June 21, 2021
We want to serve as a resource. To keep you abreast of critical issues dominating the national discourse—including diversity, equity and inclusion; the digital divide; STEAM education; entrepreneurship and small business—we’re compiling timely news and information in one place because the first step to fixing a problem is understanding it.
T.D. Jakes Foundation in Action
On Saturday we celebrated Juneteenth, honoring the end to slavery in the United States. Today in 2021 we still have not achieved equality. Large evidence of this can be seen with the persistent wealth gap: Right now the net wealth of a typical Black family in America is around one-tenth that of a white family. Last week, Hattie Hill, President & CEO of the T.D. Jakes Foundation, joined a panel hosted by Consciously Unbiased for a conversation about how to close the wealth gap for good. Watch the discussion here.
The T.D. Jakes Foundation is proud to be a part of The Dallas Regional Chamber’s (DRC) “Take Care of Business” multimedia vaccine public awareness campaign with a goal to increase the percentage of North Texans ages 16 and older receiving at least one vaccination shot from the current 60% to 70% this summer. As vaccine rates slowed in Texas and nationally, this campaign was launched to encourage more people to get vaccinated in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, and Denton Counties so local businesses can thrive again. Learn more about the Take Care of Business campaign.
Need additional resources around STEAM this summer? The T.D. Jakes Foundation has compiled a list of STEAM resources for the arts, coding, and engineering and even resources specifically for kids and teachers. Check out our STEAM resources here.
Congress voted last week in favor of making Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal holiday Wednesday, a holiday designated to celebrate the end of slavery. It will be the first new federal holiday introduced since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Read more about the origins of Juneteenth and what the new federal holiday means for workers.
Closing the Digital Divide
The Biden administration released a new mapping tool that gives a more accurate picture of who has broadband and who doesn’t. This new map could prove useful as President Joe Biden pushes his massive infrastructure spending agenda, which is expected to include funds to ensure every American has access to broadband. Check out the mapping tool here.
Three senators plan to introduced legislation last week that would spend $40 billion to make broadband Internet more affordable and accessible under one of the largest bipartisan proposals to address the digital divide. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Angus King (I-Maine), highlights the growing support in both political parties to boost federal funding to bring more Americans online. The senators say the closure of businesses and schools during the coronavirus pandemic made clear the need for expanded Internet access. Read more about their proposal here.
Racial Equity in America
The disparities on display during the COVID-19 pandemic were a jolt to America’s conscience. Job losses were greater for people of color, many of whom lacked savings to cushion the financial blow. The long-standing issues of underperforming public schools and gaps in digital infrastructure exacerbated learning losses among children of color. With Black workers concentrated in low-wage frontline jobs that could not be done remotely, exposure to the virus and inadequate access to healthcare cost lives, widening an already sharp racial gap in life expectancy. New research from McKinsey provides a fact base to document the racial gaps that exist in the US economy today and offer a vision of what could be gained if they were closed. Read the report here.
During a recent wide-ranging interview, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge was asked why Black homeownership rates have gone down, while rates for Asians and Hispanics have gone up. Her response was, “Part of our problem is that we have never totally enforced the Fair Housing Act.” Watch her full interview here.
Business ownership and corporate diversity initiatives are seen as paths toward closing the racial wealth gap. But for people of color, systemic barriers along both routes still hobble success. Axios explores this issue through their Hard Truths series in a piece called Race and Business Ownership and Leadership in America. Read more here.
For years, STEM programs have tried to attract Black grads and undergrads. There’s a new push to retain these students—and emulate a program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County that seems to have had the most success. Read more about these efforts here.
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