BLACK ENTERPRISE’s ‘Health Is Wealth’ Summit Brought Knowledge And Action To Atlanta

BLACK ENTERPRISE’s ‘Health Is Wealth’ Summit Brought Knowledge And Action To Atlanta

If Black people are not alive, they cannot reach their max potential.

BLACK ENTERPRISE’s “Health Is Wealth” Summit took place in Atlanta on Feb 23 and 24.

The summit’s goal was to bridge the financial, physical and mental health gap while fostering generational wealth. A study by JAMA Network, found that Black Americans have “more than 80 million excess years of life lost—compared to the White population over a recent 22-year period—from 1999 through 2020.” 

The statistics make clear a very simple truth: Black people are not living long enough to earn their maximum potential and create wealth for future generations. Conversely, if Black people live to become elders, poor health will drain any accumulated wealth. The “Health Is Wealth” Summit is BE’s attempt to lead our community into a healthier future. 

“You’re not serious about building wealth if you’re not talking about getting past 50 and being healthy,” said Alfred Edmond Jr., BE’s senior vice president and executive editor-at-large, about the importance of the event.

“We pay a high financial price as black people because, generally speaking, Black men die in 53 years, and Black women live. But we are so ill that you can’t really maximize what you do, and you gotta pay a lot of money to stay alive because of healthcare costs.”

(Image Credit: BE)

Edmond also spoke about the implications of health and finance on Black businesses, emphasizing how BE Founder Earl Graves Sr. made the connection nearly 40 years ago.

“Mr. Graves was, like, we’re a small company. We’re not going to get the [insurance] discounts that a major corporation with thousands of people are gonna get. So the healthier we can keep our employee base, the health insurance costs will less for them and for us.”

Edmond added, “Everybody wins if you’re healthier.”

The summit began with an early morning workout to show participants that fitness can be fun and adaptable for anyone at any skill level, followed by a food-prep demonstration by Keon Davis, owner of Smooth N Groove, who gave attendees a blueprint for nutrient-rich meals and proper nutrition.

Halani Lobdell, Co-Owner, The Loft
(Image Credit: BE | Halani Lobdell)
(Image Credit: BE | Keon Davis Smooth N Groove)

A series of discussions was held to activate a health and wealth mindset. Notable panels dived into “Health and Longevity as a Wealth-Building Strategy,” and “Recognizing and Addressing Social Determinants of Health,” which were moderated by Edmond and BE‘s director of digital content, Ida Harris, respectively.

Health is wealth panel
Delmonte Jefferson, Tashique Thomas

Edmond’s panel discussed the financial implications of poor health. In contrast, Harris addressed how people’s health is impacted by the social conditions that surround them, including the environment, work, healthcare, housing, access or a lack thereof. Panelist Tashique Thomas, Walmart’s senior director in this area, informed that the easiest way to gain access is to look for existing resources. 

Health is wealth panel
Ida Harris, BE director of digital content

Tonya Lewis-Lee spoke about her award-winning documentary, Aftershock, highlighting the maternal mortality crisis. Lewis-Lee spoke on motherhood and realizing that mental, physical, and spiritual health were keys to her progress.

“It was after my second child was born that I realized I needed to get my compass in order so that I can actually do the things I wanted to do.” Lewis-Lee told BE. “When my son was about 2-years-old, I kind of figured out that I had to pull it together from a mental, physica,l and spiritual space.”

The Health Is Wealth Summit took a comprehensive look into the Black community’s relationship with health and how wellness impacts our wealth. BE is dedicated to keeping the conversation alive. 

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