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The Costs of Racial Inequity

The Detroit region is one of the most innovative and diverse regions in the nation. Its 300,000 plus businesses employ 2.5 million people and drive a regional annual GDP of $279 billion, which is greater than 29 states.

Yet it has never reached its full potential and prosperity because of systemic inequities, government policies that provided opportunities to whites but not to Blacks and others, and attitudes that held Blacks as less than whites.  While slavery was America’s original sin, the system of government decisions, business bias, and overt and unconscious racist attitudes of individuals have prevented Blacks from the opportunity to accumulate wealth and live the full American experience.

The killing of George Floyd has rightly sparked multi-ethnic protests and provided a platform to reexamine the conditions so many of our Black neighbors still contend with. The numbers do not lie. There is a system in place that discriminatorily entrenches generational poverty and inequity into our society.

The same inequities hold back the entire country as it tries to reckon a 21st century identity with our 20th century prosperity. In the COVID-19 era, addressing racial justice and achieving economic equity is more than just a moral imperative. It offers a path to unrivaled innovation and significant economic benefits.