February 2021

COVID-19 pandemic adding to racial disparities in employment

Courtesy of ABC 6
By Rodney Dunigan
February 24, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Experts indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is adding to the economic gap and the problem of unemployment for African-Americans.

It’s an issue community groups like the Columbus Urban League are trying to tackle head-on. The organization is pushing for people in the community to look to entrepreneurship as a possibility.

For Traci Lukemire, opening her own business was a dream come true.

“Oh my gosh, I got heart palpitations when it was time to open,” Lukemire said.

The owner of Donna’s Delicious Dozen like many business owners across central Ohio, fighting to keep profits coming in, in spite of the pandemic.

“When it first hit in March, I was really scared,” Lukemire told ABC 6.

A large part of her success has been word of mouth, along with the Columbus Black Owned Businesses Facebook page.

The pandemic has forced many in the African-American community to use a bit of creativity to bring in income.

Research from Wallet Hub points out a disturbing trend.

Experts indicate that major improvements need to be made when it comes to racial equality. Unemployment disparities a big part of the issue.

Columbus Urban League President Stephanie Hightower stresses that’s why many have turned to creating their own source of income.

“We always say over at the Urban League you know we’re the last ones hired and we’re the first ones fired and we saw that was exasperated by COVID,” Hightower said.

For business owners like Lukemire, it hasn’t been easy, but certainly worth it.

“A lot of work, a lot of study, a lot of preparation, but it’s been really, really good,” Lukemire said.

The Columbus Urban League has a number of programs aimed at getting people back on their feet if they’re out of work. They can also provide important information business development for those looking to strike out on their own.

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