On October 11, 2022, the Urban League of Louisiana launched the SEE CHANGE Collective and accompanying action plan, a data-driven, community-oriented and outcomes-focused initiative committed to identifying policy and practice solutions to close the racial wealth gap for Blacks, Hispanics, and Latinos in Greater New Orleans through homeownership, business ownership and entrepreneurship, and income and wages. By 2050, the greater New Orleans region stands to realize a $43 billion gain in economic output by closing the racial wealth gap.
As part of the event, Congressman Troy Carter (LA-02) announced that he has authored a $1.2M request to fund apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships through the Urban League of Louisiana, which directly aligns with the incomes and wages lever in SEE CHANGE.
“Closing the racial wealth gap makes both economic and moral sense,” said Judy Reese Morse, President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “The SEE CHANGE action plan is a bold, ambitious strategy that, if embraced and implemented wholly, will begin to close the racial wealth gap in Greater New Orleans. This means billions of dollars in economic output and a stronger economy for all. I invite our elected, business, and community leaders to support the recommendations in the SEE CHANGE action plan, and to join our Collective as we continue this hard but meaningful work.”
“The wealth gap between Black and Hispanic Louisianians and our white neighbors is one of the biggest barriers we face to achieving a more just, healthy, and equitable society,” said Congressman Carter. “This racial wealth gap is both a social justice and an economic issue, and we must tackle it by leveling the playing field in homeownership, business opportunities, and with fair wages. I am proud to stand with the Urban League of Louisiana in these efforts, and am optimistic that my $1.2 million Community Funding Project request for ULLA’s Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship programming will be approved swiftly and start making a positive change for career seekers in Louisiana.
The SEE CHANGE Action Plan, among other items, calls for efforts to:
-Coalesce regional banks to add alternative credit data to their portfolio products to increase the number of mortgage-ready Black, Hispanic, and Latino aspiring homeowners;
-Create housing equity roadmaps in parishes where they don’t exist and to reform the appraisal certification system through removing or modifying the current apprenticeship requirement to increase the number of affordable homes available to purchase by Blacks, Hispanics and Latinos;
-Advocate for translations in app systems and websites for licensure and permit agencies to increase the profitability of Black, Hispanic and Latino-owned businesses in stable industries; and,
-Advocate for a ballot referendum to put a minimum wage vote to citizens as one way to help increase access to family sustaining wages for Black, Hispanic, and Latino people in the region.
The Urban League of Louisiana announced the SEE CHANGE initiative in early 2021 and for the last 18 months has served as the backbone organization for a collective that has included a Steering Committee, a National Advisory Committee, Homeownership, Business Ownership and Entrepreneurship and Income and Wages working groups, community engagement participants, early champions, and project management consultants who all worked to implement a collective impact model that is poised to enact the changes needed to close the racial wealth gap.
“We are happy to be a part of a collective that is committed to helping all businesses thrive in the greater New Orleans region,” said Anthea Smith, Marketing and Communications Strategist, JEDCO. “Business ownership is the most effective way to build wealth and the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission is committed to working with the SEE CHANGE Collective to promote the growth of small business revenue and employment growth for Black, Hispanic, and Latino-owned businesses.”
“By closing the racial gap, we give everyone an opportunity to thrive economically,” said Norman E. Barnum IV, President and CEO, New Orleans Business Alliance. “New Orleans Business Alliance is committed to closing the racial wealth gap with the Urban League of Louisiana and we hope fellow business leaders step up and take part in the SEE CHANGE Collective with us.”
“We are proud and thrilled to join with Urban League of Louisiana and partners to work towards erasing the systemic disparities that prevent Black and Hispanic communities from accessing opportunities and to erase the racial wealth gap that prevents generational wealth,” said Fred Johnson, CEO, Neighborhood Development Foundation. “The SEE CHANGE Collective will be a strong initiative in our focus of educating the community to invest in wealth building through homeownership.”
SEE CHANGE was generously funded through the support of the Chicago Community Trust, Greater New Orleans Foundation, PepsiCo Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
To learn more about SEE CHANGE and read the Action Plan, visit http://www.urbanleaguela.org/seechange