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A riot is the language of the unheard… but also the unbanked and unserved.
All of us at DCRAC are outraged at the murder of another Black person by police officers and the continued violent response by law enforcement against protestors. Protestors in need of legal consultation may call DCRAC Law at 302-690-5000. We stand firmly with the social justice activists.
When you work in the Corporate Capital of America, attempting to dismantle systemic racism—as it exists in housing, banking, economic policy and countless other arenas—you realize a few things. The system deliberately creates racial wealth disparity. When DCRAC was founded in 1987, a Black person was seven and half times more likely than a White person to be denied a mortgage. That has a ripple effect. In 2015, the median net worth of homeowners was 80 times larger than the median net worth of renters. Black Lives Matter, and fair housing and lending matters.
The good news? This system—in all of its power, strength and longevity—can be broken.
Immediately, in Delaware, we need a Billion Dollar Trust Fund to benefit low-income Black and Brown families. If this seems too high, remember that lenders made over $10 billion from the first round of PPP loans.
We must invest in the short- and long-term economic, physical, educational and emotional health—and wealth—of our neighbors and neighborhoods. We know what is broken and we must come together to fix it.
Second, an annual percentage rate (APR) above 36% MUST be abolished. It is a crime against the poor.
Third, we must require collecting ACCURATE data on race. When our Brown daughter gets a speeding ticket listing her race as White just to make the police department look good, we know we have a problem. There must be accountability and accuracy in our numbers.
For now, finally, Delaware MUST seat an Equity Commission tasked with review of policies, procedures, and practices that predominantly affect low-income, marginalized, Black and Brown communities. The majority on the commission—well compensated at $55,000/year—City of Philadelphia’s February 2020 announcement on hiring a Racial Equity Manager lists the salary range as $50,000 to $60,000—must be those low-income individuals directly impacted by the unjust system.
If the non-profit community can drive these ideas into existence with the help of the banking and credit industries, a legacy will ensue indelibly proclaiming that Black Lives Matter.
Black lives have always mattered to DCRAC. In 2011, while the nation was still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, we chartered Stepping Stones Community Federal Credit Union—a CDFI and certified minority owned and operated financial institution. It provides Wilmingtonians the service that the billion-dollar companies refuse. It recognizes geographic impediments, which is why we take our mobile bank to the communities.
Our mission begins by embracing our humanity and seeing people beyond the credit scores. We bank the unbanked. According to the 2016 Prosperity Now report, The Ever-Growing Gap, it will take 228 years for the average Black family to reach the level of wealth White families own today. That is as unconscionable as it is unacceptable.
And so we continue the fight for economic justice and march on ‘til victory is won.