Earlier this week first daughter Ivanka Trump paid a visit to the Raymond V. Haysbert Center for Entrepreneurship at the Greater Baltimore Urban League. Some may wonder what this organization does and why they should care. In truth, Ms. Trump’s visit serves as a bold, positive symbol for those living under the weight of inner city poverty and may indeed be part and parcel of a major shift within that community.
Ivanka Trump participated in a roundtable discussion on minority business ownership at the behest of Marc Morial, the President of the National Urban League. The Raymond V. Haysbert Center for Entrepreneurship is an organization that focuses on helping black business owners achieve greater success. According to their website,
The Haysbert Center will offer a range of programs geared to the varying needs of the entrepreneurs we hope to serve, regardless of where or how they start or have started their enterprise. From workshops and seminars to one-on-one counseling and mentoring, The Haysbert Center will support all levels of interest.
The purpose of the roundtable discussion was to show Ivanka Trump how the federally-supported organization helps minority businesses and the communities it serves. During the panel discussion, several minority business owners shared stories of struggles they overcame to become successful entrepreneurs.
According to the President of the Urban Leauge, Ivanka Trump was receptive to his ideas, “I feel like Ivanka listened very intently and asked some very intelligent questions.” Mr. Morial also said Ivanka was interested in knowing which programs could be “implemented on a larger scale.”
The Urban Leauge and Morial in particular previously have been critical of the Trump administration. Nevertheless, the top man at the U.L. said he is willing to work with the government on areas of common interest. Both on the campaign trail and as President, Trump expressed his commitment to making it easier for small and large minority-owned businesses to achieve growth.
Ivanka Trump’s visit to Baltimore is a positive sign to those in the black community who want to own and grow their businesses. If the Trump administration supports more organizations like the Haysbert Center, it could certainly have a powerful influence on the black community. Instead of pushing policies that are intended to keep black Americans dependent on the government, these types of organizations focus on helping black Americans achieve their own success.
Creating more black-owned businesses will help black Americans overcome the challenges that have plagued the black community for decades. Beyond the economic benefits, minority-owned businesses in the black community have been shown to decrease inner-city youth violence.
In an article written for Citylab, Tanvi Misra provides evidence of this from a study performed by sociologist Karen F. Parker. Misra writes:
In her study, Parker used Census data to track the growth of black-owned businesses in more than 100 large U.S. cities between 1990 and 2000—a decade when the national crime rate dropped. She then isolated the impact of black business ownership on the rate of youth violence by controlling for other, other factors like employment levels, and poverty rates. Her careful analysis found that as the number of black-owned businesses rose, local black youth violence declined over the decade.
There are several reasons for this. Misra also points out:
Parker offers two explanations for these findings. One is that black-owned businesses act as “social buffers”: their owners serve as role models to young people and create social networks that shield and divert youth people from a life of crime. Another reason is that black businesses mitigate some of the economic factors that contribute to youth violence in these communities. They add jobs, provide employment opportunities, and generally improve the neighborhood.
Under nearly a half-century of Democratic rule, inner cities have suffered horribly with high crime rates primarily caused by even higher unemployment. These people have been cruelly broken by a nearly constant message of victimhood that causes them to believe they are unable to succeed and prosper. These relentless negative messages serve to tamp down any feeling of empowerment as well as dampen entrepreneurial spirit. Ultimately, all these policies have accomplished is to keep inner-city black folks reliant on governmental “generosity” – essentially becoming slaves of the system. As a result, people continue to live in poverty and cities like Chicago are perpetually affected by soaring crime rates and violence.
Ms. Trump’s visit to the Haysbert Center sends a powerful – and long overdue – message that black Americans and other minorities can become productive members of American society and dream the dream of achievement and fortune. And that would mean real progress.
In the final analysis, Ivanka Trump’s visit is a step in the right direction and displays a sincere concern for those strangled by poverty rather than just Democratic lip service. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of government action rather than words. Thus far, it does seem the Trump administration is walking the walk with support of organizations like the Raymond V. Haysbert Center for Entrepreneurship.
A self-confessed news and political junkie, Jeff’s writing has been featured in Small Business Trends, Business2Community, and The Huffington Post. Born in Southern California and having experienced the 1992 L.A. Riots up close and personal, Jeff's insights are informed by his experiences as a black man and a conservative.