United Way of Southwest Alabama / President's Desk  / President’s Blog “What’s Going On”
February President's Blog "What's Going On"

President’s Blog “What’s Going On”

The Reverend David L. Frazier, Sr. served as the keynote speaker speaker for this year’s Port City Chapter of Black’s in Government  33rd Annual Memorial Breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. His theme revolved around Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” but his message pointed out what is not going on in the African American community.

According to an October 13, 2022, article in Stateline, “Black homeownership fell in 2019 to 40.6%, down from the 2004 peak of 49.7%. The rate has rebounded somewhat since then, but advocates remain dismayed at how, decades after the 1968 Fair Housing Act, Black families still struggle to become homeowners at the same rate as White peers.”

In a June 4, 2020, Washington Post article, the news is just as bleak, “More than 1 in 5 black families now report they often or sometimes do not have enough food — more than three times the rate for white families. Black families are also almost four times as likely as whites to report they missed a mortgage payment during the crisis — numbers that do not bode well for the already low black homeownership rate.”

“The percentage of out-of-wedlock births for non-Hispanic whites is 21.9 percent, but for non-Hispanic blacks, it’s 69.3 percent” reports the Center for Equal Opportunity.

In her article “The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons” Ashley Nellis, Ph.D. notes, “Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly 5 times the rate of white Americans.”

In a United States of America that has seen an African American President, a female of mixed African American heritage currently serving as Vice President, and two African American quarterbacks starting in the Super Bowl, one would think that equality has finally reached us. The numbers do not reflect this as a reality. African Americans’ lives are really no better than they were in 1968; the year Martin Luther King Jr.’s execution.

In order for our nation, our state, our county and our city to thrive, social justice has to exist. We have to provide affordable housing, quality education, opportunities for advancement, fair trials for everyone. Our communities are only as strong and vital as the people who live in them. Business and industry cannot and will not thrive where there is inequality. We must do better. We cannot see another 53 years pass without seeing the needle move.