The Greenwood Initiative: Economic Justice for Black America?
Mike plans to help create generational wealth for Black Americans, drive economic empowerment and close the economic gap between white and Black Americans. He outlined his vision in a speech in Greenwood, a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma known for its role in the historical discrimination and destruction of Black wealth in America. Greenwood was home to Black Wall Street in the early 20th century, the most prominent district of Black-owned businesses in the United States. In 1921, the community was decimated in the Black Wall Street Massacre (in the early 20th century there were a number of race massacres throughout the United States which Mike referenced in his speech). Last year, Mike visited Tulsa for the launch of an art project that commemorates Black Wall Street.
Black Americans have been disproportionately incarcerated, politically disenfranchised and subject to systematic discrimination. The enduring legacy of discrimination is reflected in the fact that the typical Black family has one-tenth the wealth of the typical white family.
Mike’s Plan to Address Systematic Barriers to Upward Mobility
Mike’s plan, the Greenwood Initiative, lays out a path to the creation of 1 million new Black homeowners and 100,000 new Black-owned businesses in the next decade. His plan also includes a $70 billion investment in the country’s 100 most disadvantaged neighborhoods:
Mike’s plan will help Black Americans create generational wealth through homeownership.
Homeownership is traditionally a vital way to build generational wealth and community. It is a pillar of the American Dream for many. Mike’s plan aims to create one million new Black homeowners.To do this, Mike will close this gap by providing down-payment assistance, getting millions banked and recognized by credit scoring companies, enforcing fair lending laws, reducing foreclosures and evictions and increasing the supply of affordable housing.
Mike’s plan will spur the creation of 100,000 new Black-owned businesses, nearly doubling their number.
To boost Black-owned businesses, the plan will set up user-friendly one-stop shops for entrepreneurs across the country, expand mentorships and incubators, increase access to capital (both debt and equity), support Black-owned banks and expand procurement from Black-owned businesses.These efforts are aimed particularly at benefitting Black female entrepreneurs, the fastest growing group of new entrepreneurs.
Mike will commit $70 billion in neighborhoods that need it most.
Mike will commit $70 billion in funding and technical support towards a national initiative to turn around 100 of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, with a relentless focus on evaluation to expand programs that work.Mike’s national initiative will offer communities a menu of evidence-based programs in areas including health, education, infrastructure and justice.More broadly, his policies will expand access to opportunity across the country, by addressing disparities in early childhood, schools, higher education, skills and training, employment, health and environmental conditions.
Mike’s plan will address systematic discrimination.
Mike will defend the rights of protected groups by reinvigorating and reorienting the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Dept.He will also shed light on discriminatory practices by requiring companies to report on hiring, pay and procurement and collecting more complete lending data.Mike’s plan also ties federal housing funding to progress in reducing segregation, requires implicit bias training for police, teachers and federal contractors, and restores voting rights by addressing practices such as ID requirements, roll purging and gerrymandering.
Mike’s Record on Supporting Black Communities
As Mayor Mike Bloomberg took a number of actions to improve the lives of Black communities:
During Mike’s time in office, graduation rates for Black students reached record highs and the Black-white achievement gap shrank to a record low. Mike’s education reform efforts helped to turn around a broken school system. He more than doubled the education budget, raised standards and increased quality school options by closing failing schools which served mostly Black and Latino students.
Mike created and co-funded the nation’s biggest and most ambitious effort to support young men of color. The Young Men’s Initiative (YMI) was the first municipal plan to focus on the persistent disparities experienced by young men of color in education, employment, health, crime and more. This initiative inspired President Obama to launch My Brother’s Keeper, and similar plans in 250 cities across the country.
Mike led the nation’s most ambitious effort to reduce poverty. Under Mike, New York was the only one of the 20 largest U.S. cities in which the poverty rate remained flat. In the other 19 cities, poverty rose by an average of 36%.
Mike launched the nation’s most ambitious plan to expand affordable housing. The New Housing Marketplace Plan was the largest affordable housing program in the country, building or preserving 175,000 units. This plan led to a $23.6 billion investment in affordable housing across the city.
Mike reduced the number of Black New Yorkers behind bars by reforming policies that disproportionately impact young men of color. Under Mike, the city’s incarceration rate fell by 39 percent, while incarceration rates in the rest of the country rose. Mike also created alternatives to incarceration and restructured the juvenile justice system, including ending the practice of sending juvenile offenders to facilities upstate and allowing them to remain in the city in programs that stressed treatment and education over punishment. Juvenile detention fell by half, and recidivism fell by 23 percent.
Under Mike, NYC became the safest big city in the United States. The crime rate fell by a record 32%, far outpacing the nation.
As a philanthropist, Mike Bloomberg has given to Black causes and organizations led by Black Americans:
Mike has supported Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight because Mike believes the right to vote is the fundamental right that protects all of the others, but in states around the country, it is under attack. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ CollegePoint and American Talent Initiative programs are helping tens of thousands of low- to moderate-income students enroll and graduate from top colleges and universities.Bloomberg Philanthropies works with leaders across the country on implementing My Brother’s Keeper Initiatives, they provide technical assistance to over 2 dozen cities a year.