A couple days ago I read an article in the New York Times titled ‘Judges Halt Race and Gender Priority for Restaurant Relief Grants.’ The story seemed so familiar. I remember writing something similar to this and searched on this blog to make sure. Yup, on January 30 I wrote a piece called ‘Will it ever be okay to give Black people money?’
Once again, a few white folks went to court to stop pandemic relief money from going to people of color. In both stories, most of the money was already distributed, but for the few folks approved and waiting for funds, they probably won’t be getting anything now.
The sad part of these stories is that the few folks who take the action to stop the pandemic money from going to the black and brown and women and military and disabled owned small businesses don’t do it because they think they can get the money for themselves. Oh no, they successfully stop these funds just because they don’t think it’s fair that minority businesses should get any special consideration for funding.
One approved business owner felt this way when he learned his money wasn’t coming…
“I started crying,” said Mr. León, who read the email giving him the bad news on Sunday morning. “Literally, I started crying. It’s like they’re dangling this carrot in front of you — this moment that will mark the end of a horrible year and a half — and then, in a matter of seconds, it’s all gone.”
They call this new program the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. In March, lawmakers ordered the Small Business Administration, which runs the program, to include a 21-day exclusivity period. During that time, only applications from women, military veterans and “socially and economically disadvantaged” individuals — defined by the agency as those from certain racial and cultural groups who also had limited financial means — would be approved. Others could file their applications, but had to wait to have their requests reviewed.
It’s a small group of ‘others’ who are upset and went to court to get a few judges to agree with them that the priority period was discriminatory. Several judges agreed, prompting the agency to alter its approach. In court filings on Friday, the agency said it had — in late May, in response to the legal actions — stopped payment on priority applications leaving close to 3000 approved applicants empty handed.
Fortunately, about 72,000 others got their money before the program was shut down which begs the question (at least from me) why not just pay the 3000 approved people and then stop the approval process for the others who have applied?
In PART 1 of ‘Will it ever be okay to give Black people money?’, $50 of the $62 million was given away in the state of Oregon’s minority business pandemic relief program. Here in PART 2, $18 of the $27 billion was dispensed in this nationwide program before the cancel culture culprits shut it down. ($9 billion is a whole lot more than $12 million).
I really don’t have anything to say about this other than wanting to bring it to your attention. Clearly, legislators are trying to be fair and inclusive with the pandemic relief money, and it’s just as clear that a handful of citizens have the power to stop billions of dollars of aid to ‘socially and economically disadvantaged’ individuals.
I bet those same citizens couldn’t stop billions earmarked to the Department of Defense or Homeland Security.