From TEDx Provincetown – Five Ways to Eradicate the Racial Wealth Gap with Tara Vargas Wallace

Tara Vargas Wallace, Founder and CEO, Amplify POC

In June of 2022, I was invited along with all the board members of “Gay Sons and Mothers” to attend our executive director’s TEDx Provincetown Talk, “The Mother Factor: Acceptance Works Both Ways.” Link to my blog about that talk.

But I also was treated to seven additional diverse and impactful talks, one of those being the extremely important topic of eradicating the racial wealth gap presented by Tara Vargas Wallace, founder and CEO of Amplify POC, which advocates for racial justice and economic development of People of Color in the Cape Cod, Massachusetts area.

Tara started her brief talk with an introduction of her personal journey, going from a homeless teen with a child living in the Bronx to becoming a social worker and becoming aware of the impacts of systemic racism.  (See my blog on personal and institutional racism)

What is the Racial Wealth Gap? It is the difference in wealth between groups of people based on race and ethnicity. Harmful American policies over the past decades have severely disadvantaged Black and Brown Americans, making it nearly impossible for them to build generational wealth. According to Federal Reserve Bank statistics, white households currently have 8 times the wealth of Black households and 5 times the wealth of Brown households. Long time policies of redlining (a loan practice which made it much harder to obtain mortgages in minority neighborhoods) and gentrification (which pushed minority families out of affordable housing) have resulted in these drastic gaps in generational wealth accumulation.

So what can we do to address this injustice? Tara challenged us to practice “wallet activism” in terms of how we make, spend and invest our money and offered five practical suggestions:

Tara Vargas Wallace speaking at TEDx Provincetown

1) Advocate for substantial national investment in Brown and Black communities

2) Push for improving housing policy, especially addressing the negative impacts of redlining and gentrification

3) Expand access to entrepreneurship. Make it much more easy and fair for Black and Brown owned business to obtain loans and investments

4) Support and patronize Black and Brown owned businesses regularly

5) Vote for candidates who support public policies to remove these economic barriers, including updated federal guidelines for contracts with minority owned businesses.

This is certainly a systemic long-range wrong that needs to be corrected by sustained action. Tara ended her talk by encouraging us to spread the word on this issue.

Here is a link to hear the seven minute recording of Tara Vargas Wallace’s talk.