There has always been some kind of disparity for Black women in this country. We recently saw the U.S. employment rate drop for all workers except Black women. It’s well documented that violence against Black women has been undercovered by mainstream media forever. So it’s no surprise that Black women face a wealth gap in cities across the country.
However, the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund will focus strictly on helping Black women rise. The fund will provide 650 Black women across Georgia payments of $850 per month, over the next two years, making it one of the biggest guaranteed income initiatives in the country. Some of the participants will receive payments monthly, while others will get a lump sum payment of, according to ABC News.
Along with this initiative, the city of Atlanta (or the “Real Wakanda”) will also run its basic income program that will help 300 residents who are in poverty. It will pay residents $500 for 12 months.
Black residents in Atlanta are four times as likely to be living under the federal poverty line than their white neighbors, with 46% of Black households earning below $25,000 a year, according to recent research by the Old Fourth Ward Economic Security Task Force.
Some 38% of Black women and 26% of Black men in the city are living in poverty, compared to 8% of white women and 5% of white men in the same city, the task force reports.
“We’re working, we’re tired, we’re stressed,” Lockhart said. “With an extra $850 a month, people will be able to enjoy the sunlight and will be able to spend more time with their babies.”
Hope Wollensack, the executive director of the Georgia Resilience & Opportunity Fund, said the program is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is needed to address inequality.
Michelle Lockhart is a community advocate and member of the Old Fourth Ward Economic Security Task Force.
The program is run by the Georgia Resilience and Opportunity Fund and is called “In Her Hands.” The initiative was initially brought to the forefront by the Atlanta City Council and GiveDirectly, a nonprofit cash assistance service. It was realized after discussions and surveys from people in Black communities took a look at the causes of wealth disparity in the city, according to ABC News.
Which is where it should always start. Too often programs that are meant to help the Black community are not brainstormed by people who are actually from the Black community.
The initiative will start with residents in the Old Fourth Ward, a neighborhood in East Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. was raised, according to ABC News.
But, one of the things that may be cause for concern is that the program will not offer financial literacy courses or advice on how residents should use the money.
More from ABC News:
Wollensack says that, in surveying and researching the community and its financial needs, people can be trusted to make the right choices using their resources, but don’t have a lot of resources to start with.
“It’s hard to budget from zero,” Wollensack said. “In fact, we’ve seen oftentimes community members with some of the fewest resources are the most resilient and resourceful.”
She added, “Instead of viewing communities that may have experienced cash shortfalls as a deficit, we actually know and believe that these communities were huge assets.”