Search

National Spotlight to Shine on AACUC in Black Wall Street Virtual Storefront

The New York Times initiative in partnership with MassMutual remembers the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.


Credit Union Times

The African American Credit Union Coalition will shine in the national spotlight on May 25 when The New York Times in partnership with MassMutual will feature a Black Wall Street virtual storefront as part of its remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Race Massacre in 1921.

Kevin Paasch, a long-time supporter of the AACUC in Snellville, Ga., nominated the industry organization for The New York Times-MassMutual initiative that will raise awareness of the importance of social and economic equity and to promote the importance of supporting small business, including Black-owned companies.

“The only conference I go to every year still is the AACUC because I believe in what you’re doing to help other African-American young people, and older people and low-income communities to learn about money and become financially independent,” Paasch said during a Zoom meeting Thursday that announced AACUC will be highlighted in the national newspaper. “The way I can give back is being able to give back to an organization that gives back to the community. And I know AACUC is following the same mantra of being that one organization, helping thousands for the benefit of millions.”

Paasch is president of Member Wealth Management and general agent for MassMutual Life Insurance office in Virginia Beach, Va.

The 100 businesses, including the AACUC, that will be featured on a Black Wall Street virtual storefront will be posted on a New York Times landing page on Tuesday. Additionally, the newspaper will feature these businesses in targeted ads throughout the year to keep the initiative’s messages front-of-mind, Paasch said.

The Tulsa Race Massacre occurred over 18 hours on May 31 and June 1, 1921. According to History.com, the tragic event was triggered after a Black teenager was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a white woman in an office building. During that time, the nation was experiencing racial tensions, including the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings and other racial violence. Simultaneously, African-Americans organized to prevent these attacks in their communities.

As rumors flew about the Black teenager’s attack, an angry white mob clashed with Black men who were outnumbered and retreated to the Greenwood neighborhood that was also named Black Wall Street because it was one of the most prosperous communities in the country, according to History.com.

In addition to the thousands of Black-owned homes and hundreds of Blacked-owned businesses that were damaged or destroyed by fire, a 2001 Race Riot Commission concluded that 100 to 300 people were killed and more than 8,000 people were made homeless.

“In a time when our industry and the nation is seemingly laser focused on promoting diversity, equity and inclusion, it is critically important that we recognize the historical Tulsa Race Massacre,” AACUC President/CEO Renee Sattiewhite said. “We ought to pause and consider how this has detrimentally impacted the African-American community and, furthermore, do all that we can to ensure this never happens again by creating equitable opportunities for minorities to flourish and thrive.”

Last summer during the nationwide demonstrations calling for racial and social justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, the AACUC led an initiative named “Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism,” which is being supported by many credit unions, state leagues/associations, national trade organizations and vendors from around the nation to advance diversity, equity and inclusion programs throughout the industry.

“We are honored to be highlighted alongside thriving Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs that are proven valuable partners in a time when our world needs them the most,” Sattiewhite said. “Thank you to our friends at MassMutual for considering us for this opportunity.”


Published article available here.