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Economic Development Features News

It’s time to find examples of ‘purposeful bias’ and eliminate them

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By Logan Herring

To intentionally determine the viability of a business or block and deny access to opportunities and resources to build and sustain business is a travesty. The long-term impact of operating through a lens of purposeful inequity towards minority owned business can no longer be the “norm.” 

As we all know, thanks to COVID-19, very little will remain the “norm.” Among the many goals we have, REACH Riverside Development Corporation prides itself on being purposeful in our intent to support economic development and workforce development opportunities for the Riverside/Northeast Wilmington community.

The impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and the need to pivot operationally and financially has been detrimental to many minority owned businesses. Securing the PPP loans or EIDL relief poses many challenges for under-resourced businesses. The small business community is a major contributor in the diversification of goods and services, employment opportunity and building contributing tax-paying citizens. To blatantly slight that pool of collective wealth is clearly not a business plan that should be sustained.

Conscious or unconscious bias, income inequality further widens the economic gap and impairs the financial strength and growth in minority communities. Access is the key driver in getting appropriate information, resources and business guidance for long-term sustainability and achieving another piece of the economic pie of the American Dream. Our Economic Development Director, Kristin Barnekov-Short, continues to ensure that an integral part of our work is focused on leveraging every opportunity to help build a solid foundation to develop a diverse economy for the community that we serve.

The civil unrest that has transpired in the past month brings forth the overuse of the buzz words or the phrase of systemic racial economic inequality. We are now all required to convene around the table with a common goal to “Do Something to CHANGE Something.” That is what drives our organization daily. We can no longer have just conversations to appease one another for the moment. We must truly commit to, and I strongly encourage, an examination of the current policies and practices that continue to leave a targeted group of our population on the outskirts, marginalized from economic growth. Once that acknowledgement and examination is complete, getting about the “business of bias” and eradicating it at every turn should be the driver to truly demonstrate a strong desire to see that providing equal opportunity and driving toward economic security truly means equal at every level.

For those who agree and are willing to join me to close this economic gap, we are ready. REACH Riverside and our Economic Development Committee, staffed by Mrs. Barnekov-Short with many business leaders of all levels at the table, are ready to look at the various policies and see where immediate changes can occur. 

Logan H. Herring, Sr is CEO of REACH Riverside Development Corp., a a 501 (c )3 non-profit organization. REACH is an acronym for the organization’s holistic approach to community revitalization by means of Redevelopment, Education And Community Health.

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