November 24, 2020
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Taylor Porter Of Counsel and Helix Community Schools President Preston Castille served as a moderator for a CPEX Smart Growth Summit virtual session, "Conscious Consumerism: Uplifting Black Businesses." The session was held Oct. 6.
North Baton Rouge has long experienced economic instability and limited job availability, similar to other African American neighborhoods throughout the United States. In this session, Maggie Anderson, author of Our Black Year and founder of the nonprofit The Empowerment Experiment, discussed the history and impacts of the commercial exploitation of Black neighborhoods and explores the reasons why Black businesses lag behind businesses of all other racial and ethnic groups in every measure of success. Ms. Anderson discussed how the social crises that disproportionately impact Black people and under-served Black neighborhoods could be countered through “conscious consumerism”.
This session also featured a panel discussion with East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and local experts working to redevelop and reinvest in North Baton Rouge. Panelists explored the discriminatory laws, policies, and practices that perpetuate inequitable outcomes in Black businesses, and the actions that need to be taken to encourage policy change and transparency to support Black business ownership and prosperity and their role in neighborhood reinvestment. Panelists included Maggie Anderson, The Empowerment Experiment Foundation; Tyra Banks, MetroMorphosis; Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, City of Baton Rouge & East Baton Rouge Parish; Adam Knapp, Baton Rouge Area Chamber; and Byron Washington, Sky-Walker Productions, NBR Now.
For 15 years, CPEX has convened the Southeast's premier event promoting dialogue around innovative planning and exploration of models for creating healthier and more resilient communities. The Smart Growth Summit invites design and planning professionals, policy makers and elected officials, non-profit leaders, researchers, and other civically engaged individuals to learn from national and international subject-matter experts. The Summit fosters dialogue, learning, and action to collectively shape our futures.