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Black Empowerment Network to focus on promoting economic mobility in minority communities

Algenon Cash speaks during the Black Empowerment Network’s launch event held last month at J&S Cafeteria.

Black Empowerment Network to focus on promoting economic mobility in minority communities
March 10
15:51 2021

Winston-Salem native Algenon Cash has launched a new initiative geared toward educating Black communities and families on public policies that promote economic mobility.

Cash, who is an investment banker with Wharton Gladden, said he started the Black Empowerment Network (BEN) after having a conversation with former U.S. Congressman Mark Walker, following the murder of George Floyd. Cash said Walker reached out and asked if there were any policies he would recommend to address some of the disparities in the Black community.

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to suggest or recommend to him,” Cash continued. “I tend to be more of a centrist in terms of how I think about policymaking and there’s not a lot of centrist research policy groups that are out here. So we just kept talking over the summer and eventually we came up with the idea for the Black Empowerment Network.”

According to Cash, BEN has already identified several areas that are most impacting to the Black and other minority communities, including police reform, home ownership, entrepreneurship, and health care, just to name a few. He said although BEN will be doing some research, the network will be more about action.

“We want to research those areas, but we also don’t want to get too bogged down with just researching it because I feel like we’ve done a lot, that we know what the issues are, we know what the ideas are, we just need to put some of the solutions into action and actually do something about it. We want to build a network where we can act on these issues,” Cash said.

Although Cash is a Republican, BEN will be a bi-partisan effort. The initiative has already gained support from former Winston-Salem City Councilman and State Representative Derwin Montgomery, a well-known Democrat, and Rev. Odell Cleveland, who will both serve on the BEN Leadership Committee. 

“Quite frankly, I don’t think the Republicans or the Democrats have a monopoly on good ideas, so we believe we need to be diverse on how we approach these things, so I wanted to build a diverse leadership committee,” said Cash while discussing BEN leadership.

“I wanted it to be diverse across the state, so hopefully by bringing us together, the best ideas will bubble to the top.”

During the launch event for the Black Empowerment Network held last month at J&S Cafeteria in High Point, the keynote address was delivered by Clarence Henderson. Henderson, who also serves on the BEN Leadership Committee, participated in the Greensboro sit-in movement that led to the integration of lunch counters across the South in 1960. He said in any situation, you have to have a strategy, and moving forward, the Black community has to find a strategy for economic mobility.

“The next civil rights movement is economic empowerment for the Black community and you have to understand how that works,” Henderson continued. “It’s understanding the free market and capitalist system which doesn’t care who owns it.”

For more information, visit the Black Empowerment Network Facebook page or contact Algenon Cash at acash@nullwhartongladden.com.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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