NEW ORLEANS — In the special report WGNO Forward: Race in Our City, WGNO’s Tamica Lee and LBJ explore race and racism in our city, asking the experts where we are, how we got here, and what we can realistically do to make it better.
In Part 1, LBJ interviews Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League and former mayor of New Orleans. Morial says the combination of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown has hurt African American businesses hard.
“This is painful. This is a crisis unlike any our generation has see,” says Morial. “A crisis of public health. A crisis of the economy. A crisis of racial justice.”
Morial says Black businesses tend to be small businesses, which haven’t gotten enough government assistance.
“The COVID relief bill, the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) provision was only designed to fill the hole for the payroll of these small businesses, not your inventory, not your rent, not the other expenses of operation,” he says.
In Part 2, Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, the athletic director at Dillard University, shares with Tamica some of the lessons she learned climbing up the leadership ladder as a Black woman. Barnes says there is power in authenticity.
“I am very good at the work I do,” says Barnes. “I believe that helped me in the room. But, I wasn’t totally, fully myself, though. There is more to me than just the knowledge I have.”
She also says historically Black colleges and universities like Dillard sometimes have a harder time when it comes to fundraising.
“One of the toughest challenges is getting in the room, developing the key relationships that will help us to get those resources,” says Barnes.
In Part 3, Loyola University law professor Davida Finger warns LBJ of the coming eviction crisis, which will affect Black families.
“This is a paramount racial justice issue,” says Finger. “We know from the dataset we’ve compiled over the last three years that there is a race discrimination component to the way evictions happen, and, that our Black neighborhoods are disproportionately faced with higher eviction rates.”
In Part 4, Tamica interviews former New Orleans Saints player Benjamin Watson about the role of faith in protest.
“Black lives matter. They haven’t mattered. That’s why we have to say Black lives matter because they haven’t mattered historically throughout the history of this country,” says Watson. “Now, they may have mattered to individuals. But, when you talk about systems, they haven’t mattered.”
You can this full episode and all espisodes of WGNO Forward: Race in Our City on WGNO and WGNO.com.