger picture.”

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