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Racism and the Economy: Focus on the Wealth Divide

October 20, 2021
12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET | 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CT
Virtual video event presented by all 12 District Banks of the Federal Reserve System

Racism and the Economy: Focus on the Wealth Divide

The ninth installment of our virtual event series focuses on how racialized barriers to wealth accumulation deny families and communities long-term economic mobility and financial resiliency. Wealth is usually defined as the value of one’s assets minus debt, and it serves as a critical component of economic opportunity in the United States. Opening speakers will examine past and present structures and institutions that contribute to persistent wealth disparities. A panel of practitioners, scholars, and community leaders will propose and discuss bold strategies to finally reverse these trends. The Federal Reserve has long studied wealth disparities because equal access to wealth is so important to achieving full employment and an inclusive economy.

Speakers:

  • Seema Agnani, Executive Director, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
  • Mehrsa Baradaran, Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine, School of Law
  • Raphael Bostic, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Dorothy Brown, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University
  • James Bullard, President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • William Darity Jr., Samuel DuBois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Duke University
  • Dãnia Davy, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy, Federation of Southern Cooperatives
  • Phil English, Co-chairman, Government Affairs Practice, Arent Fox
  • Nia Evans, Executive Director, Boston Ujima Project
  • Matthew Fletcher, Foundation Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University
  • Rodney Foxworth, CEO, Common Future
  • Neel Kashkari, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
  • Reema Khrais, Senior Reporter, Marketplace
  • Kirsten Mullen, Writer, Folklorist, and Arts Consultant
  • Noel Poyo, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Economic Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Anne Price, President, Insight Center for Community Economic Development
  • Thomas Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, Brandeis University
  • James Vamboi, Boston Ujima Project
  • April Youpee-Roll, Litigation Associate, Munger, Tolles & Olson

Event Details

12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET | 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CT
Virtual video event presented by all 12 District Banks of the Federal Reserve System

Event Agenda

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

12:00 p.m. – 12:10 p.m. ET Introduction & Opening Remarks

Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

12:10 p.m. ET Event Overview

Reema Khrais, Marketplace

12:10 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. ET Plenary Panel

Mehrsa Baradaran, University of California, Irvine, School of Law
Matthew Fletcher, Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University [Proposal]
Noel Poyo, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Moderator:
Reema Khrais, Marketplace

12:50 p.m. – 1:05 p.m. ET Fireside Chat

William Darity Jr., Duke University
Kirsten Mullen, Writer, Folklorist, and Arts Consultant

Moderator:
Tom Shapiro, Brandeis University

1:05 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. ET Policy Pitch Panel

Dorothy Brown, Emory University
Nia Evans & James Vamboi, Boston Ujima Project [Proposal]
Dañia Davy, Federation of Southern Cooperatives [Proposal]

Moderator:
Reema Khrais, Marketplace

1:25 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET Response Panel

Phil English, Arent Fox
Seema Agnani, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
April Youpee-Roll, Munger, Tolles & Olson
Rodney Foxworth, Common Future

Moderator:
Reema Khrais, Marketplace

2:00 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. ET Presidents Panel

James Bullard, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Neel Kashkari, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Moderator:
Anne Price, Insight Center for Community Economic Development

2:25 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET Closing Remarks

Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta



Additional Resources

We have curated a collection of additional resources that focus on the topics of racism, the wealth divide, and their effects on the economy.

The Future of Building Wealth: Brief Essays on the Best Ideas to Build Wealth—for Everyone

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and Aspen Institute

The Effects of the 1930s HOLC Redlining Maps

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Disparities by Race, Ethnicity and Education Underlie Millennials’ Comeback in Wealth

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Explore the full resource list ›




About the series

Understanding the implications of structural racism in America’s economy and advancing actions to improve economic outcomes for all.

Racism forms the foundation of inequality in our society. It limits opportunity for people of color and threatens the health of our economy. While the global pandemic has intensified racial and economic disparities, the killing of George Floyd has galvanized people from all walks of life to address the systems and structures that enable and perpetuate these outcomes.

Hosted by all 12 District Banks of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, “Racism and the Economy” is a virtual series that brings together community, business, and academic leaders to examine the economic impact of racism and advance bold ideas and concrete actions to achieve an economy that makes opportunity available to everyone.


Presenter Information

Seema Agnani photo

Seema Agnani Executive Director, National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development

Seema Agnani has nearly 20 years of experience working in the community development and immigrant rights sectors. She has focused primarily on the challenges of providing housing, economic opportunity, and support systems for new immigrants.

Agnani is executive director of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, which works with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. She is a founder and former executive director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation, which is a member of the National CAPACD.

Agnani was formerly the coordinating consultant to the Fund for New Citizens at the New York Community Trust, where she managed a donor collaborative of more than 20 foundations that support immigrant rights work in New York City. She also served as the director of training and technical assistance at Citizens Committee for NYC.

In the mid-1960s, Agnani’s parents emigrated from India to Chicago, where she was raised and earned a master’s degree in urban planning and public policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mehrsa Baradaran

Mehrsa Baradaran Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine, School of Law

Mehrsa Baradaran is a professor of law at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. Previously, she was at the University of Georgia School of Law as the Robert Cotten Alston chair in corporate law and associate dean for strategic initiatives with a focus on diversity and inclusion efforts and national and international faculty scholarship recognition.

Baradaran writes about banking law, financial inclusion, inequality, and the racial wealth gap. Her scholarship includes the books How the Other Half Banks and The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, both published by Harvard University Press. The latter was awarded the Best Book of the Year by the Urban Affairs Association.

Baradaran earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Brigham Young University and her law degree cum laude from New York University, where she served as a member of the New York University Law Review.

Dorothy Brown photo

Dorothy Brown Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, Emory University

Dorothy Brown is the Asa Griggs Candler professor of law at Emory University. She is the author of The Whiteness of Wealth: How The Tax System Impoverishes Black Americans- And How We Can Fix It (Crown 2021). A nationally recognized scholar in the areas of race, class, and tax policy, she is the author of numerous law review articles, book chapters, and essays on the topic. She majored in accounting at Fordham University, went on to get her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, and then earned a master’s in tax law from New York University. A former investment banker and practicing attorney in the areas of taxation and municipal securities, she began her career in law teaching in 1991 and joined the faculty at Emory in 2008. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, PBS, and NPR, and her opinion pieces have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Forbes, and on CNN Opinion.

William Darity photo

William Darity Jr. Samuel DuBois Cook Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Duke University

William Darity Jr. is the Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy, African and African American studies, and economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. He has served as chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the founding director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke.

Darity’s research focuses on stratification economics, schooling and the racial achievement gap, North-South theories of trade and development, skin shade and labor market outcomes, the economics of reparations, the Atlantic slave trade and the Industrial Revolution, the history of economics, the social psychological effects of exposure to unemployment, and inequality by race, class, and ethnicity.

He was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation from 2015 to 2016 and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors in 1984.

Dania Davy photo

Dãnia Davy Director of Land Retention and Advocacy, Federation of Southern Cooperatives

Dãnia Davy serves as director of land retention and advocacy at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. The Federation is the largest and oldest cooperatively owned organization whose membership includes Black farmers, landowners, and cooperatives. She began her legal career as a Skadden fellow at the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers Land Loss Prevention Project, implementing a project she designed that provided community education and estate planning services to improve Black farmers’ access to legal services in the rural South. Davy developed the documentary “Our Land, Our Lives: The North Carolina Black Farmers’ Experience” and served on the inaugural North Carolina Sustainable Local Food Advisory Council.

Phil English photo

Phil English Co-chairman, Government Affairs Practice, Arent Fox

Phil English is co-chairman of the Government Relations Practice Group at Arent Fox LLP. He also serves as national coordinator of the Healthcare Group Purchasing Industry Initiative, which monitors best practices in the health care supply chain, including diversity programming.

English served seven terms as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Human Resources Subcommittee. He served as a member of the Joint Economic Committee, and he was co-chairman of the Congressional Economic Leadership Institute.

Since leaving Congress, English has served as co-chairman of the board at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and as a board member of Prosperity Now, the Tax Foundation, and the Northeast-Midwest Institute. English is co-chair of the Institute for Representative Government and honorary chair of the Coalition for Strategic Tax Reform.

English received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, where he recently served as Visiting Fellow for Conservative Thought.

Nia Evans photo

Nia Evans Executive Director, Boston Ujima Project

Nia Evans is the executive director of the Boston Ujima Project. Her educational background is in labor relations, education leadership, and policy. Her advocacy includes a focus on eliminating barriers between analysts and people with lived experiences and increasing acknowledgement of the value of diverse types of expertise in policy.

Evans has a bachelor’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a Master of Arts in education leadership, with a course of study in leadership, policy, and politics from Teachers College at Columbia University. She also studied abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she focused on international labor relations.

Matthew Fletcher

Matthew Fletcher Foundation Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, Michigan State University

Matthew Fletcher is foundation professor of law at Michigan State University College of Law, where he is the director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, the University of Montana Blewett School of Law, and Stanford Law School. He is the reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of American Indians.

Fletcher’s newest book, Ghost Road: Anishinaabe Responses to Indian-Hating, was published by Fulcrum Publishing in 2020. He is also the primary editor and author of “Turtle Talk,” the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1994 and the University of Michigan Law School in 1997. He is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Rodney Foxworth

Rodney Foxworth CEO, Common Future

Rodney Foxworth is chief executive officer at Common Future. Most recently, he founded Invested Impact, a nonprofit consulting firm and intermediary that connected philanthropic and impact investment capital with underrepresented social entrepreneurs. The firm advised and partnered with numerous foundations, financial institutions, and policy organizations, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Aspen Institute, Calvert Impact Capital, Greater Washington Community Foundation, Legg Mason, and T. Rowe Price Foundation. Prior to Invested Impact, Foxworth served as deputy director of the Warnock Foundation, a venture philanthropy affiliated with the private equity firm Camden Partners. He previously held leadership positions at BMe, a national social entrepreneur network for African American men, and at Job Opportunities Task Force, a policy advocacy and workforce development organization. An inaugural Ford Foundation global fellow, Foxworth serves on the board of directors of Nonprofit Finance Fund and Race Forward, and on the steering committee of Justice Funders.

Reema Khrais photo

Reema Khrais Senior Reporter, Marketplace

Reema Khrais is the host and senior reporter for the Marketplace podcast “This Is Uncomfortable”—a weekly show about life and how money messes with it. The podcast digs into the unanticipated ways money affects relationships, shapes identities, and often defines what it means to be an adult. Khrais is a Gracie Award winner for her work on “This Is Uncomfortable” and is also a backup host on the business program “Marketplace,” reaching over 12 million people weekly.

Khrais joined Marketplace in 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Prior to that, she covered education at North Carolina Public Radio, WUNC, reported for WNYC, and is a former NPR Kroc fellow. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently based in Los Angeles.

Kirsten Mullen photo

Kirsten Mullen Writer, Folklorist, and Arts Consultant

Kirsten Mullen is a folklorist and the founder of Artefactual, an arts-consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. She was a member of the Freelon Adjaye Bond concept development team that was awarded the Smithsonian Institution’s commission to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Mullen worked under the auspices of the North Carolina Arts Council to expand the Coastal Folklife Survey.

As a faculty member with the Community Folklife Documentation Institute, Mullen trained students to research and document the state’s African American music heritage. She was a consultant on the North Carolina Museum of History’s “North Carolina Legends” and “Civil Rights” exhibition projects. Her writing can be found in museum catalogs and journals and in commercial media. It includes “Black Culture and History Matter” (The American Prospect), which examines the politics of funding Black cultural institutions.

Noel Poyo

Noel Poyo Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Economic Development, U.S. Department of the Treasury

Noel Poyo is the U.S. Department of the Treasury's deputy assistant secretary for community economic development. Previously, he served 14 years as executive director of the National Association for Latino Community Assets Builders, a nonprofit membership organization that’s the hub of a network of more than 120 community and economic development organizations that serve Latino communities.

Poyo’s career has focused on integrating immigrants and people with low incomes into the mainstream financial services and real estate sectors. He also works to improve the livability and economic resilience of low-income neighborhoods and affordable-housing communities. He has played various roles in implementing community development projects valued at more than $1 billion.

From 2015 to 2017, Poyo served as a member of the Community Advisory Council for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He is a graduate of Yale University. 

Anne Price photo

Anne Price President, Insight Center for Community Economic Development

Anne Price is the first woman president of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. She was one of the first national thought leaders to both examine and push for narrative change in addressing race and gender wealth inequality. She has worked in the public sector on a wide range of issues, including child welfare, hunger, workforce development, community development, and higher education.

Price’s work has been featured in publications including the New York Times, The Nation, Washington Post, Mercury News, Wall Street Journal, Citylab, O Magazine, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She currently serves as board chair at United for a Fair Economy in Boston. She holds a bachelor’s in economics from Hampton University and a master’s in urban affairs and public policy from the Milano School of Management and Urban Policy in New York City.

Thomas Shapiro photo

Thomas Shapiro Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, Brandeis University

Thomas Shapiro is the David R. Pokross professor of law and social policy at the Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

Shapiro's primary interest is in racial inequality and public policy. He is a leader in the asset development field with a particular focus on closing the racial wealth gap. The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality, published by Oxford University Press, 2004, was widely reviewed. The book was named one of the Notable Books of 2004 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

With Melvin Oliver, he wrote the award-winning Black Wealth/ White Wealth, which received the 1997 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award from the American Sociological Association. This book also won the 1995 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America named it an Outstanding Book of 1996.

April Youpee-Roll photo

April Youpee-Roll Litigation Associate, Munger, Tolles & Olson

April Youpee-Roll is an attorney in Los Angeles; her practice focuses on complex civil litigation and investigations. She also maintains an active pro bono practice focused on American Indian law and frequently represents amici in the federal and state appellate courts and the United States Supreme Court. She is a frequent speaker on Indian law topics.

Youpee-Roll also possesses nearly a decade of experience in federal and tribal policy. Before attending law school, she served as a research assistant to Sen. Tim Johnson, working on Indian Affairs, Judiciary, and Appropriations matters. She also performed research on tribal governance and tribal-corporate relations for Harvard Kennedy School.

She earned her law degree, with honors, from the University of Montana School of Law and her bachelor of arts in sociology from Harvard College. She is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.


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