shifted its focus from social services to economic development recently presented The Futures Study – one of, if not the most comprehensive research papers on Black business in the city. The 41-page document addresses a broad range of conditions and areas

It is a blueprint to improve every aspect of doing business – locally and globally – as Black folk. The report puts social conditions, government and incarceration under the microscope and details how each negatively impacts our community. Judging from the near-overflow audience that attended CUL’s annual report luncheon Feb. 15, business owners of every ilk are more than slightly interested in the study.

CUL is touting how to bring about improvements in the general workplace as well as on the entrepreneurial front. While Black Chicago is not lacking either, far too many opportunities are eluding our business community and stymying our abilities to grow physically and financially.

The push for more equitable funding between urban and suburban school districts is one that has been called for countless times before, not just in Chicago, but in urban districts throughout the country. CUL’s leadership is not timid or unrealistic about taking on gargantuan challenges.

Only time will tell if the challenges are larger than the league. Interestingly, CUL takes on these tasks without assigning us – everyday Black folk – any duties. An obvious assignment we need to take on ourselves it to work to ensure that the Black dollar turns over – exchanges hands – in the Black community as many times as possible.

Keeping money in our community builds a stronger financial community. A site that is all too common is Black groups or large families gathering and spending hundreds of dollars in white-owned restaurants in suburbia or on the fringes of the city. What we’re doing is fueling the growth of those establishments at the expense of Black-owned ones.

It’s simply not right to complain about the lack of growth among some of our businesses when we don’t support them financially. The Chicago Urban League will do the heavy lifting toward improvements in our community’s education and business arenas. We have already witnessed that through some of the non-traditional partners it has assembled.

But the league’s work and the better of our communities will be facilitated if we take an active role as something other spectators.

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