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Recently, accessing economic profit has been difficult for the Black community, especially Black owned businesses. In a NPR podcast addressing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black Americans, it was found that “overall, about 38% of small business owners who applied for government aid reported receiving it, only 12% of Black and Latino owned businesses reported getting the aid they asked for.”

While the COVID-19 Pandemic has largely affected Black communities and subsequently Black businesses, the conversation has also taken a slight shift in recent weeks following the national outcry against systemic racism and violence against Black Communities. Some Black female entrepreneurs have conflicting thoughts on the matter though. Christina Blacken — founder and creator of The New Quo — reflected on this shift, emphasising that while positive, “‘Supporting us means seeing us as equals and experts and not assuming our skills, services, and creations are less than, which has been the common narrative when discussing supporting Black ideas, creativity, and business.’”

It’s not about helping just to help, it’s about listening to Black stories and “doing the work it takes to establish this value as a given, so that Black business owners can have equal access to resources and networks that help their companies to flourish.” Some Black female entrepreneurs have shared their story and insight, and offer advice about how to potentially change the game. Alexandria Carroll, founder and CEO of License to Drift, and professional travel agency, discusses childhood experiences that have shaped her entrepreneurial mindset. Her experience with ignorant Americans and elsewhere highlighted the need she saw in cross cultural exchange and experience, leading to the development of License to Drift.

These women also acknowledge the economic access they are lacking because they are Black. Wadeeha Jackson, managing Partner at Cowry Crypt Asset Management LLC,  states that a growing problem in recent years is that, “statistically, Black entrepreneurs represent 1% of covered venture-backed capital,” obviously leading to discriminatory lending practices. COVID-19 has only exacerbated this already huge problem.

Economic barriers are a significant challenge for many who already feel that finances are overwhelming, and these barriers in turn can create additional challenges, often related to health. Low-income households, especially people that live and work in areas where there is a lack of employment or educational resources, often experience a lack of access to healthy lifestyle options.

Some solutions to these financial disparities present are: introducing financial education as a model in non-profit organizations towards building investment capital, developing a business and innovative strategy towards achieving the aims and objectives of the organizations, using capacity building as a strategy for growth, and adopting a competitive strategy that involves a mix of uniqueness, value and impact.

Lisa Price the owner of Carol’s Daughter, built her multimillion-dollar hair and skincare product line, out of nothing. She got there in part by refusing to strive for impossible perfection, and instead embracing the good times and bad. “We think we have to be perfect. We think we have to get it all done — but we don’t,” she says.

Amber Williams, founder Punkyflair, launched her branding consultancy with the idea that stories, not sales pitches, are the best way to reach customers. Her strategies have helped other people of color find voices for their brands — and embrace their true selves. She encourages Black women entrepreneurs in particular to authentically include themselves in their businesses’ narratives.

Rita Robert Otu, founder of Beau Haven Farms is helping rural women grow and sell vitamin A-rich cassava. “Our goal is to encourage and support a new generation of entrepreneurial farmers,” she says. By teaching women these skills, she provides a way for them to support themselves and their families.

Lovern Gordon, former pageant winner, launched Love Life Now to unite communities against domestic violence and break down the isolation that survivors like her have experienced. She also raises money to help survivors start their lives anew.



As our nation works to address the current and future costs of the COVID‐19 pandemic on the broader society, data shows that Communities of Color have been disproportionally impacted with: higher contraction and death rates; significant economic hardship and an increased vulnerability to domestic violence and sexual assault. Disparities in the incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault within Communities of Color existed prior to the emergence of COVID‐19. However, the current pandemic intensifies those disparities given that Women of Color often have a higher vulnerability to incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault during times of economic uncertainty. This alarming reality underscores the need for community-based culturally specific Communities of Color organizations to be a critical part of the short and long‐term response to the COVID public health and economic crisis.

To view this fact sheet, click here.

Following the emergence of COVID-19 in the United States, the pandemic has spread across the nation with devastating and life-altering effects. The human toll -psychologically, physically, and financially necessitates a response matching the gravity of this global public health crisis. While states and localities have sought to mitigate the impact of this pandemic, it is important to address the risks and barriers facing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The heightened risks, increased barriers of reporting to law enforcement, and increased calls to culturally specific community-based programs underscores the unique challenges faced by domestic violence and sexual assault survivors from Communities of Color, who are often marginalized in systemic and service responses.

As the nation races to address the current and future costs of this pandemic, recent data shows that Communities of Color have been disparately impacted. According to the latest research by APM Research Lab, COVID-19 related deaths in the Black community are more than double that of other racial/ethnic groups. In Louisiana, African Americans accounted for 70% of COVID-19 deaths, while comprising 33% of the population. In Michigan, they accounted for 40% of deaths even though they are 14% of the population. In Iowa, Latinos accounted for 17% of COVID confirmed cases, while comprising only 6% of the population. In Alabama, the Asian community accounted for 4% of deaths compared to being 1% of the population. *The response to our communities has been especially inadequate. Higher infection and mortality rates in Communities of Color are indicative of long-term systemic inequities, including access to healthcare, wealth and wage gaps, the digital divide, lack of language access, housing disparities, and food deserts, among other things.

Despite some funding for sexual assault and domestic violence programs, there is a dearth of funding for under-resourced culturally specific programs that are a lifeline for survivors in their communities. Funding for Communities of Color was nominal before COVID-19, and is very insufficient now for a short and long-term response to the public health and economic crisis at the intersection with domestic violence and sexual assault. These organizations provide more holistic services; provide critical language access for survivors who are limited English proficient; assist survivors who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID as essential workers and also at higher risk of unemployment; provide food; and increase access to other life-saving resources. These organizations are having to do this with limited access to resources at a time of greater demand.

In order to truly address the impact of COVID-19 on ALL domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, there must be funding directed to culturally specific organizations that are developed by and for our communities. Communities of Color must lead the response in our own communities. Our nation cannot maintain the status quo that has marginalized the voices of those who are at the greatest risk; our collective health and long-term well-being depends on it.


To view and print this document in its entirety, click here.

*Note reference below


  1. Hlvinka, E. “COVID-19 Killing African Americans at Shocking Rates.” Wildly disproportionate mortality highlights need to address longstanding inequities. May, 2020, https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/86266; See also www.covidtracking.com/race.

The National Resource Center for Reaching Victims conducted a series of listening sessions to unearth the impact the COVID-19 health crisis is having on underserved victims of crime and better resource the crime victim services field to respond to those needs. This brief summarizes the issues and strategies that emerged from listening sessions on girls and women of color survivors.

Click here for more information.

Widespread school closures have thrown a wrench in the gears of education this year, but kids can still have fun learning thanks to a number of free online resources… even if it’s from their own homes.

FinanceBuzz is a great site to find a list of resources for online learning materials. To check out these resources and for more information about FinanceBuzz, visit www.financebuzz.com.

Colleges and universities across the United States and around the world are scrambling to keep their students, faculty, and staff healthy, safe, and educated during the COVID-19 pandemic. As experts on the daily crises that derail #RealCollege students and prevent them from completing their degrees our team at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice offers the following considerations and resources to support your work.

For more information about The Hope Project and their COVID-19 resources, click here.

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, colleges and universities have closed their campuses, told students to return home, and moved to online instruction. These necessary actions may force HBCU students to drop out, due to financial hardship and lack of access to the required technology. Over 72% of HBCU students are Pell Grant eligible (family income less than $20,000 per year), and 43% rely on jobs to cover basic living expenses. HBCUs themselves do not have the infrastructure to support students, deliver online coursework, retain today’s students and ensure that next year’s students enroll. To support HBCUs and their students, TMCF created its TMCF’s COVID-19 HBCU Emergency Fund, which will cover HBCU student short-term costs due to the COVID-19 school closures, and provide HBCU medium and long-term financial support.

Read more at www.tmcf.org.

National Geographic Kids is offering some great resources for learning at home. To view these resources and learn more about National Geographic Kids, visit www.kids.nationalgeographic.com.

About National Geographic

National Geographic has been igniting the explorer in all of us for 132 years through groundbreaking storytelling from the best and brightest scientists, explorers, photographers, and filmmakers in the world. Our yellow border serves as a portal to explore the farthest reaches of the Earth and beyond. Places only National Geographic can take you.

The Smithsonian is committed to supporting teachers and their students around the globe as they face unprecedented new learning challenges. Here, on the Learning Lab, teachers have access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, research centers, libraries, archives, and more. You will also find pre-packaged collections that contain lessons, activities, and recommended resources made by Smithsonian museum educators as well as thousands of classroom teachers like you. Use the search bar below to search for Smithsonian Learning Lab Collections.

For more information, visit www.learninglab.si.edu/distancelearning.


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

As we learn about COVID-19 resources and services available, we will be sharing them here.