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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Community Briefs From The Seattle King County NAACP

Rittenhouse Acquittal

Carolyn Riley-Payne, president of the Seattle King County NAACP, issued the following statement last week after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges in the fatal shooting of two men during racial justice protests in 2020.

“The verdict in the Rittenhouse trial is yet another painful reminder that we live under a perverse system of justice in which Black and white bodies are treated as wholly unequal,” said Riley-Payne. “Under this system, an armed white man can murder two protestors without fear of consequences while unarmed Black men like Ahmaud Arbery and Treyvon Martin face summary execution for jogging through a neighborhood or walking home with a package of Skittles. This verdict will only further embolden those who seek to use deadly violence to silence our cries for equity and justice. Yet we must not be intimidated. We must not be deterred by the injustice of the systems we wish to reform. We must fight on.

“There are people in this country who are celebrating this verdict. These are the same people now working to erode our right to vote,” she continued. “They are the people who defend the police when they kill our sisters and brothers with impunity. And if we do not fight for justice today, they will win.”

Report on Black Venture Capitalism Series Kickoff

Last week, NAACP Economic Development Committee member Lloyd Dees kicked off their Venture Series, where they explore the challenges faced by Black venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, and the role they could play in the American Economy.  This programming explored the fundamentals of venture capitalism and how the current system locks out potential.

According to Dees, Venture Capitalism plays a critical role in the American economy, yet Black entrepreneurs and Black Venture Capitalist firms face significant challenges in the industry with only 3% of funding going to Black entrepreneurs. Dees pulled back the curtain on some of the details of the world of venture capital, highlighting through video clips how it can be hard to penetrate the exclusivity of the venture capitalism system which can lead to these gaps. This drastic funding gap of Black venture capitalists is preventing transformative ideas and business growth championed by Black, female, and multicultural entrepreneurs from reaching American society.

The funding gap also creates a cycle that continues to widen the racial Wealth Gap. Notably, we learned in this discussion that white Americans have 10 times the wealth of Black Americans, but when we look at Black business owners, the gap shrinks to 3 times. This data shows us that access to capital and the ability to build a business are a critical strategy to shrinking the wealth gap. 

This series is but one of multiple fronts the Economic Development Committee is working on to bring economic disparity issues to light, while bringing solutions forward. Be on the lookout in early 2022 for our next webinar of the Venture Series! 

COVID UPDATE: Gather Safely for the Holidays

President Carolyn Riley- Payne shared communication from NAACP-National regarding gathering safely for the holidays, even while Covid-19 is still a danger.

From their website: “As we think about gathering this holiday season, the CDC has guidelines to consider to help us keep ourselves and our families safe. It is vital to continue to take precautions while others continue to get vaccinated.”

Their tips for gathering and traveling safely during the holidays are summarized on a graphic chart available at https://naacp.org/resources/covid-19-holiday-gathering-and-travel-recommendations.              

More general information about Covid-19, its outsize effect on the African-American community, and how the NAACP is fighting with facts, is available with their COVID-KNOW-MORE campaign at https://naacp.org/campaigns/covid-know-more.

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