At the site of the Black Wall Street Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg announced the Greenwood Initiative: Economic Justice for Black America. Mid-January, Bloomberg addressed the biases stifling the Black community and countering the issues with future plans that will create generational wealth through ownership.
The former New York City mayor spoke out against an American history of race-based economic inequality from slavery to segregation to redlining, and outlined an proposal aimed at increasing the number of black-owned homes and businesses. The plan includes a $70 billion investment in the nation’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“For black Americans, there was nothing that white landowners, businesses, banks, and politicians might not take: Their wages and their homes, their businesses and their wealth, their votes and their power, and even their lives,” Bloomberg said during a speech to several hundred people at the Greenwood Cultural Center, which houses artifacts and other memorabilia from the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
Bloomberg described the initiative as a “plan for righting what I think are historic wrongs and creating opportunity and wealth in black communities.”
The plan offers incentives for investment in underserved communities, increases support for black-owned banks and ties federal housing money to progress in reducing segregation. It would require bias training for police, teachers and federal contractors, and address voter disenfranchisement practices such as ID requirements, poll purging and gerrymandering.
The Greenwood Initiative, broken into three parts intends to lay a path to create nearly one million Black homeowners and 100,000 Black business-owners over the next decade. The initiative also includes a $70 billion investment in the countries most disadvantaged communities nationally.
Bloomberg believes homeownership is the way to build generational wealth, through the Greenwood Initiative. He aims to provide down payment assistance, enforce fair lending laws, reduce foreclosures and evictions and increase the supply for affordable housing.
The second aspect, increasing the number of Black business-owners is set to be accomplished by setting up user-friendly one-stop shops for entrepreneurs, expanding the access to mentorships and incubators and Black-owned businesses, increase access to capital and by supporting Black-owned banks. The efforts will also give much focus to Black women as they are now the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs.
Lastly, Bloomberg’s plan to invest $70 billion into neighborhoods that need financial assistance includes, identifying 100 cities nationwide that the most disadvantaged. This plan also includes the creation of the Neighborhood Equity and Opportunity Office (NEOO) which will set the agenda, authorize spending and guide implementation and manage the evaluation of the effort.
The visit to Oklahoma, a Super Tuesday state, whose primary is March 3, keeps with Bloomberg’s strategy of skipping early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire and focusing on delegate-rich Texas, California and others.