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Why one Black woman chose the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington to launch the next big think tank
“Future in Color is about no one being left behind. It’s about creating the economic future in a world that works for everybody,” founder Le’Kiesha French said in an interview.
Thousands of people will gather in the nation’s capital this weekend to mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington—where the late Rev. Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech—and to continue the movement started by freedom fighters of generations past for the civil rights and economic justice of Black people.
For LE’KIESHA FRENCH, a self-described serial entrepreneur and social innovator, the 2023 March on Washington will serve as the backdrop for the launch of Future in Color, a Black think tank dedicated to increasing Black economic power by 50 percent in the next 20 years.
“When I think about the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, I think about what that march was for: jobs,” French said to Supercreator News in an interview on Thursday afternoon. “Future in Color is about no one being left behind. It’s about creating the economic future in a world that works for everybody.”
The seed for Future in Color was planted in 2019. French felt a conviction to create an equitable pathway for indigenous, Black, and brown communities to not just participate or be in the workforce, but to own and have agency in these ecosystems.
“I became frustrated because I sat in rooms and watched seven-, eight-figure deals being created to build up the future of these cities and regions and we weren’t at the table,” French said. “That is what led me to build Future in Color. It’s really an evolution of my body of work, my learnings of how to use entrepreneurship and innovation as means of social and economic justice.”
As for the name: It was born from French digging into the data.
“I happened to look at the Census and it said by 2045, the US will be majority people of color. I’m in these rooms and I don’t see us anywhere,” she said. “This is not right. We are going to get left behind if we don’t do something. The numbers are clear: The future is color—literally. So that’s how I came up with the name.”
Instead of closing the racial wealth gap by chasing white wealth, Future in Color aims to harness the collective economic contributions and possibilities of Black and brown communities that already exist within the diaspora. French has established four pillars to facilitate this movement: innovation, ownership, investment, and advocacy.
“I started working backwards to see how we can start accelerating the global Black GDP in those sectors and industries that will create the most wealth over the next 20 years,” she said. “And so that will put us in a position where we will be shaping global markets, where we’re going to be creating the jobs of the future in emerging industries.”
The fundamental argument French is making with Future in Color: When Black and brown people do well, everyone does. But to an extent, the case has already been made.
“The problem is that it has never been quantified so it’s easy to dismiss [Black contributions] or to dismiss it or to move on as if we haven’t done that,” she said. “So that’s part of why we’re doing the global Black GDP to set the record straight on what Black people’s economic contributions and impact have been.”
A White House official told Supercreator News that President JOE BIDEN and Vice President KAMALA HARRIS have worked every day to bring the US closer to Dr. King’s dream of equal opportunity for Americans.
In particular, the official said the president’s Bidenomics plan has delivered for Black Americans and communities across the country by increasing health care coverage by 400,000 Black people from 2020 to 2022 and producing the fastest creation rate of Black-owned small businesses in over 25 years.
The administration has also worked to reverse decades of infrastructure disinvestment in communities of color and close the digital divide for Black families. It set a record-breaking $164 billion in federal procurement opportunities for small businesses, which included surpassing the fiscal year 2022 goal for disadvantaged small businesses. And the White House has a goal of adding $100 billion to minority-owned businesses and other underserved communities by 2025 by increasing the amount of federal contracting dollars going to these businesses by 50 percent.
Beyond these federal investments, French said lawmakers can do more to bolster the impact of the work of private enterprises like Future in Color.
Congress, for example, could reallocate federal research and development dollars into rural, poor, Black, and brown communities. Lawmakers could also strengthen intellectual property protections for creators and data transparency regulations for big tech companies.
“We believe that data is the civil rights battle of the future,” French said.
Another consideration for the future is how to ensure more opportunities for Black women to establish and sustain themselves as power brokers like French.
“I am a person who didn’t grow up in the political scene. I didn’t go to Ivy League schools. I’m still very much on the ground,” she said. “But I want to open up pathways and open up access and to show that it is possible for another young Black girl or young Black kid for you to be rooted where you are, but to still have a global impact. You don't have to leave and go someplace else to do so.”
👋🏾 HI, HEY, HELLO! Good Friday morning. It’s August 25, 2023. Thank you for reading Supercreator Daily, your guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org. PROGRAMMING NOTE: Supercreator Daily will not publish from Aug. 28 to Sep. 4. The newsletter will return to your inbox on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
THE MUGSHOT SEEN AROUND THE WORLD
Former President DONALD TRUMP turned himself in Thursday at the Fulton County jail in Georgia on 13 charges in connection with his efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 election results and unlawfully remain in power. It’s the fourth time Trump, who had until Friday at noon to surrender to authorities and was booked as inmate No. P01135809, has gone through this process—but who’s counting? What made this surrender unique is that it was memorialized with a mugshot, representing the first time in US history that a former president had a booking photo taken and released. The former president posted the photo on his campaign website with a fundraising pitch.
DEMS TO BIDEN: HURRY UP WITH THE STUDENT DEBT CANCELATION
President Biden received a letter from a contingent of congressional Democrats urging the administration to move fast to help borrowers avoid delinquency and default on their student loans. Specifically, nearly 90 lawmakers asked the president to ensure the implementation of the proposed rule to cancel targeted student debt after the Supreme Court overturned his original plan comes before the end of the 12-month on-ramp to protect borrowers from dings to their credit score for late, missed, or partial payments. ICYMI: Earlier this week, the White House announced the full launch of the SAVE plan, an income-driven repayment program. The Education Department says it will bring many borrowers’ payments to $0 per month and prevent borrowers from seeing their payments grow as long as they keep up with their required payments.
McCONNELL CONCEDES FARM BILL WILL BE LATE
Senate Minority Leader MITCH McCONNELL (R-Ky.) told the Kentucky Farm Bureau on Thursday that Congress will miss the Sept. 30 deadline to pass the farm bill, the primary food and agriculture act that prevents critical programs like nutrition assistance from expiring. All you need to do is look at the calendar to see why McConnell’s admission is unsurprising: The Senate won’t return to Washington until Sept. 5—followed by the House a week later—and priority number one will be to pass a short-term bill to keep the government open beyond the end of September while lawmakers look to fund the government for next year. FWIW, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair DEBBIE STABENOW (D-Mich.) has set a December deadline to pass a farm bill, which isn’t unprecedented.
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All times Eastern
12 p.m. The SENATE will meet in a pro forma session.
2 p.m. Vice President Harris and Second Gentleman DOUG EMHOFF will welcome the Las Vegas Aces to the White House to celebrate their 2022 WNBA championship. The HOUSE will meet in a pro forma session.
President Biden is in Lake Tahoe, Nevada and has no public events scheduled.
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