The African American Leadership Forum recently held a convening at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center in North Minneapolis, which brought together African American leaders and changemakers from across the Twin Cities to reflect upon the Problem Statements developed by our Collective Impact Task Force — a dynamic group of Black thought leaders chosen through an application process to identify solutions to some of our community’s most pressing challenges.

The Community Harvest provided opportunities for participants to empathize around problem statements related to Family & Culture and Economic Development in the Black community. Some potential projects that attendees identified as ways to address challenges related to Family & Culture, include a New School of African Thought and Civil rights research experience.

In regard to Economic Development, participants felt that many of the issues in the Black community are framed by men, even when Black women are often the primary household providers. There is also a gap in starting capital for Black businesses, which are underfunded when compared to white businesses. In addition, African Americans need more diverse capital sources. Those who attended began to ask the question: What can we control? Moreover, participants stated that business education is different than financial education; understanding when you need capital and how to think about different systems of business education is important.

Lastly, it was noted that economic agendas in the Black community are often framed by social justice and social services rather than resources. Many attendees felt that as a community, we need a deeper analysis on strategic investments across the entire Black wealth spectrum: For example: How do we support current Black business? How do we reorient? Other insights from the experience include the belief that unintentional policy breeds continuous disparities, race neutrality doesn’t work, and there is a need for coordination across organizations and resources that support wealth literacy in the Black community.

Learn more about the African American Leadership Forum’s (AALF) Collective Impact Task Force.