Juneteenth: 9 Black Women Fighting to Close the Racial Wealth Gap
This week, Congress officially recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday, the first new holiday to be established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983. Juneteenth celebrates the day when the last enslaved people were freed in Galveston, Texas, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation became law.
Black people, and especially Black women, have faced steep and constant barriers to building wealth in America, from discrimination by law, from financial institutions, and in the workplace. Black women earn between 63-68 cents on the dollar, graduate with the most student debt, and receive less than 1% of venture capital funding, despite being the fastest-growing entrepreneurial group. Oh, and there are only two Black female Fortune 500 CEOs. Yes, two.
In honor of Juneteenth, we want to highlight 10 Black women who are fighting to close the racial wealth gap.
- Kenya McKnight Ahad: CEO of BWWA (Black Women’s Wealth Alliance) is inspiring females to build generational Black wealth and economic growth to form an alliance of wealth-minded women focused on generational wealth building. In 2019 she was honored as Minneapolis & Saint Paul Business Journal “Top Women in Business” and a Finance Commence “Top Woman in Finance.” She is one of the 100 top leading Black women in MN serving more than 3,5000 Black women across Minnesota, investing over $340k in small capacity grants in an effort to destigmatize finance.
- Dasha Kennedy: Dasha is the founder of The Broke Black Girl whose “no B.S. real-talk coaching and strategies” helps women of color get ahead and take control of their finances. She discusses her struggle and tough life events on her blog that helped her realize how financially unprepared she was. She started sharing her own journey on Facebook in 2017 focusing on the financial struggles young women of color face and within a year the Facebook group skyrocketed to over 60k women. She has found a platform to support women to take a change providing a safe space to act as an administrator and financial coach.
- Lazetta Braxton: Lazetta is a CNBC contributor and co-founder and co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners. She is a passionate financial planning professional who amplifies diversity, inclusion, and equality through public speaking, consulting, and coaching. Lazetta provides access to financial planning to everyday people who desire financial freedom to influence, experience, and make a difference in their family and future generations. She employs a “no fear, no shame zone” to help financial services firms nurture culturally aware and hospitable workplace environments to ignite innovation and allocate equity among their employees. Lazetta is recognized for her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and dedication. She was named as a 2021 Crain’s New York Business Notable Black Leader and Executive, as well as one of the top 10 of Investopedia’s 100 Top Financial Advisors in 2019 and 2020.
- Jala Eaton: Jala is a generational wealth expert and founder of On My Own Financial, a company that specializes in making things convenient by offering free advice in order to close the wealth gap. Jala has always been fascinated with estate planning as she believes it is the only way to ensure the successful transfer of generational wealth. As an estate, certified trust, and financial planner, she is in the perfect position to help protect the assets you have and take necessary goals to stay protected.
- Carmen Perez: Carmen is the CEO and founder of Make Real Cents. She started transforming the personal finance industry in 2016 when she left her six-figure job in finance. She made it an obligation to put her finances in order and her blog is a way to document her journey towards becoming debt-free. Carmen is on the mission to teach you the dos and don’ts of personal finance with a little humor along the way.
- Carla Harris: Carla is a vice chairman of global wealth management and a senior client adviser at Morgan Stanley in New York, which she joined in 1987. She’s also a gospel recording artist and the author of Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace and Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career. While climbing the corporate ladder, she had her own personal missteps amidst numerous victories and she vowed that when she reached senior management, she would provide people with the right advice, tools and strategies.
- Eliza Revella: Eliza- also known as Ellie- is a business coach, entrepreneur, and mom on a mission to help empower young females and teach her nearly 190k followers on Instagram how to start their online business and become their own boss. She started her business, Ellie Talks Money, during the pandemic (and in the midst of a divorce! With 4 kids!), which now has over $2 million in revenue.
- Lauren Simmons: At just 22 years old, made history as the youngest full-time female trader on Wall Street at age 22. She was also the second African American woman equity trader since the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was established in 1792.
- Mellody Hobson: Mellody is the Co-CEO of Ariel Investments, who this year launched Project Black, a $200 million fund in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, that seeks to invest and scale minority-owned businesses to close the racial wealth gap.
Each of these women’s efforts to break the gender and wealth gap and destigmatize the industry is remarkable and has had a substantial impact on millions who’ve now found a curiosity in taking charge of their own financial future. With their courageousness and vision, they are true inspirations for young women.
Want to meet even more inspiring women who fighting to close the racial wealth gap? Check out these firesides:
- Women & the Racial Wealth Divide with Prosperity Now
- Black History Month: How to Get a Seat at the Table with Minda Harts
- How to Show Up for the Black Community with Dr. Akilah Cadet
- Black Business Month: How to Get Funded with Shelly Bell
Image by Aurora