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A while back, I was on a podcast with fellow best-selling author Patrice Washington. During our conversation, she gave me this fill-in-the-blank prompt:
“My name is ______ and the truth about wealth is ______.”
And you know what I said?
“My name is Rachel Rodgers, and the truth about wealth is that it needs to be Blacker.”
Because despite this country’s economic progress over the past decades, Black Americans experience far worse economic conditions than white people and the US population as a whole.
The hard truths about Black wealth are measurable:
In the US, the net worth of the average white household ($171,000) is literally 10x more than the net worth of the average Black household ($17,000).
The unemployment rate for Black US citizens is approximately twice the rate for white US citizens.
Less than half (42%) of Black families own their homes, compared to almost three-quarters (73%) of white families.
Black Americans are over twice as likely to live in poverty as white Americans.
And for Black women and Black mothers in particular, the statistics are bleak:
Black women make 62 cents on a white man’s dollar (compared to white women’s 79 cents).
Over the course of the average Black woman’s career, that pay gap adds up to almost a million dollars in lost income compared to white men.
Black working moms are over-represented in service industry jobs, which often do not provide paid sick leave, paid family leave, or childcare for employees.
Black women ask for promotions and raises at the same rates as their white colleagues — yet for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 58 Black women are promoted.
These statistics are enraging, heartbreaking, and unacceptable.
These statistics must change.
This is why I continue to build wealth and help other marginalized people build their own — so together we can create the change we want to see in the world.
Towards the end of my conversation with Patrice, she asked me to “define success.”
I had one word for her: “Freedom.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily… We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
We’ve been demanding our freedom. We’ve been fighting for it. We’ve been claiming it.
But these demands, this fight, and this claiming — it all requires capital.
It takes money to lobby Congress. It takes money to support protestors who march in the streets. It takes money to bail out activists and fund research that provides evidence of the need for change.
It takes money to start a foundation for a cause you believe in. It takes money to give ourselves and our children options. It takes money to build the beautiful lives we deserve in a country whose wealth was built on our backs.
So it’s time for us, as Black people, to turn toward our money.
To focus on our earning potential and our ability to generate wealth. Then ultimately, if we choose to, we can use that wealth to demand not only our own freedom, but also the freedom of our communities.
One way I’m using my wealth to create freedom in my community is through my latest social justice initiative — The Hello Seven Foundation — a non-profit organization that will provide funding for doulas, night nurses, and childcare to Black mothers in need.
The Foundation will give Black mothers and non-binary parents the economic support and freedom they need to have a healthy delivery and recover from childbirth. These funds will also help provide reliable childcare that helps moms get adequate sleep, and gives them time to focus on their financial and personal growth — all of which will ultimately support their efforts to make a good living.
My company, Hello Seven, has made an initial contribution of $50,000 to the Foundation. I’ve been reaching out to my audience for support, and I invite you to donate whatever you can.
Studies show that women are more likely to support charitable causes aimed at helping fellow women and girls.
I believe the same applies to all marginalized groups — we are the ones who are willing and motivated to lift one another up with our words, our actions, and our dollars.
That means it is up to us.
Keep gettin’ that coin. Then go make a difference with it.