Since the beginning of 2020, and over the last 15 months in particular, the nation has experienced both extraordinarily pain, and extraordinarily transformation, all in the same breath.
To be specific, 2020 brought the worse health pandemic since the Spanish Flu, the worst economic crisis of unemployment since the Great Depression, a 400 year old social justice reckoning of Black America, and a fundamental challenge to our very Democrat year itself, on January 6th, 2021. But this time, it was not the British attacking our Capitol, circa 1812, but Americans, attacking Americans, in 2021.
And then — there was the very public lynching of George Floyd. In America.
But not all news, was bad news. In the midst of all of this pain, we also witnessed ‘rainbows after storms.’ Or to say it differently, you cannot have a rainbow without having a storm first. At a certain point, we also witnessed a glimpse of social justice. And hopefully, the dawning of a decade of sustained, systemic change. I often call it a 3rd Reconstruction. A modern time, for change.
Dr. George French, president of Clark Atlanta University, has raised $100 million to advance the higher education of the underserved, and leads today the first HBCU chartered to provide advanced degrees to Blacks in the entire American South, in 1865. The first HBCU to admit black women, and to build a women’s dormitory.
On October 20th, 2021, Shopify committed $130 million to Operation HOPE to create 1 million new black businesses in America over the next 10 years. We call it today 1MBB, and this week we just also announced our partnership with Dr. French and Clark Atlanta University to advance 1MBB. Our mission is social justice through an economic lens. Our mission, is financial inclusion, and economic empowerment for all.
This week, my friend Van Jones learned that entrepreneur Jeff Bezos committed $100 million to support his philanthropic efforts, focused (as I understand them) around criminal justice reform and environmental sustainability. Brother Van will do wonders with these resources, and change the game for millions. Just watch. 👏🏽
Let’s all go now, and figure out how we can help to change our part of this ever changing world.
To become the change, that we want to see in our word.
John Hope Bryant, Entrepreneur and true believer.