FRONTPAGE: JUNETEENTH ISSUE | 2022
The Juneteenth holiday is marked by the duality of processing trauma and celebrating progress. In its inception, this holiday allowed us the space to reflect on the emancipation of those that were enslaved. Yet today Black and brown Americans face many of the same obstacles and constraints. Throughout the nation, decades of structural bias that manifested in hiring discrimination, financial redlining, housing segregation, and over-policing have resulted in deeply inequitable outcomes for Black and brown Americans. Here in Philadelphia, as an Economy League report noted, Black and Latinx households reported median household incomes $12,215 and $13,270 less than the city’s 2020 median, respectively. Today it is clear to many that the disparities plaguing our country are systemic features, not bugs. Here at the Economy League, through the PAGE initiative, we are working to see that the celebration of Juneteenth is not in vain. We aim to ensure that the work so many are doing to address racial equity is tangible and impactful for all Philadelphians.
I have been a resident of Philadelphia for about 20 years now. During that time, I have seen the way institutional barriers disenfranchise people of color and how demoralizing it can feel not to have control over one’s fate. The banking system, the lifeblood of economic activity in the city, has a long history of denying minority communities access to credit and preventing them from growing wealth through the home and business ownership. The inequitable distribution of PPP loans during the pandemic, and the inability of Black entrepreneurs to access relief, is the latest manifestation of this problem. In this situation, I find myself at PAGE celebrating my first Juneteenth as a member of a community dedicated to reversing these trends. With our partners, we are finding opportunities for businesses of color to access capital, compete for contracts and grow with dignity.
“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we have the resources to get rid of it.”
Dr. King, Nobel Peace Prize address, 1964
As a way to reflect on this holiday, we invite you to review the following leading indicators from our fellow program, Policy Hub.
1. Introducing the Economy League’s Historic Neighborhood Data Tool: https://economyleague.org/providing-insight/leadingindicators/2022/03/09/phlneighborhoodtool
2. Income Inequality in Philadelphia – Differences by Race, Ethnicity, and Gender: https://economyleague.org/providing-insight/leadingindicators/2022/04/20/incomeinequality2020
3. Income Inequality in Philadelphia – The 2020 Gini Coefficient https://economyleague.org/providing-insight/leadingindicators/2022/04/05/gini2020
4. Evictions in Philadelphia: A Review of Eviction Lab’s Data https://economyleague.org/providing-insight/leadingindicators/2021/08/11/evictionlab2021