From wealth to diversity, our editors offer an action plan

Black America needs fixing.

Chaplain Ken Parish is on a mission to build a support system for black youth. He is in constant pursuit of financial support for the Garden of Eden Senior Adult Day Care facility he started three years ago for formerly imprisoned black men and women struggling to transition from the penal system back into their communities.

In essence, not all black communities are deteriorating. Across the nation, there are vibrant and thriving majority-black areas dispelling the stereotype that African American neighborhoods are distressed and threatened. But for those communities that are on the cusp of revitalization, a strong black community and successful black-owned businesses will lay the groundwork. — James C. Johnson

OUR READERS RESPOND: What group is most responsible for building black communities?

  • Business: 18.8%
  • Churches: 23.1%
  • Government: 50.2%
  • Local Community: 7.8%

One test of a great nation is its ability to put systems in place that will help its people prosper for generations to come. If we consider the 36 million black Americans in the U.S. as a nation, how would we measure up against that test?

While we cannot enact sweeping legislation like Social Security or the G.I. Bill to act as a financial safety net for black people, we can take steps to create a de facto system of wealth transference that will ensure black people will prosper in the future. This has been our mission at BLACK ENTERPRISE for the past 35 years — building lasting, multigenerational wealth. In fact, when we introduced the Black Wealth Initiative in 2000, it was a call to arms to help you achieve economic parity by paying yourself first, making every dollar count, and developing a systematic program of investing that will secure your family for generations to come.

To achieve multigenerational wealth every black household must:

Practice saving and investing just as you would a religion. Investing requires study, commitment, and tithing, just like a religion. If you can understand the ancient language that the Bible is written in, you can understand the financial terms of the stock market. You just have to be committed to studying the language; you have to want to receive the knowledge that is being offered. Additionally, if you can tithe at your church, you can tithe to a savings and investment account for yourself. Just as tithing helps the church grow, saving and investing will help you and your family grow. Imagine every black family receiving a lesson on investing every week, just as they would receive a lesson on being a good humanitarian every Sunday in church. Such regular immersion in solid values eventually takes root and is passed on to your children.

Buy property. Black American families must work together to purchase homes. Whether it is an apartment or a house, it’s better to own the worst
house on the block than to rent the best house on the block. Purchasing a home provides an opportunity to invest in an appreciating asset, will help you to build equity in your home as you make mortgage payments, and offers tax breaks to help your

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