An important month for our country is coming February, which is the national Black History Month. It is so encouraging seeing all the pride shown during this month to respect and learn more about the history of Black people. Interwoven into the fabric of history is the knowledge, advancements, pain, struggle, and excitement of Black people.
Too often is the history of slavery depicted as where Black History started; too often is the poverty that has plagued Black people for centuries in America and Africa depicted; and too often is the violence perpetrated in Black neighborhoods highlighted as the everyday reality of most Black people.
We as a country, and even within the Black community, sometimes forget to celebrate all the great achievements that have been accomplished by Black people. The Black culture is multifaceted and often duplicated. The financial power of the Black community is evident by the buying power of $1.4 trillion, which – if that dollar amount was the gross domestic product of a country – would equate for the 14th-largest GDP in the world.
Yes, there is systemic racism written into laws, company policies, and business practices. But Black people have endured discrimination, hate, violence, and undereducation in certain communities to rise to the topic of many conversations in America. The focus of Black improvement in this country is long overdue. There have been achievements in the area of race relations in America, but the advancement of Black people and other minorities must never be shelved. As Americans fight for a more equitable country, the equality of all people is necessary, and Black people only ask for equality. You do not see a national movement to place Black people over other races. We just want to have an equal chance to succeed in this country.
Our ancestors wanted to see a better life and, although our lives are better, the journey is not complete. Other races that have been able to strive in this world have refused to be complacent, and Black people must subscribe to that notion, as well. For the advancement of Black people, we must continue to focus on obtaining higher quality education, improve our own communities, be present in the lives of loved ones, think big and go after our dreams, create sustainable business and services, and to engage with other races and religions to ensure a better and more respectful country.
American business and institutions can assist the advancement of one of its most loyal races by diversifying its policies; searching out qualified candidates to fill leadership roles and board seats; increasing funding for Black-owned businesses and organizations; sponsoring educational institutions that educate predominately Black students; partner with Black-owned businesses and organizations to share resources and knowledge of best practices; and take a stand against actions that negatively affect Black and minorities communities.
The U.S. government can do their part by making targets funding and resources available to Black communities to improve the educational institutions in those communities; provide funding for health care initiative, such as funding medical clinics and case managers to improve the health and well-being of these communities; provide targeted funding for small businesses along with mentoring and partnership to grow businesses beyond one or two people businesses; actively engage the Black communities across the country on their views of an equal criminal justice system; and create a national jobs and training program focused on soft skills, technology, medical, and teaching.
These are not handouts, but a show of a hand out from our allies to assist in the advancement of another race of people. Black people have blended with all people and want the advancement of all people including our own Black people.
Corey Carolina is an NSU graduate, North Tulsa entrepreneur and activist, and owner of Carolina Food Co. He is also an author, his first book being "The Absent Father."