Yesterday we celebrated Juneteenth!
In case you’re not familiar with the history of this holiday, here are the facts:
- Juneteenth is a celebration marking an end to slavery in the United States.
- Though the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863, very few people were immediately freed.
- A full two and a half years later, the last enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas were pronounced free people.
- That historic date, June 19, 1865, has been proclaimed Juneteenth and celebrated by Black Americans annually ever since.
The Senate voted this past Tuesday to pass legislation that would make Juneteenth a national holiday. The bill is not yet a law, but as a business owner, I have the power to honor the holidays that matter most. That’s why I gave everyone on my team the day off on Friday.
Juneteenth is our celebration, and rest is our revolution.
Yesterday we posted a video on social media to celebrate all our Black Club members (aka Shmillies!), team members, contractors, and all Black people in the Hello Seven universe. In case you missed it, this video is a testament: Black is beautiful. Black is king.
Seeing all those beautiful faces reminded me of a conversation I had a few months ago with best-selling author Patrice Washington, during an episode of her Redefining Wealth podcast (check out the podcast here, and type my name in the search bar).
At one point during the interview, Patrice gave me a fill-in-the-blank prompt: “My name is ___ and the truth about wealth is ___.”
And you know what I said?
“My name is Rachel Rodgers and the truth about wealth is that it needs to be Blacker.”
I stand behind and celebrate that statement in honor of Juneteenth, today and every day.
Despite this country’s economic progress over the past decades, Black Americans experience far worse economic conditions than white people or the US population as a whole.
The hard truths about Black wealth are measurable:
- Black women make 62 cents on a white man’s dollar (compared to white women’s 79 cents).
- In the US, the net worth of an average white household($171,000) is literally 10x more than the net worth of the average Black household ($17,000).
- The unemployment rate for Black US citizens is approximately twice the rate for white US citizens.
- Less than half (42%) of Black families own their homes, compared to almost three-quarters (73%) of white families.
- Persistent segregation leads to large disparities in the quality of secondary education, leading to worse economic outcomes.
- Black Americans are over twice as likely to live in poverty as White Americans.
- Black children are three times as likely to live in poverty as White children.
This is why Patrice and I — both Black women authors — made the intentional decision to put our faces on the covers of our books.
Why? Because we want our daughters — and little Black and brown girls everywhere — to see their faces in ours.
We want them to believe, despite the lack of examples they may have in their everyday life and in broader society, that they are worthy and capable of glowing up, earning seven figures, and putting themselves on the cover of a best-selling book someday, if that’s what they want to do.
Towards the end of our conversation, Patrice hit me with another great question.
“Define success,” she said.
I had one word for her: “Freedom.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. . . We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
We are demanding our freedom. We are fighting for it. We are claiming it.
But these demands, this fight, and this claiming — they all require capital.
It takes money to lobby Congress.
It takes money to support protestors who march in the streets.
It takes money to bail out activists and fund research that provides evidence of the need for change.
It takes money to give ourselves and our children options.
It takes money to build the beautiful lives we deserve in a country whose wealth was built on our backs.
So it’s time for us, as Black people, to turn toward our money.
To focus on our earning potential and our ability to generate wealth.
What works, as I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives of the people I coach, is focusing on and believing in the value of our immense natural skills and talents, being mindful of how we use our time, and prioritizing the building of generational wealth — because this is how we effect serious, long-term change.
This is how we claim our freedom.
Happy Juneteenth. I’m Black and I’m proud.
PS. Do you want to join the movement of empowerment through wealth building, but you’re not sure where to start? I can help you out. Get a copy of my book, We Should All Be Millionaires, and get on the waitlist so you’re the first to know when The Club opens its doors again.
PPS. Are you a non-Black entrepreneur who wants to make a difference in the fight for Black lives and liberation? Stay tuned for a special announcement coming soon about the 2021 Anti-Racist Small Business Town Hall.