When it comes to wealth, Black Americans have always gotten the short end of the stick.
In part, a lot of this is due to the lack of financial literacy which comes from a deep history of racism that has held our community back for centuries.
“It is the most important issue facing Black Americans. Period,” said Kevin Cohee, Owner, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of OneUnited Bank.
In an interview with AfroTech, he told us the role that the largest Black-owned bank in America plays when it comes to not only teaching the importance of financial literacy but providing the community with the tools and resources needed to survive and thrive in a place where the playing field has been everything except level.
“It’s fairly understandable how we got into this situation,” continued Cohee. “We were slaves, then we weren’t but we were given no education, we were given no money, no compensation, and we were denied the opportunity to do things like for example, live in neighborhoods where houses were increasing in value.”
He said this is one of the main reasons white American families have been able to sustain a net worth of almost 10-times more than the Black American family.
“It’s not about them being smarter or more clever or working hard,” said Cohee. “It’s about having access to capital which is where the banks come in.”
OneUnited Bank was created through the unification of several community banks across the country.
Following the aftermath of protests against police brutality in 2016, Cohee created the Bank Black movement which resulted in Black people transferring tens of millions of dollars into Black-owned banks as a form of social protest.
“We’ve finally got a bank that is big enough and has the technology to effect change on a national basis, that’s what we do,” shared Cohee.
Now, the bank is on a mission to further its goal of closing the racial wealth gap with OneTransaction — a campaign and conference that is set to be held this year on Juneteenth.
View this post on Instagram
“We have a unique opportunity as a people to finally be organized,” he continued. “The internet is this unique tool that has organized us for the first time ever.”
“We’re both organized and mechanized and what I mean by that is that we actually have the tools to force social change,” shared Cohee.
The free event is co-sponsored by Visa and thus far over 18,000 people have registered to hear from All-Star Presenters like Tiffany Haddish, Daymond John, Chris Browning, and more!
For more information on OneTransaction and how to secure your spot to attend, click here.