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What We Are Listening To: THE HEIST

Meet the Black Iowan who is trying to open the only Black-owned bank in Iowa.

ReShonda Young Photo from The Heist
ReShonda Young Photo from The Heist

In the history of West Virginia we know of no Black owned banks. We hope that can change. BBG is on a mission to educate our communities on the history of income inequalities and connect them to financial services and financial literacy programs.

BBG recently published a timeline of economic disadvantages called “Timeline of the whole US History” by Eve Faulks illustrating how white families have eight times the median net worth of Black families even in poverty stricken West Virginia. The unequal way wealth passes from one generation to the next, with whites nearly three times more likely than Blacks to receive an inheritance should be a concern to the whole of the country.

We are excited to share resources and a powerful podcast we are listening to called “The Heist.” The Heist explores the wealth gap and one woman’s quest to open the first Black-owned bank in decades!

ReShonda Young, who in a still-segregated city where economic barriers often strangle Black ambition, is on a mission to tackle a tenacious consequence of American discrimination. She is trying to open the only Black-owned bank in Iowa — potentially the first in more than 20 years to launch anywhere in the country.

Here’s the thing: To open a bank, you need to raise a lot of money. And if you’re aiming for majority Black ownership, the wealth gap will fight back every step of the way.

Meet ReShonda Young on season 2 of “The Heist,” an Ambie Award-winning podcast from the Center for Public Integrity and Transmitter Media, confronts a centuries-long heist: the enormous wealth gap between Black and white Americans, and how a tenacious and entrepreneurial woman is fighting back using the tools of the banking systems that helped perpetuate it.

Editor Jamie Smith Hopkins spent more than a year reporting on ReShonda’s journey, digging into the systems and circumstances in Waterloo — and the rest of the country — that contribute to vast inequality in the accumulation of wealth and access to capital. Note: Iowa's Black Population is 4.1% with 129,335 (2019) West Virginia’s 3.69% with 65,925 (2019)

Listen and Learn with “The Heist”

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