Pandemic: Economic Forecast Grim

Ben Frazier, CEO, Northside Coalition of Jacksonville

By Ben Frazier, CEO Northside Coalition of Jacksonville – “When America gets a financial cold, black folks get pneumonia!”

The belief that blacks are especially prone to financial instability in the U.S. economy is not a new revelation. We’re still trying to catch up from the last recession of 2008. Now the Covid 19 Pandemic is striking us with a real knockout punch!

Black Jacksonville residents Speak

“This was the last thing we needed; people in Jacksonville were already in bad shape,” said Tasha Lewis, a customer service specialist who lives out east.” Lewis said “I am really very much concerned about the safety and welfare of my two grandchildren.” Lewis also said “black people don’t fare very well economically in Jacksonville even in the best of times.” Amanda Proctor,is a young black business owner; she is also a single parent. “The businesses I serve on the Northside  are all starting to close down. Very soon we will not be able to do our office maintenance work. Covid 19 is negatively affecting my bottom line, my profits, and my livelihood.” Essey Howard is a local community organizer.  Laughing loudly, Howard said, “There’s an old song that refers to “Money, money, money; that mean, mean, mean, mean green! I dont care how mean it is he said. Because of this pandemic, me and my wife Sandora,we need all we can get!”

The Economic Plight of African Americans 

Economically Blacks in Jacksonville are usually the group that gets hit first and hardest!  There are reports that it could take three years for the U.S. economy to recover from covid-19.   Unemployment could run as high as 32 percent and that’s way higher than it was even during the great depression.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., for example, often highlighted the particular plight of black folks.  In 1967, Dr. King said, “If a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists.”

About those Stimulus Checks 

The US government is preparing to send out direct payments to help individuals amid the coronavirus pandemic, but those who need the money most may be waiting the longest to see it. CNN reports the first payments could go out within three weeks, and will likely go to those for whom the Internal Revenue Service already has direct deposit information on file.It’s unclear how long it will take to get the money to everyone else — but experts say it could take weeks or even months.

Striving to Make It

Financially speaking, even with stimulus checks and expanded unemployment benefits, some black families are already starting to crash and burn! Some people call it cheddar, greenbacks or bread but pandemic or not, we all need money to function and to survive and thrive!  Will you make it through the pandemic with your financial house in order? If you don’t have a plan to succeed then the only plan you have is a plan to fail. With less money coming in, the wise among us are already starting to make serious plans. Some folks are moving to defer rental payments,and  house and car notes as well.  After all, this pandemic economic struggle is beginning to look like a marathon and not a sprint! From Arlington to the east side and from Magnolia Gardens to a 103rd St we’re all trying to make wise choices on how to spend our well earned money. Covid 19 has presented us with an unprecedented crisis affecting our health and finances.  Most black Jacksonville residents were already juggling our bills and living paycheck to paycheck even before Covid 19. We made it back then and we will make it this time around as well. (BF)

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