Every Thursday, 100 Black Men of Chicago hosts live town hall meetings to help its community understand different topics related to COVID-19. Last Thursday, 5/21/2020, great information was shared by notable figures: Carl Tutt Chairman – 100 BMC Partner, Green Technologies, LLC, Juan Thomas, JD Founder – Thomas Law Group, Darryl Arrington Assistant VP DePaul University, Michael Frerichs Illinois State Treasurer. While Facebook was brought in a little late on the conversation and had technical difficulties, we were still able to catch some great information.
Daryl Arrington addressed the concerns of many with the reopening of colleges and Universities and how to address specific criteria. “We are looking into how to deal with state regulations and how to keep the students safe. Schools will do a variety of online learning and be open, but this pandemic is changing how we are doing things”.
Michael Frerichs goes into great detail about how the treasures office is helping small business and why they are helping small businesses.
“The best investments we can make is in Illinois small businesses because 1) we make money and 2) if we help keep people employed and help these businesses grow, that means more tax dollars coming into the state and lower unemployment.”
Frerichs also tells us a problem with the PPP program and why many small businesses weren’t allowed to participate. Frerichs says, “All the money went to the big banks, and those banks wanted to work with their established customers, most of whom are the big businesses. The banks are just getting a fee based on the number of dollars loaned out, so they felt it was better to have a few companies with large amounts of loans rather than small companies with smaller loans.”
He says the treasures office took an opposite approach. Carl Tutt discusses the importance of the 2020 census and how communities have to stop looking at the short term for finances.
Tutt says, “While the stimulus check is ok short term, there is a long term financial issue which is the census. There are dollars out there that we can get over this next decade if we make sure that we go and sign up and do the 2020 census. Lets not just think short term lets make sure we have what we need not just for this year but the next ten years”.
Tutt also talks about the digital divide in the community and how it will help cut down on violence, especially since summertime is here. “We have to make sure the digital divide is not widened. We have to make sure that every household has internet access and that every child in that household has some digital device so that they can stay competitive and learn and grow. Violence down and Mask up is doing this right now. By making sure the digital divide is not widened, violence in our communities will be reduced.”
The next 100 Black Men Virtual Town Hall Meeting is on 06/04/2020 at 8 pm. All of the meetings will also be posted soon on 100BMC.org.
Christa Carter-Williams is a lifestyle writer living in Chicago. Find her on social media @thewilliamsparty.