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ICYMI: The Legislative Journey of Black America

INSIGHTS

ICYMI: The Legislative Journey of Black America

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In honor of Black History Month, February’s DEI Leader Network live event asked Czarina Harris, Kevin Kimble, and Brad Anderson leading voices on the intersections of race, economics, and law — to reflect on the legislative journey of Black America and its present-day implications.  Their insights shed light on the historical significance and contemporary relevance of legal milestones for African Americans, particularly in housing, finance, and economic opportunities. 

Moderated by Diversity Works managing partner Denise Rosemond, the panelists collectively recognized the significant strides made during the Civil Rights Movement, with landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act transforming the landscape of American society. Yet, they also acknowledged that the journey is far from complete, as systemic racism is still present in various sectors of society. In case you missed it, you can watch the presentation here. 

Housing Disparities: A Legacy of Discrimination 

Czarina Harris shared a compelling examination of housing disparities, tracing the lineage of ownership challenges back to discriminatory practices such as redlining and racially restrictive covenants. Harris drew a critical distinction between the act of owning real estate and the more subtle, yet far more insidious, side of lending. Her expertise in real estate underscored a pattern of discriminatory lending that has historically barred African Americans from homeownership—a cornerstone of wealth accumulation. 

Financial Sector: The Persistent Gap 

Kevin Kimble delved into the inequities he’s seen in the financial sector. Access to credit and wealth accumulation remains tainted by the shadows of past discrimination. Kimble highlighted contemporary issues, like racial discrimination in lending by prominent financial institutions, and emphasized the necessity of understanding history to navigate and rectify these financial disparities. 

Economic Barriers: Leveling the Playing Field 

Brad Anderson addressed the economic structures and barriers impeding small and minority contractors from participating in large infrastructure projects. He introduced the Owner Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIP) as a revolutionary concept designed not only to level the playing field but also to save costs and enhance safety for contractors, particularly those from minority backgrounds. 

Actionable Insights: Strategies for Change 

Czarina Harris, Kevin Kimble, and Brad Anderson shared several actionable insights: 

  • Embrace Historical Knowledge to Drive Change
    Delve into the history of racial disparities in housing and lending practices to inform modern strategies and policy-making. 
  • Champion Legislative Reform for Equity
    Advocate for transformative laws and policies that confront and correct the historical and ongoing injustices faced by African American communities. 
  • Utilize Litigation to Uphold Justice
    Employ the legal system as a powerful mechanism to contest discrimination and enforce institutional accountability.  
  • Empower Economically Through Inclusive Financing
    Seek out and support financial alternatives and initiatives that bolster economic empowerment within African American communities. 

Diversity Works 

At Diversity Works, we’re dedicated to partnering with organizations to cultivate DEI+ strategies that drive growth, innovation, and positive change. Our experts bring decades of experience and knowledge to the table, ensuring that your DEI+ initiatives are effective and impactful. 

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