It was a star-studded event at Friendship Baptist Church in Harlem for Black History Month. Jana B. Woodhouse (Senior Accountant, Anaj Enterprises), Shawn D. Rochester (Author, “The Black Tax”) and Ralph W. Baker, Jr. (Author, “Shock Exchange”) spoke on everything from financial literacy, to the economy to how to empower the black community.

The event was part of the 4th Annual Black Historical Lecture Series hosted by The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge New York, Boyer Lodge No. 1. We spoke in front of a packed house and the energy was electric. The crowd was engaged and asked some very tough questions. I would like to make special shout out to Solomon Green (SG Technology Group) and Ricky Gordon for allowing me to participate and share my views on the economy and the importance of financial literacy.

‘Shock Exchange’ – Most influential book on economics since the Great Depression

Shawn Rochester kicked the event with a discussion of the financial costs of discrimination of black people past and present.

When people talk about discrimination we tend to speak about it from the immorality or the injustice associated with it. I wanted to look at it from the perspective of how much its cost. More importantly, what does research from the finest universities say that that cost is …

Today we are missing about 6 million jobs across the greater black community. We are also missing about 1.4 million businesses with employees or staff. You may be aware there are about 2.5 million black businesses. What many people don’t know is that only 4% of those businesses actually have any employees. It’s roughly 109 thousand companies. And that 4% generate about 70% of the revenues for black enterprise … almost $100 billion. It employs about a million people and we’re missing 1.4 million of those.

Rochester estimates African Americans are missing about $8 trillion from our collective balance sheets. This implies we all have our work cut out for us. It will only get more difficult as the country just entered another recession that could be worst than the Financial Crisis of 2008.

 

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