Regional Banks Sought to Invest in America’s Future
By Stephanie and Eric Stradford
AMWS, March 27, 2012, Atlanta -- Banks and credit unions in the Atlanta Federal Reserve Region are getting a closer look at some causes and effects behind the murder of Trayvon Martin. They are being asked to join forces on community reinvestment that adds value to historically disadvantaged Americans.
President Barack Obama has called on the nation to do some soul searching. “…And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together -- federal, state and local -- to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.” Rapidly increasing support, sparked by a statement from the Florida Council of Churches, points to actions and attitudes that tend to undervalue some American children.
A “thorough investigation” of “every aspect” is likely to be a painful but necessary process. Such an investigation might have begun by arresting the alleged gunman. According to George Zimmerman, he shot Trayvon Martin in self-defense during his neighborhood watch duty. It might be looking into an alleged cover-up by the Sanford Police Department, uncharacteristic outrage from the faith community, the resulting “temporary resignation” of Police Chief Bill Lee, Jr., and the self-extraction of Seminole County State Attorney, Norman R. Wolfinger. But, a thorough investigation to include “soul searching” calls for increased interest by church as well as state.
George Zimmerman perceived Trayvon Martin to be a threat to his neighborhood, his physical or economic security. A transparent “thorough investigation” of “every aspect” means examining Zimmerman’s perception of the victim as a fully endowed citizen of the United States of America – a celebrant of all rights and responsibilities.
Is an African American youth endowed with the inalienable right to walk or run to the store for Skittles and iced tea? Does that right protect him and others like him if he is wearing a hood? Zimmerman’s perception of reality, whether it was isolated or inherent, offers some insight for scoping a “thorough investigation” of “every aspect.”
In 21st Century America, the reality of a “thorough investigation” of “every aspect” means assessing a value, funding budgets, and a putting enough money behind the rhetoric of American justice to get to the truth. The authority for such an investigation is vested in the president. However, the responsibility for “soul searching” is shared by every citizen of the United States.
ChurchUniversal.us is a regional Capacity Building Initiative which seeks to add value to all American children, without discrimination. Healthy eating is as good a start as any in getting America on track. As civil rights advocates call for America to do something, ChurchUniversal.us, a collaboration of church and state, must assess its needs and means, to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.” Banks and financial institutions are being asked to demonstrate support through their obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act.
Political candidates for national office are likewise being asked for an inclusive vision statement on America’s Future. The potential for America working together is likely to be measured by corporate, community and government investments to economically secure America’s future.
The ChurchUniversal.us Capacity Building Initiative expands technical assistance and training opportunities and significantly boosts the ability of trust-worthy Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to deliver financial products and services to underserved communities.
Local Community Asset Mapping, conducted by Youth Achievers USA Institute, seeks financial, faith-based, corporate, government and community partners to identify needs and means for a sustained Economic Security Demonstration.
The White House is being asked to provide leadership for pulling everybody together -- federal, state and local -- to “figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.” No political campaign for national office can ignore an issue sitting so heavy on America’s heart. Healing America requires substantive engagement by All Americans. Efforts to occupy Wall Street, reduce the National Debt, run for president, or restore trust must address issues on Your Street, USA even if you live, learn, work or worship in “Across-the-Tracks, USA.”
The national investigation into Trayvon Martin’s murder should include “federal investments of interest” such as Amtrak in Sanford. Who is impacted when the train tracks divide a community? What about the abandoned and boarded-up Youth Build housing project divided by Amtrak’s tracks? How much did or will Americans invest in economic programs for youth in Sanford? What is the strategy for historically underutilized business zones (HUBZONEs) such as the one at the center of this national demonstration? How much of U.S. federal investment targeted for underserved Americans is sustaining Disney World in nearby Orlando? What about the new Amway Arena, home for the NBA’s Orlando Magic? What happens to the “hoodie” whose temporal economy can’t afford admission?
If Trayvon Martin’s life and others who look like them are to be valued as Americans, “One Nation Under God” will need to look beyond the call for soul searching and start PAYING ATTENTION to America under the hoodies’ hood.