Cocoa Strength. Caramel Love. Honey Wisdom.
As I entered the Chase Bank in downtown Oakland, I was immediately filled with a sense of peace and delight. Perhaps not a typical response when one enters a bank, but this was different. Tonight’s event was for ambitious and successful black women led by ambitious and successful black women.
LaSandra Hunt and Kimberly Nash are the leaders behind the monthly Oakland meetings for Currency Conversations, an initiative through a Chase and Essence partnership. Hunt is the Vice President of Commercial Banking, Middle Market and the Supplier Diversity Ambassador for Chase Bank. Nash is the Home Lending Advisor for Chase. Two incredibly vivacious, intelligent, unapologetically feminine, warm-spirited women devoted to the local black Bay Area community.
The events are geared towards black women with a mission of helping our community elevate our net-worth. A mission that aligns with Money & Mimosas to elevate the net-worth and self-worth of women of color.
As economic inequality grows within the United States, there are specific communities that are facing the brunt of this harsh reality. Black women are one of those communities.
Although over 70% of black women are the breadwinners in their family and manage the household finances, their collective net worth fails to keep up with white women, let alone white men. The Institute for Policy Studies, a think-tank established in the 60s and credited with driving the current conversation around economic inequality, released the following stats:
Single black women with a bachelor’s degree ages 20-39 have a median net worth of -11,000 to $0 while the white woman has a net worth range of $3,400 – $7,500.
Married black women with bachelor’s degree ages 20-39 have a median net worth of -20,500 to 7,700 while white women have a net worth range of $18,700 to $97,000.
Many will point to a lack of education as the reason why someone is not financially successful, however black women earn more degrees in higher education than any other community. So why is there a gap?
While there are many factors, what know for sure, is that black women earn 65 cents on the dollar and that needs to change.
In order to assist in closing this gap, Chase X Essence created Currency Conversations where black women across the United States can gather to learn about money from experts in a space that is dedicated to their needs. In Oakland, these events are typically held on the last Thursday of the month.
While I am unhappy with the role that most financial institutions have played in contributing to the wealth gap (including Chase), these gatherings are incredibly healing and conversations are the first step in rectifying the financial abuse waged against black women. And providing us the self-empowerment tools we need to elevate our net-worth. These tools include education, community and confidence.
The next event in Oakland is on Thursday, August 29. To find a session a near you, please visit Currency Conversations.
About Money & Mimosas: Money & Mimosas was started as a passion project by Danetha, a former NFL cheerleader turned entrepreneur and financial journalist. After a brunch conversation with girlfriends, Danetha was inspired to launch a blog to explore her journey of becoming rich, sexy and confident.