This past week has brought the plight of our already distressed communities to the center of the national dialogue, with the twin crises of pandemic and economic realities worsened by racial injustice and killings in the black community. Our neighborhoods, our black-owned businesses, are especially hurting right now. PCV stands with the black community, as we have since our founding, redoubling our efforts to address inequity and injustice now more than ever.
Racial equity and justice is an end to police violence and the criminalization of poverty. Permanently. Everything else is accountability. It is not a radical notion, nor is it an impossibility. All of us are part of the solution. We have an obligation to do more and to stand up and fight hatred, racism, and bigotry in every form. We do that at PCV by further committing ourselves to centering race and equity in our lending portfolio, our advising program, and our research practice. Each of us at PCV are committed to investing in and supporting black and brown-owned businesses, to helping our small business owners create good jobs that create assets in their communities, and to closing the racial wealth gap, long exacerbated by lending practices at formal financial institutions. This is inherently why CDFIs like us were created decades ago, and is a mission we are increasingly intentional about at PCV. We all can and must do more as individuals and as an organization to work to create a just and equitable economy, and we will.
Say their names. George Floyd. Nina Pop. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Then redouble your commitment to support black-owned businesses, whether in cleaning up and re-opening safely, buying from them, investing in them, and advancing policy that shapes an inclusive recovery.
We all need to become the kind of anti-racist neighbors who make our communities safe for each other. Visit Black Lives Matter for resources, events, and actions. Read this guide to allyship as well as this resource for white people and parents to deepen anti-racism work. Don’t stop there. If you’re in a position of privilege, evolve your mindset and lifestyle. Listen to affected communities and leaders more than you speak. Support community organizations run by people of color, and follow their lead in deploying your philanthropy, in investing, and at peaceful protests. Contact your member of Congress to support Rep. Ayanna Pressley’s resolution calling for systemic reforms at all levels of government to end the scourge of police brutality in our society.
You can also help build black wealth with your dollars. Juneteenth is in just under three weeks, and you can start supporting black-owned businesses in our communities today and every day. Check out Bay Area Black Market, BAOBAB, and Support Black Owned. We also encourage you to shop with our black-owned small business clients.
For all of our black business owners and those in affected communities reading this, PCV is here in solidarity to help you reopen safely and build back better, when you’re ready. Our Oakland offices may be closed, but our fair and affordable non-profit loan program and our free business advising program are open. Please reach out if there’s any way that we can help.
Be safe, be well.
President & CEO, Pacific Community Ventures