Strength In Numbers

To gain real economic and social power, you'll need to compete in a world that is drastically changing in size and diversity. here's how.

your ballots. Remember, you’re not just worth your salary and investment portfolio. You make up part of the population projected by economist Andrew Brimmer to earn $522.4 billion in total money income this year. Your spending power is a great deal more than that, and it should be leveraged in support of black businesses and other companies and institutions that provide jobs and services that strengthen and empower our communities.

Use the “browning” of America to your advantage. Form alliances with other minorities. “We need to push hard for programs that aren’t just for small businesses anymore,” says William Spriggs, director of research and public policy at the National Urban League, “and that won’t happen with blacks standing alone.”

BE Board of Economists member Marcus Alexis echoes this sentiment. “We would have a more effective, collaborative voice in lobbying to advance the cause of minorities if we formed alliances,” says Alexis, who is also a professor of economics and management at Northwestern University.

As a collective force, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other minorities will have more of an impact when voting for a Mayoral Candidate or demanding changes in government programs designed for their social and economic growth. The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) began building these relationships more than a decade ago by co-founding UNITY: Journalists of Color. Along with the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Asian American Journalists Association, NABJ saw a struggle that could be tackled collectively.

NABJ Executive Director Antoinette Samuel says, “Because [members of UNITY] have the same mission to increase journalists of color in the newsroom, our partners will support us in our personal cause.”

“We will have to share our status with more groups. However, with increased respect for cultural fluency and multiculturalism, it won’t weaken the African American’s position,” says Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard, research director of the Washington, D.C.-based Preamble Center, which is dedicated to educating the public about economic and social justice issues. “We should all gain more equality.”

Become globally aware. Although it may seem that the whole world will be in the U.S. in the next 30 years, it won’t be. The Internet has made it possible for companies to sell internationally, students to study abroad, and consumers to purchase overseas — all without leaving their homes.

As America becomes more multicultural, experts predict more global opportunities will become accessible. Ronald Walters, director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park, predicts that more African Americans will be employed in other countries in the years to come. “With developments like the China trade bill, I envision blacks working in China some day,” Walters says.

With President Clinton’s bill to grant permanent normal trade relations to China, the opportunities in China will be expanded. Because of similar legislation, such as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, passed into law as the Trade and Development Act of 2000, many businesses and employees are already taking advantage of global opportunities.

To ensure you respect the natural

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