Baltimore Should Support Black Entrepreneurs to Curb Violence

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Rawlings-Blake
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, video still via nextcity.org

In response to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s call during her State of the City speech for black men to take greater personal responsibility for curbing “black-on-black crime,” community activist Ralph Moore told the Baltimore Sun that violence could be solved by simply having “enough quality job training and quality education and enough jobs that pay decent wages.” According to a new study, he may be on to something.

Noting that the general public doesn’t “really take into account all that African Americans are doing in their communities to better [them],” sociologist Karen F. Parker identified a link between an increase in black-owned businesses and a decrease in “black youth violence” between 1990 and 2000, a link she says is “more than a correlation.”

Parker figures that these entrepreneurs provide role models for youth and build community ties in addition to providing economic opportunities, which inherently decreases crime.

What’s so great about this finding is that Rawlings-Blake has already declared the her intention to make the city more friendly to small businesses. With a greater focus on support specifically for black entrepreneurs (who have a more difficult time getting small business loans) she may be able to achieve two goals at once.

(By the way, CityLab‘s reporting on the study actually called out Rawlings-Blake by name, so I guess her call to action has really been making the rounds.)



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