On September 30th at 4:00pm The Gathering Awareness and Book Center is presenting Alabama Judge Jo Celeste Pettway, who will serve as the guest speaker on the subject of Black Buying Power having reached $1.2 Trillion and the need for a larger percentage of those dollars to return to the Black Community.
The event is being billed as an informational banquet to be held at the Englewood All In One Restaurant at 1100 West Scott Street with the theme of “Working Together for the Next Generation” with tickets for the event available for $25.
Pettway is described as the first woman of African-American descent appointed or elected to the Alabama State Bench and served the people of Alabama for 32 years.
The Gathering is continuing its role as a strategic advocate for informing the local Black Community on issues related to economic empowerment.
Georgia and Johnny Blackmon, the owners of the Gathering, continue to create ongoing attention to issues relative to improving the lives of African-Americans in Pensacola, Escambia County, and Northwest Florida.
In preparation for this article, the Gulf Coast Voice did some additional research on this issue and found that the median income for an African American household was $39,490 last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released recently. It was $41,363 in 2000. (Both figures are in 2016 dollars, so they have been adjusted for inflation).
Black Americans stand alone as the one racial group that the Census Bureau identifies that has been left behind as it documents household income. The other racial groups of White, Asian and Latino households experienced some small increases in their income since 2000. The increases in incomes for those Americans who did experience more, helped lift the overall median U.S. household income to $59,039 last year. This is the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau. (Median household income means half of U.S. households earn more and half earn less.)
Many scholars and economists attempt to explain the lower incomes being depicted by Black families. Williams Rodgers, a chief economist at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, is one of the researchers that co-wrote a report for the Economic Policy Institutes’s depiction of black-white wage gaps having increased to larger levels in 2017 than they were in 1979.
The study noted that even when African Americans attend college and actively work to expand their skills and networks, they still earn far less than whites with a similar educational background. In fact, the wage gap has expanded the most between college-educated blacks and whites. The conclusion by Rodgers is that wage gaps are growing primarily because of discrimination.
Georgia Blackmon in an interview with the Gulf Coast Voice stated, “One of the opportunities we have with $1.2 Trillion in African-American income is to spend more of that financial resource with our own business community. I have five grand-children and two great-grand children and I feel we have a responsibility to leave a legacy of spending more of our income with each other”.
Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Gathering Awareness and Book Center on North DeVilliers Street or Me & Moms on North 12th Avenue.
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