Dec. 5, 2018
A couple of months ago, I was given the opportunity to attend an enlightening workshop put on by REI, The Racial Equity Institute, which is “an organization committed to bringing awareness and analysis to the root causes of disparities and disproportionality in order to create racially equitable organizations and systems.”
My translation: REI is committed to shedding light on the history behind racial injustice and how it is reflected in American customs and institutions towards people of color.
I doubt that the reality of inequity in America is news to anyone. The difficulties of reaching the ‘American Dream’ for people who look like me have been evident from the time I was a small girl. Sure, there are plenty of accomplished and successful black people in America, but proportionately, it is not reflective of the general population. Thinking back to the whirlwind of emotions that I experienced as I was exposed to the intentional plan to specifically deny minorities the opportunity to buy and sell, own, transact, vote, invest, be educated, head their families, etc., I wondered what in the world we could individually do to overcome the systems of organized oppression that we have been subjected to here in America. I also began to lament over the monumental struggle we face as aspiring entrepreneurs of color. At first glance, it appears to be an insurmountable problem with deep roots and even deeper inherent biases.
Meanwhile, back at the bat-cave we call MORTAR, we are feverishly working to help our community overcome these systems and obstacles to entrepreneurship by working to secure access and opportunities that otherwise may not be made available. For real change to take place, there has to be a collective agreement between the systems in power and the community. In addition to that, there is an equal amount of responsibility on the part of the entrepreneur to be willing to persevere and push past obstacles & setbacks.
Our entrepreneurship classes and our Alumni support program are systems as well. But they are systems that enrich, encourage, and empower those who seek to break the cycles that they have experienced as underserved and overlooked people in America. We are servants and gatekeepers. We humbly submit our expertise, experience, and resources to further the cause of racial equality and equity in our communities.Karla, as apart of MORTAR's Alumni department, takes a moment to reflect on racial inequality, following a workshop hosted by The Racial Equity Institute. It deeply impacts her every day job of supporting #MORTARAlum Click To Tweet