Decades of over-policing, mass incarceration and the inequitable wealth-stripping impacts of the criminal justice system have exacerbated wealth disparities for Black, Indigenous, and Latinx (BIL) communities. The wealth gap between white households and households of color continues to grow. 2018 data from the Oregon Employment Department showed that average wages for Black, American Indian, and Latinx workers ranged from $39,000 to $45,000 annually. By contrast the average white worker earned at least $10,000 more. To raise the future prospects for all Oregonians, we must create opportunities for all communities and families to thrive.
Why the Equity Investment Act Now?
The COVID-19 Pandemic is disproportionately impacting communities of color and other historically disadvantaged communities sending them further into the economic margins. The impacts of rising food prices, affordable housing shortages, and volatility for small businesses has pushed communities at the economic margins further into distress. The Equity Investment Fund’s investments into wealth-generating programs for economically disadvantaged communities is needed now.
“Black and Brown business owners have faced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 failures: from February to April of this year, there was a 41% decline in Black-owned businesses and a 32% drop in Latinx business owners. White entrepreneurs experienced only a 17% decline.”