Black Wealth 2020

New economic justice movement aims to ‘turbo charge’ black wealth in America.

Hazel Trice Edney, TriceEdneyWire | 7/27/2017, 1:47 p.m.
New economic justice movement aims to ‘turbo charge’ black wealth in America.

The ultimate goal is to “turbo charge” black wealth, Grant says.

While Black Wealth 2020 has a laser focus on economics, it aims to work alongside traditional civil rights organizations, including the National Urban League and the NAACP, Winston says.

“We have been concerned that for many years the black civil rights movement had been the only national voice of the African-American community. Those groups do a great job but there are business and economic battles that the black community has been fighting. And we don’t believe that the black community’s voice has been strong enough and effective enough in that regard,” says Winston.

Other leaders in Black Wealth 2020 are: HomeFree USA President Marcia Griffin; Zenviba Academy of Arts and Science President John Templeton; Collective Empowerment Group National President Dr. Jonathan Weaver; National Association of Real Estate Brokers President Ron Cooper; Enlightened: Beyond Expectations President Antwanye Ford; and Delta Sigma Theta President Dr. Paulette Walker.

Members of Black Wealth 2020 point to the historic roots of its economic goals, noting that before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968 he had launched the “Poor People’s Campaign,” an economic justice movement.

John Templeton, founder of the 14-year-old National Black Business Month (August), sees the work of Black Wealth 2020 as a continuum of Dr. King’s vision. He said the prophecy spoken by King the night before his death must still come to fruition.

“King said he wasn’t going to get to the promise land with us. But we as a people will get to the promise land. And people have forgotten that,” Templeton says.

Over the past 49 years since the assassination of Dr. King, other black economic strategies have popped up and fizzled out. Black Wealth 2020 members say the strategy for sustainability is built in, including the following elements:

Black America’s current state of affairs: “This current administration is going to force us to look internally because we don’t have any help coming from outside our community,” says USBC President Ron Busby. “It’s not about one organization or about one individual leading the conversation, but once the mission was set and the three goals were established we can now go back to our collective constituencies and say this is what’s important.”

Youth involvement: National Bankers President Grant says youth participation is key. Black Wealth 2020 has begun incorporating and mentoring youth economic leaders in their monthly meetings. “In my study of history, going back to ancient times, I can’t think of any major movement that was a societal changing movement that wasn’t driven by the energy of youth,” Grant says.

Shared Leadership: “In the past, movements have been tied to one individual. And as soon as there is some issue, and perhaps maybe death, often times what happens on the demise of that individual is the organization goes through a down spin and it in many instances ends up being discarded,” says Dr. Jonathan Weaver, Collective Empowerment Group and pastor, Greater Mount Nebo AME Church.