Upcoming Events: Join the NC NAACP and other coalition partners for the 13th Annual HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) People’s Assembly Moral March on Raleigh on Saturday, February 9th in Downtown Raleigh. Read more here.
Last week in Equal Opportunity for All? Race Matters in Public Schools, we discussed racial inequities in NC public schools. These inequities go beyond our schools as seen in a report by Prosperity Now. The story was covered by the North Carolina Business News Wire. There it is reported that
North Carolina was ranked 41st in overall prosperity of residents among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., with No. 1 being the most prosperous and No. 50 being the least. . . . [Furthermore], overall prosperity was measured by assessing a variety of factors, including financial assets, home ownership, education and access to health care. These factors were then analyzed by race to show imbalances between whites and minority groups.
Prosperity Now found that NC had the 29th highest rate of racial disparity. The report offers suggestions for steps that can be taken to reduce racial inequality for home ownership, consumer protections, and tax policy.
Disparity between whites and minority groups are shown in liquid asset poverty rate ("measure of households without sufficient liquid savings to cover basic expenses for three months if they were to experience a financial emergency") with black families reporting 57.6% liquid asset poverty and white families reporting 35%.
They also reported that this may play a role in the rate at which North Carolinians access health care.
One out of every six adults of all races in North Carolina reported not seeing a doctor last year due to cost. Twenty-four percent of black residents reported poor or failing health compared to 16.8% of whites.
There are also extreme disparities in education between black and white students in NC. Among the most concerning is the proficiency level of black eighth grade students (14.4%) vs. white students (47.3%). This likely contributes to lower rates of high school graduation, college education and business ownership of black people as compared to white people.
According to Prosperity Now, NC has adopted 10 out of 28 policies measured in this report.
So where do we go from here? The Prosperity Now report suggests,
To begin the process of enacting these key reforms, we need to hold our elected officials accountable for eradicating inequitable and racist policies and systems, and then replacing them with truly equitable and opportunity-enhancing proposals and structures that give all households a fair shot at prosperity.
We need to stand alongside groups like the NC NAACP and their partners from over 200 social justice organizations in events like the 13th Annual HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street) People’s Assembly Moral March on Raleigh on Saturday, February 9th in Downtown Raleigh. We need to bring awareness to the issues like protecting the vote, criminal justice, immigration justice, women's rights, education, economic stability, and healthcare. We need to continue working on action steps like those of the HKonJ Coalition's 14-Point People's Agenda and reminding our policymakers of their importance.
The Democrats in the Senate and the House started the legislative session strong by introducing bills for Medicaid Expansion. Read more about this from Stamp NC Blue on Thursday this week. Keep up the dialogue about the needs of EVERYONE in our state and not just the needs of a few (see NC Policy Watch's article on The growth of income inequality in N.C. and how not to make it worse). Keep pushing for good policies.