Empowering Black Women
with Minyon Moore and Leah Daughtry of Power Rising
Posted Feb 12, 2019
According to the Federal Reserve, the black female business ownership rate outpaces men of all races.

Minyon Moore and Leah Daughtry of Power Rising join host Tetiana Anderson to discuss black female activism, engagement and empowerment.
Produced by: National Newsmakers Team
Anderson: According to Forbes, the number of Black women-owned businesses rose 164% over the last decade, bringing the total number of firms owned by Black women to 2.4 million in 2018. Hello, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Tetiana Anderson. And while Black women are making advancements across a multitude of sectors, advocates say there is still more to do to ensure equity and opportunity. Joining me to discuss that are Minyon Moore and Reverend Leah Daughtry, both of Power Rising. Leah and Minyon, thank you so much for joining us, and first, Leah, to you, why do we even need an organization like Power Rising?

Daughtry: Tetiana, you framed it well. Black women are making tremendous strides all across the nation. We know that Black women are the largest, most consistent voting bloc in the nation, that we control $1.5 trillion in the American economy, and yet we are still leading in all the wrong ways in healthcare, we don´t have enough of us represented in Congress, we don´t have enough of us in the C-suites in Fortune 500 companies, and so, we wanted to create Power Rising as a gathering place by, for, and about Black women to talk about the ways in which we can leverage the power that we do have and how we exercise both our personal entrepreneurship, but also collectively, how we come together to help move our communities and the nation forward.

Anderson: So, you mentioned a couple of the sort of areas that Power Rising focuses on, but, Minyon, I want you to expand on that because this is a whole range of issues that you guys bring into play. What are they?

Moore: Well, we´re gonna focus on health and wellness, as Leah said, because obviously, women, especially African-American women, we tend to not take care of ourselves as much as we should. We´re gonna focus on political empowerment because right now we see more women coming into Congress, and we think that having young people think about how they can be public servants is a great thing to do. We want to have business leaders come and talk to us. A lot of times, we don´t have that intersectionality to talk about what it means to be in the business field, and what can you do to aspire to it. We´re also gonna talk about culture because we know a lot of our young people, they are very culturally astute. And so, we want to make sure that they´re teaching us and we´re teaching them. So, those are some of the areas we´ll be focused on, but it´s just a great gathering of women just coming together, making sure our voices are heard.

Anderson: You talked about business. You talked about empowerment. I want to follow up with you on that issue. We know that the lack of pay parity is real, right? Women tend to make 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. We know this is a problem. We talk about it as a problem. What are the barriers to changing that?

Moore: I think some of it is legislation. Now that we do have one of the Houses back, hopefully we can really spend some time, because we have a lot of progressive women that have been elected. We have a lot of women who believe that pay equity is important. We have a lot of men who believe that pay equity is important. So, maybe we´ll see some new legislation ushered through Congress.

Anderson: And you mentioned politics, as well. I want to turn to you, Leah. You were the CEO of the Democratic National Convention in 2008 and 2016. C-suite issues are something that Power Rising deals with. Why is it so important to make sure there are Black women in the C-suite?

Daughtry: You know, when you talk about, as I referenced, the economic statistics, we´re on track to control $1.5 million in the American economy. That means we´re spending money in major ways, whether it´s cars, whether it´s potato chips, whether it´s construction. We´re putting a lot into this economy, and so we think that we should be represented on the boards and in the C-suites of who are making the decisions about the things that come into our communities, what kind of products they are. We´re buying hair care. We ought to have somebody on the hair-care boards who represent our voices. It´s less about diversity for me than it is about representation -- representing the consumers who are spending their money and their capital in business.

Moore: And inclusion. I think a lot of it is just -- You look around, and you see that you have corporations that are spending money, and you want parity in your community when you know you´re buying their products.

Anderson: And you´re talking about inclusion, and that goes for politics, as well. And I know that you had a seat at the table in the administration of Bill Clinton. Can you give us an example, maybe, of how having your voice as a Black woman really sort of changed the scope of the conversation and why it´s important for us to have a seat at the table?

Moore: Well, first of all, I´m happy to report I wasn´t the only Black woman that had a seat at the table. So, it was a multitude of us, and that is actually important, too, not to be the only one. But it was any range of issues. Let´s take welfare to work. Sometimes people think that people just don´t want to work, but there are a lot of barriers to working, like childcare, like, "Who´s gonna pick my" --

Daughtry: Transportation.

Moore: Yeah, transportation. All these issues that actually, when I´m at the table, I have to pitch them back over to Leah, who was at the Labor Department. Or we had a big issue with affirmative action when I was there. So, we came up with "Mend It, Don´t End It" because we knew that we still had to break down some barriers. And that was because African-Americans, Hispanic women, Black people like myself were at the table, and we weren´t afraid to speak up. And there´s just a number, a range of issues that you can focus on at the White House. The big thing about being at the table is you got to have the courage to speak when it´s your turn.

Anderson: There you go. That is the key. You´ve got to have a place, but you´ve also got to have a voice. Leah, Minyon, I want to thank both of you for taking the time to be with us.

Daughtry: Thank you.

Moore: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much.

Anderson: And thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I´m Tetiana Anderson.
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