I’m one of those people who still holds a paper copy of the Indianapolis Star in my hands every morning at the breakfast table. An article I read on January 6, 2022 written by Brandon Drenon keeps resurfacing in my brain.
Here are some of the points the article made:
- In 2021, Indy Black Chamber of Commerce reported having a 33% increase in membership, adding 82 new small businesses to their organization last year.
- Marshawn Wolley, CEO of Black Onyx Management, said the greater unemployment experienced by Black Americans and a slow recovery of the job market put them in a more precarious position. “Out of necessity they have to become entrepreneurs,” Wolley said. “It’s part of the idea of creative destruction ... and necessity entrepreneurship.”
- For Black entrepreneurs, the number one obstacle is access to capital, experts said, predicated by a lack of generational wealth and knowledge influenced by historical racism and prejudice. A report by Brookings Institution found that only 1% of Black business owners could obtain loans their founding year, compared to 7% of white business owners.
- Additionally, Federal Reserve data revealed that Black business owners were denied bank loans at twice the rate of white business owners: 53.4% compared to 24.7%.
- Brookings Institute ranked Indiana 26th out of 40 states for minority business ownership, among states with racial-breakdown data available.15% of the Black population are business owners in the state, according to the report. At the city level, Indianapolis ranks 55th out of the 85 largest U.S. metro areas with relevant data available.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
In 2020 I heard about the Mount Zion Federal Credit Union and went to their offices and opened an account. This credit union was established in 1963 to give members of the Mount Zion Baptist Church a way to promote the financial well-being of their members. It is Black owned and operated. The Credit Union has extended membership to all those willing to join the Mount Zion Historical Society ($10). You must also make an initial deposit of $20 and pay fees of $25. Manager Denise McCauley will graciously help you get signed up (317-92-4010, firstname.lastname@example.org) and make your first deposit.
You can make a difference by opening an account and supporting those people in the Black community looking for an access to capital.
Mount Zion Federal Credit Union, 3549 Boulevard Pl, Indianapolis 46208, welcomes new members.
Betty Brandt is the Director of the Community for Contemplation and Justice at St. Luke’s UMC in Indianapolis. Committees under her umbrella include: Racial Justice, Social Action, Creation Care & Interfaith Relationships.