Black Americans are still struggling financially after slavery ended. Many of them are not aware of the wealth disparities between themselves and whites. Financial literacy programs are trying to change that. These programs teach people about money management, budgeting and saving. Some of these programs also emphasize the importance of owning property and investing in yourself.
Social influencers focused on financial literacy for the Black community are stressing the need for financial freedom during Juneteenth, an annual holiday celebrating the end of slavery in America. “I definitely see the Juneteenth remembrance should focus on financial literacy because we haven’t really talked about money at all,” said Rashad Bilal, host of the Earn Your Leisureshow. “We’ve always had a lot of celebrations around black history, but not necessarily around financial literacy and wealth.”
Juneteenth is an American holiday celebrating the end of slavery in Texas on June 19th 1865. Although it is celebrated today, it wasn’t always celebrated. Before 1865, there were no official celebrations of emancipation. However, after the Civil War ended, many African Americans began to celebrate the day because it marked the end of slavery. Today, Juneteenth is recognized by the United States government as a national holiday.
“We need to talk about money every single day. We need to teach our children what money is, how to manage their finances, and why saving is important. If we don’t start teaching them at a young age, then they won’t understand when they get older. And I think that’s really sad because we’ve got a lot of kids out there who don’t even know what money is.” -Earn Your Leisure Founder and CEO Troy Millings
“There were people who literally died for money,” Bilal explained. “Slavery was a financial system that allowed people to own other people. So when you see your ancestors sacrificing their lives for money, it forces you to think about your finances. You don’t want your money to go to waste. You can actually use it to change the trajectory of the family.”
Black Americans were not given equal opportunities during slavery. Many slaves worked long hours for very low pay. Others were forced to work in dangerous conditions. Slaves had few rights and could be sold away from their family members. After slavery ended, many African American families were left destitute. Wealthy whites controlled most industries, leaving Blacks with few jobs and little money. This led to a cycle of poverty.
Dunlap believes that economic freedom is just as critical as social justice. He says that if you don’t have both, then you don’t really have justice. He also encourages black Americans to pay close attention to a recent report that predicts the median wealth of black families will drop to zero by 2053. He wants his people to seek out investment opportunities. “We need to get back to investing in ourselves,” he said, adding that he doesn’t want his children to grow up poor.
Williams is a former college student at Howard University, where she studied economics and political science. She also worked as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program. She started her first business when she was 17. She began working with other young entrepreneurs through the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), and later founded Black upStart. As a result of her work with YEC and NAWBO, Williams became interested in entrepreneurship and empowerment. She believes that entrepreneurship empowers women because it allows them to create jobs and opportunities for themselves and others. She wants to encourage young Black girls to become entrepreneurs.
“Invest in those Black Entrepreneurs who will use those dollars you spend with their business to give back to their Communities and create Products and Services that our Community Needs and also build Wealth for their Family that can yield generational Returns,” Williams said at the event. Michael, meanwhile, aims to help 100,000 Black people achieve financial independence by 2030 through real estate investing. He claims he started his first investment property at age 15 and built his current portfolio from $850,000.
Michael believes that blockchain technology will revolutionize the way we invest in real estate. He wants to create a platform that allows investors to easily trade assets like stocks, bonds, and real estate. He thinks that blockchain technology will allow him to connect investors with developers, brokers, and property owners, making investing easier than ever before.
The Earn your leisure podcast is a pioneer in the emerging market of financial influencers. It has scored many high profile people in the world of Business, Sports and Entertainment to discuss their financial plans and goals. Guests have included Mark Cuban, Shaquille O’Neal and Steve Harvey. Hosts Bilal and Millings also created the hashtag #assetsoverliabilities, which became the philosophy of their content. Their mission statement is to demystify Wall Street for the black community.
Millings grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. His father founded a company called Millings Inc., which he sold to General Electric in 1990. He also worked with his uncle, David Millings, who started a company called Millings Financial Services. After graduating college, Millings went to work for Goldman Sachs, where he became an analyst for the firm’s fixed income division. While there, he helped write a book called “Generational Wealth” that explores the differences between generations when it comes to money Earn.