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Despite Dreams of Prosperity, Many African Americans not Financially Ready to Retire

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Caucasians didn’t lose as much wealth during the Great Recession and have recovered more of it, so white households now hold close to six times the wealth of African American or Hispanic households,” according to a recent MassMutual State of the American Family Study.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The nation’s leading public interest group providing seniors and others with information that empowers them to choose how they live, AARP, regularly publishes a retirement calculator that individuals and families can use to provide a personalized snapshot of what their financial future might look like.

One simply has to answer a few questions about household status, salary and retirement savings (such as an IRA or 401(k)), include information about supplemental retirement income (such as a pension or Social Security), and consider how long they intend to work to generate information that will inform their expected lifestyle as a retiree.

The tool is designed to help potential retirees determine the amount of money they’ll need to retire “when – and how – they want.”

Unfortunately for most African Americans, even the most sophisticated planning tools lead to the same result: retirement has fast become a pie-in-the-sky dream.

“As a whole, Americans are bad savers. But, I believe it’s worse for African American communities because they don’t have access to the right educational opportunities,” said Cory Chapman, the Managing Partner and CEO of EFC Wealth Management.

“Being raised by a single mom with three kids, I understand the struggle of just trying to pay the bills and get food on the table. Growing up, saving money was an afterthought and never discussed,” Chapman said.

A report published earlier this month demonstrated how African Americans, Latinos and other minorities will have a more difficult time calling it quits than white Americans.

The report, published on the financial website The Motley Fool, revealed that the troubling disparity in retirement readiness between white Americans and minorities can be explained largely by income and wealth disparities that persist throughout our lives.

“Caucasians didn’t lose as much wealth during the Great Recession and have recovered more of it, so white households now hold close to six times the wealth of African American or Hispanic households,” the report’s authors said.

Median earnings for white households recovered from the recession by 2016, but earning levels for both black and Hispanic households remained below 2007 levels.

Caucasians now earn close to twice as much as minority households do, according to The Motley Fool.

“The African American community is skeptical when it comes to saving,” Chapman said.

“Growing up, we were taught by our grandparents that we couldn’t trust banks and we were better off burying money in the backyard,” he said.

Understanding how money works is actually getting worse with each new generation – black children aren’t learning basic life skills in school, Chapman continued.

“We need to be teaching children about planning strategies to generate wealth. Retired African American clients that come into my office are still just trying to make ends meet,” Chapman said.

“They don’t feel like they can save money when they are trying to put their kids through college and help them buy a home or car. They are forgetting about themselves and their own retirement,” he said.

The most recent MassMutual State of the American Family Study found that there are differences in retirement planning among different cultural groups.

African Americans fall short on executing life-changing measures such as accumulating wealth, being better prepared for retirement and building up savings.

According to the American Family Study, 84 percent of African Americans believe the American Dream means financial security; 78 percent in not living paycheck-to-paycheck; and 77 percent in owning a home.

However, based on the study, many African Americans don’t have tangible assets needed to make those goals happen now.

The study revealed a disconnect between African Americans’ financial situations and their hope toward the future.

Some key findings from the survey:

  • Outside of retirement accounts, only 37 percent of African Americans own wealth-building products such as stocks and mutual funds.
  • Only 35 percent believe they are doing a good job of preparing for retirement.
  • 33 percent have less than one month of funds saved for a crisis and less than 25 percent have amassed more than six months’ of emergency savings.
  • 58 percent are actively involved in educating their children on finances versus 48 percent of Caucasians. Forty-percent rely on family members for information

“The study shows African Americans want to improve their financial situations and are hopeful about the future,” Evan Taylor, African American market director for MassMutual, told Black Enterprise Magazine.

“At the same time, it sheds light on the financial struggles and inequities that the African American community continues to battle,” Taylor said.

“Those contradictions indicate a need for greater financial education and discipline for the whole family to achieve economic success. In fact, the biggest financial regret expressed by respondents was that they wished they had started saving and investing sooner,” he said.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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