Editor’s Note | It’s Time
While struggling to battle a worldwide pandemic, this country has also found itself in the midst of a renewed cry for equity. To be sure, COVID-19 has impacted us all to different degrees, but the facts have shown that — both in terms of physical health and economic health — our Black population has struggled, and continues to struggle, the hardest. That may be of less consequence in less diverse cities, but here in New Orleans, where minorities are the majority — making up 60% of our population — its importance cannot be overstated.
While having the chance to chat with a few local Black business owners for this month’s cover feature, and picking the brains of some in our community that spend their waking hours working tirelessly to support them, I found myself trying to picture what New Orleans would look like if 60% of our population did not face so many disadvantages based solely on the color of their skin. What, I wonder, would the impact be on our economy if those 60% were given the same access to the business opportunities, the funding and the support that the other 40% have always received? What changes would we see in the problems that have so long plagued this city; to crime, poverty and education levels? How would our workforce change? How would it affect the way we’re able to compete for business on a national and global scale?
I wonder what it would it look like to live in an equitable society. It’s understandably hard to picture, as we’ve never in our country’s history come close. But now, at a time when the whole world is upside down, when everything “normal” about our lives seems to have disappeared a lifetime ago, maybe it’s the perfect time to make some changes that ARE in our control, changes that point us toward a future that capitalizes on the strengths of ALL of our population, not just a portion of it.
New Orleans is a city unlike any other on this planet, and that is because of people of color. Our music, our food, our culture — everything that makes people flock here from every corner of the world to visit or live here — none of it would exist without them. If we hope to find any real prosperity in the future, I’m convinced that it will only be because we recognized the chance we had to build a longer table — to all move forward, together.
Thank you for reading,
Kimberley Singletary, Managing Editor