The Black Lives Matter Movement has sparked many important conversations about race, discrimination, and injustice that have long been kept on the periphery. Now, with it going loud on the mainstream media, it has become hard to ignore this pressing issue that has been affecting so many lives in the Black community. In this episode, Solomon Ali takes a stand together with the movement and speaks about the systemic oppression that is stripping away opportunities for Black people to thrive. Particularly, he taps into the small number of black-owned companies and the problems when it comes to access to the capital markets. He goes deep into the issues about the unemployment rate and social security of Black people, especially in this time of COVID-19, where the already unlevel playing field is becoming even farther apart. The amount of injustice the Black community has been receiving has gone on for so long. It is time to change that by waking up and fighting the battle. Join Solomon in this important conversation to know how you can fight against injustice.
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Black Lives Matter Movement: Wake Up, Fight The Battle
We’re glad to have you here. I’m excited to be here. As a black man or a black person, every day that you wake up and you’re not 6 feet under, that’s a beautiful day. It’s starting to be more apparent in the times that we’re living in that evidently, there’s a price on our head. They forgot to tell us about it. My heart goes out to George Floyd and his family. That was an absolutely horrific crime. That was murder. I would say the peace officers that were standing there with him were accessory to murder. If that was you and I, we would have been accused all four of us of murder. There wouldn’t have been any doubt. There wouldn’t have been any questions saying, “That’s the thing that we’re talking about where it’s unjust. It’s unfair.”
This happens to a black man and it’s like, “Status quo, protocols. Everybody comes out.” When it happens to them, all of a sudden it’s, “We’ve got to follow these policies and procedures.” That’s okay. When it happens, why don’t you follow the policy and procedures when you’re looking at us when you’re telling us for no reason to get on the ground when you’re pulling us over for no reason. Why aren’t you following the policy and procedures? When you’re pulling your weapons out for no reason where the white man does the same exact thing, you wait patiently, calmly, and then handcuff him when he has a weapon. With us, if you think we have a weapon, you start firing. This is ridiculous.
If you are afraid to do your job, then you need to go find another job. If you are unable to do your job without the biases that you have, you need to go find another job. That’s definitely what you tell us that if we can do it if it gets too hot, get out the kitchen, all that other good crap that you like to spill. I’m unnerved. I’m angry. I’m upset because this keeps going on and going on. We’ve had 400 years of oppression. Everyone acts like we’re not being taken advantage of. We’re not being oppressed. I want you to understand something. I’m trying to bring access to minorities because I woke up one day and found myself in a fight with the SEC. Not a fight of my choosing, a fight that they picked.
What I realized was God showed me something that I didn’t pay any attention to. I didn’t know. I was too busy going on about my life and see that’s part of the problem. We need to stop going on about our lives and start thinking about my brethren. Whether that brethren is a black brethren or a white brethren or a Filipino brethren or a Chinese brethren, whatever that brethren is, we need to think about other people. If we think how we want to be treated and treat our neighbor like we want to be treated ourselves, not give that good lip service, but truly treat your neighbor how you want to be treated.
Black Owned Companies And Unemployment
I woke up, and going back to this, I realized that there were five million companies in the United States with ten or more employees. Of that number, there were less than 100,000 black-owned companies that had ten or more employees, less than 100,000 out of 5 million. Do you think that’s by coincidence? No. Let’s break it down even farther. There are 13,000 publicly-traded companies throughout all the different exchanges. That’s counting OTC, markets, pink sheets, New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ. All the different exchanges there are approximately 13,000. Here’s a number that’s going to surprise you. There are only thirteen black companies that are managed, owned, or controlled by blacks.
You should be totally outraged because what that means to you is this. You do not have access to the capital markets. You do not have access to the monies to keep your businesses going. You do not have access because they don’t want you to have access. Why don’t they want you to have access? They don’t even know. They always rely on and fall back to that’s how it was. Let’s change it. We put people in the office, let’s change it. Congress, you’re standing there. Let’s change it. Let’s create some programs and let’s get some more black companies because also according to their own census, as far as the government labor statistics, here’s the thing. Companies tend to hire their own. If that’s true, that means 13,000 companies are favored to hire people that look like them. Not like you and I. That means there are only approximately thirteen publicly-traded companies out there that will be hiring people that look like you and I. That’s a disadvantage. That’s an unfair playing field. That means my kids don’t get to go to the best schools. That means I don’t get to live in the best neighborhoods wherever we call the best neighborhoods are.
I know what some of you think, but the best neighborhoods are where the welfare is. If we can create our own wealth and we know about Greenwood. We know what’s happened there in black Wall Street. We know about all this stuff where they burned it down to the ground. I’m not going there yet because it’s not time, but it is time. I saw a demonstration right in front of my home where I lived. I took a lot of pictures of it and videoed it. There are a lot of white people living around me, a lot of white people, and a lot of fluent people that look like me. We were out there and everything and everybody, and it was a peaceful situation. Here was the thing that was unnerving. When you look at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, black men, 16 to 19, it’s 23.3% unemployment, white men, 16 to 19, 12.2% unemployment. Do you start to see where the disadvantages are taking place? That means our young people are not able to get jobs. They’re not able to do certain things. They have more free time. They’re not able to go and buy some of the things that they may want to buy as young adults or teenagers.
Let’s go further, ages 20 to 24, I’m talking about specifically black men, 14.9%. Do you know what it is amongst whites? It’s 6.8%. We’re in the double digits, 6.8%. What’s that telling you is they’re getting a head start. They’re getting a jump on you because now they’ve been working longer. They have more time to save, build resources. They’re getting a head start in a lot of ways. We all know about Social Security. Although I personally don’t think it will be around, but if you start working before I did, that means you’ve paid into it longer. Your benefits are going to be higher. Let’s keep this real. This is not a joke. It’s time to get serious. It’s time not to keep. I don’t want to say keep marching, but it’s gone time.
If the government is corrupt, the people have a responsibility to take it back.
Twenty-five-year-olds to 34, black unemployment, 8.2%, white unemployment, 4.1%. What that means is 34 years of age, we’re unemployed. That means we can’t take care of a family. In our prime years, we’re not able to be able to start living, to take care of a family, to have decent wages. We’re stressed and burdened by the problems of the day. If I go on a straight to walk in my neighborhood at 11:00 at night, am I going to be accused of something that went wrong in the neighborhood just because I’m a person of color? Are the cops going to pull me over? They’re going to the standard, what they love to say, “You look like someone or you fit the description of someone who did something,” fit what description and we never give them the benefit of the doubt.
Wake Up, Fight The Battle
We’re automatically accused of being less than liars, crooks, thieves. They forget they’re the ones that painted this stereotype of us. It wasn’t us that painted the stereotype. The people that I know that look like me are some of the most compassionate human beings on the earth. I’m sure you would agree with that. All that being said, we got to wake up. I watch the demonstrations. I’m looking at them and you know who I see out front? Women. It’s our mothers. It’s our sisters, our aunties, things of that nature. Don’t say I’m a black man that sits in the background and lets a woman fight your battle. Get out there and fight the battle. Lead the front and give them something to follow. It’s time for us to get serious about our business, our business of living, our business of our human rights, our God-given rights now. I don’t want to sound like no angry black man because I’m not angry. I’m upset.
I’m scared for all the young brothers and sisters out there. I’m scared for my grandson. I’m scared for my daughter. I don’t want people to have to go through what I’ve seen. I don’t want them to go through what you’re seeing. A good way that we can possibly change a lot of this is we need jobs. We’re in this time in 2020. We’re dealing with COVID. Unemployment is higher. These numbers that I gave you were from the US Bureau of Labor. That was the first quarter. Those numbers are probably doubled if not triple that now. If we don’t have jobs, what are we to do? Society is changing right before our eyes. I’m going to be real here. Here’s the thing. I want you to understand this. I want you to understand and listen. The majority of the jobs that people had before COVID-19 will no longer have and that affects us. I want you to think about that and let that soak in for a minute.
People who had jobs prior to COVID-19 will no longer have jobs. The majority of you will not have jobs. Our unemployment is roughly 40 million people. Many of you who constantly tunes into Minority Business Access know that I have said this number is going to rate 65 million to 75 million unemployed. We’ve never seen that. That’s going to take us to the haves and the have nots in a major way. If we don’t put our foot down and start taking up for our human rights, what do you think is going to happen to us in the years to come? How much more horrific is this going to be? It’s going to be unimaginable. The things that they will do to us and how they will feel that they have the right and disregard us because they’re able to provide and make money for their families and things of that nature. To treat us like garbage because in a system that we’ve been fighting and trying to survive in that’s been stacked against us from the beginning.
We keep overcoming, but every time we overcome, they put their foot on our necks and try to snuff us out. That’s exactly what they did to George. They snuffed him out. He knew people were videoing this with their cameras and things of that nature. He did not have a conscious that he did not care. It meant nothing to him. He believed that he was above the law. Those people standing around him that called themselves fellow peace officers were just as wrong. They were not upholding justice. They were being an executioner. Call it for what it is. That’s what they were doing. That was a modern-day lynching.
If you don’t think it’s going to get worse when you see unemployment at the highest levels, and people are worried about how they’re going to eat. We got someone talking about racism and what it is and what is not, and not acknowledging that there is a problem. The best way to have a problem is to keep acknowledging that one doesn’t exist. Only a fool does that. We need to get to the bottom of this as Americans, as the greatest country. We need to work through this quickly. My fear is we will have civil unrest because you can’t have the haves and the have nots. We know from history, every country that has experienced civil unrest, it was because people were starving. People were hungry. People didn’t have jobs.
Let’s not let that happen to America. It’s time. People have given you the stats. Those are not my stats. That comes from the US Bureau of Labor. That’s their stats. That’s what they’re saying. That’s where we are in the first quarter. That number has doubled, if not tripled by now, and it’s going to be a lot higher. What do you think is going to happen when black men can’t feed their families, when poor white men, they think this won’t happen to them, but that’s going to happen to anyone that doesn’t have the means to feed their families and to take care of their so-called responsibilities because they’re not going to have a job. We know what happens when everyone is out of a job. We turn against each other. We turn on each other and we can’t afford that. They’re not talking about the right things now.
We need to start talking about the right things and the right thing is what are we doing as a society? We can’t keep treating black people this way. We can’t keep treating black men this way. We can’t keep allowing it to go on, allowing it to happen. Let me tell you something. If I got white people that loved to tune into MBA, Minority Business Access, let me tell you something, I’m talking to you. If you stand there and allow an injustice to go by, you’re as guilty as they are. You’re as wrong as they are. When you see injustice, you need to stand up for injustice. You need to fight. I don’t mean fight physically, I mean fight the system the way it was designed for us to fight. See, we all act like we don’t know our Constitution.
Our Constitution said, “If we have a corrupt government, it’s time for the people to take that back, say we didn’t put you in the office to be an office to be self-serving. We put you in the office to serve the people, to provide some wisdom and some guidance so that we all live the American dream, all live a quality of life that God has given every man. They said that now, I didn’t say that. Don’t come calling up Solomon and saying, “Solomon, are you trying to start something?” Solomon’s not trying to start anything. Solomon is trying to tell you in the Constitution it states that if the government is corrupt, the people have a responsibility to take it back. That’s our responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Chinese. If you live here in the United States, under these roles, and under this Constitution, you have to do what’s right, to take them out of office.
Sometimes, you must stand up for yourself because if no one else will stand up for you.
If they’re not going to do what’s right, we must do what’s right for our families, for us to survive people. This is critical. I love each and every one of you. I have white brothers that I love. I have black brothers that I love and I have everything else in between that I love. I’m angry. I’m upset. I know a lot of you are upset as well. I grew up until I was about somewhere between 8 and 10 in East LA, 68 in San Pedro, Los Angeles right down the place from the High School at that time it was called. I don’t know if it’s still called that now. I never got in a fight and anything like that. We deal with kids and everything did. Parents wanted to move me to a better neighborhood. I wouldn’t get in trouble and all, I’ll go to a better neighborhood. Move us to a predominantly, all-white neighborhood. We’re the only black family and are black. I go to school every day. I’m getting spit on. I have to fight. I get in trouble.
White kids never get in trouble. They were always telling the truth. I was always the one lying and hasn’t much shame. It hasn’t changed since. They tried to dump me in the toilet. Three or four of them tried to dump me in the toilet. They think it’s fun. It’s a joke and I’m fighting them or not. They couldn’t get me in the toilet. I did a good job, but I’m the one sitting in there getting suspended for a week for 3, 4 people jumping on me trying to put me in the toilet. None of them got suspended and then I get in trouble when I get home for fighting. Parents didn’t understand. Why couldn’t you walk away? Yeah. I’m a kid. How in the world do you walk away from 3, 4 people trying to pick you up and stick your butt in the toilet? I understand my parents were probably a little afraid of them too. I didn’t want to rock the boat because we were the only black family in our neighborhood.
I understand that they probably had some fears and then some insecurities. You learn to have to try to with things in a different way than calling me, grill pad, touching my hair, all kinds of things, doing horrific things. I get to a middle school. Here’s what we’re doing. They come to pick me up. All of a sudden, they liked me. We’re playing sports. What happens in middle school, you start playing sports. Everybody likes me. This guy is good out there. He’s a natural. They stopped at the friend’s house and get drunk before school. We were in about sixth grade. About 12, 13 years old, they’re stopping at school and getting drunk. That was something I couldn’t even imagine, I couldn’t conceive, I couldn’t think of, but that’s what they’re doing, getting drunk, getting high, doing drugs before school and not getting suspended and not getting in trouble.
If a person of color in that school says one thing, they’re out. Go on. I remember trying to ask this girl to go with me. We call it going around at that time and she was a white girl. She went around with me for one hour and she couldn’t stand everybody making fun of her and things of that nature. Nobody made fun of me or came to me with it because they knew that I’ll fight. Not that I condone violence. Let me tell you something, sometimes you must stand up for yourself because if no one else will stand up for you, you must stand up for yourself. Don’t take it the wrong way. My name means peace, Solomon. I’m a peaceful person. I’m a gentle soul. I don’t back down from a fight though.
We Aren’t Designed To Be Less Than Each
I’m telling you we came back down from this. I’m calling on my black brothers, my white brothers. We got to hit this head-on. Brothers, no more letting our women be out there representing the majority in any demonstration, let’s get out there, and let’s join them. Let’s make sure that where the majority. Let’s give them something to follow. Let’s give the world something to see. We like to say these sayings, but each and every one of you was created and made by God is a man of God. You’re in his image. We weren’t designed to be less than. Each and every white man was made by God and then also made in his image. They weren’t designed to be less than either, but here we are, a house divided will not stand. As we know, a house divided will not stand.
This is what I do know. I’m not going to allow anyone to treat me any kind of way. It doesn’t matter if I win. It only matters if I’m fighting. I am not telling fight meaning physical. There are different ways to fight. We have laws. Sometimes you have to take it to them that way. George Floyd died. God allowed us to see something. He woke us up. He woke our consciousness up. The conscious of this nation, he woke it up for us to address a problem that we have now that’s been going on. Everybody keeps sweeping it under the rug saying, “Go along to get along. It will be okay.” No, it’s never going to be okay until we change it. If you are not willing to change it now, then we’ve got to do what the Constitution states. That’s where we are.
There’s no more of this ‘go along to get along.’ It’s no more that you are going to treat us fairly, that you’re going to treat us right. That you’re going to be correct and do right by us because you haven’t shown that. You keep hiding behind the politics. You keep hiding behind the policies and the procedures. Treat your neighbor as you yourself would want to be treated. That’s all we’re asking for. We’re not asking for anything more or less. Stop judging us. Stop murdering us. Stop depriving us in our families. Stop trying to turn us against each other. Stop labeling us as thugs. We are people. We are human beings and we deserve to be treated so.
This is tough. I know what’s coming because I’m looking at the numbers. I’m looking at the unemployment numbers. I’m looking at what’s going to happen when you have haves and have nots. I want you to understand something. The halves are not worried about you and I. A lot of the middle-class white people don’t understand the halves are not worried about them neither because they’re going to be in the not section. Everybody in that middle class is about to be wiped out. When they wipe it out, please understand it’s going to be now them looking to blame us for taking jobs or things of that nature that don’t exist. Not even for us, because they got to blame somebody and who’s always to be blamed for what’s going on. It’s always us. It’s always the black man.
They divided our households. They’re giving us handouts. One of the worst things that I’ve ever seen in my life was welfare. Although the majority of the people on welfare are white, not black, they portray it that the majority of the people on welfare are black. They keep portraying it that way until we felt guilty or whatever it may have been. We stereotype but it wasn’t true. It was a lie. The majority of white people are on welfare. Moving on from that, they turned around and said, “If you’re on welfare, the man can’t stay in the household.” What crazy stuff is that? You’ve got to think about a system and what it has been designed to do it. It hasn’t been designed to unite your family, to hold it together. It’s been designed to tear it down.
When you’re fighting a system like that, you’ve got to be prepared to be all in. Some of you already know, I’m Solomon Ali. Out of thirteen publicly-traded companies of that 13,000, I’ve sat on the board of directors of three publicly-traded companies. I’ve been an officer of three and raised capital for those three companies. Two of those companies, one was around the fifth-largest minority energy company in the United States. The other one deals with smart home technology. We control that particular space dealing with that. They said it couldn’t be done. It can be done. I use Amazon as an example because the CEO of Amazon used to talk about for a while to not ask him anymore when they’re going to make a profit because he doesn’t know. For approximately fourteen years, they have lost money. How do you survive if you’re losing money for fourteen years? You have to get capital.
Anyone that’s an entrepreneur now knows this. You can’t go to the bank and ask to borrow any money if you’re not making a profit if you don’t have collateral or some form of assets to put up. How did they survive? Let me tell you when you are publicly-traded, it gives you access to the capital markets. If you have access to the capital markets, you got a chance to grow your business, to develop your business, to correct the mistakes and things of that nature. Go through some of the learning curves that you may have to go through to become a successful business. If you’re not there, if you’re not represented there, if you don’t exist there, then that means our people will starve because we won’t have the jobs that pay. That means we won’t have access to capital. We won’t have access to loans, private equity money. If we’re there, we get access. If we’re there, what they may be afraid of is that we’re competing for the same dollars. My people, I love you all each and every one of you.
I pray that the consciousness that God has given each and every one of us that we move and do something about it. I pray that my white brothers will sit back and get to move in and start saying, “You can’t treat them like that. It’s wrong.” Not being passive about it anymore, start speaking up. My black brothers, the same thing. Start speaking up saying, “You can’t treat him that way.” When you see another black man mistreated, you’ve got to get up and do something about it. You’ve got to come to the defense. You’ve got to help him. We can’t sit back and be happy that it wasn’t me. We all know that feeling, “I’m glad it wasn’t me that got pulled over, that’s sitting on the side of the curb, laying in the middle of the street.” A lot of us know. If we don’t know and haven’t done it, we know somebody that has experienced that. We all have family and friends.
It’s time to start watching and looking out for each other, being socially responsible for each other. If they’re not going to take care of us and do the right thing by us, then it’s time that we take a page out of history from Rosa Parks. Maybe we stop patronizing various stores until we get their attention. That might hurt and be painful, but it may be necessary to bring a change especially when you deal with publicly-traded companies. It’s time that we can’t keep spending our money with people that don’t care about what happens to us. We can, if they do not care about us, why would I give them a dollar? I can’t spend my money there. I’ve got to spend my money where they care about me. I’ve got to spend my money where they care about you.
If you stand there and allow injustice to go by, you’re just as guilty as those who commit them.
Let me tell you something. I didn’t mean to be emotional, so I know this probably didn’t come out right or the way it was supposed to come out. When they asked me and wanted me to do this, it was one way. I know from me doing it, it’s a different way. I didn’t know all that will be up in me. Our GDP is roughly about $27 trillion. People of color, we make up approximately 5% to almost 7% of the GDP. We have less than 5% homeownership in the United States, less than 13% of the wealth in the United States. How are we spending so much money and everybody else owns everything? We’re spending the money and we are being killed on the streets. How was that so? You’ve got to stop spending your money because once you do that, then they’re going to care about your needs. They’re going to care about your family.
As long as you’re not willing to make that sacrifice and you keep giving them your money, you’re telling them you don’t care about yourself. Let’s wake up if they treat us wrong and poorly. There are people in the office and bank business that don’t want to help and march and stand with us. Then we have no business spending our money with them. I want to thank you for reading Minority Business Access. If I have offended anyone, I’ll know what to tell you. You’re just offended. If I offended, you don’t damn call me or nothing like that because I want to hear this crap. Be blessed. I love you. I know God loves you. We’re all in His image. Let’s try to work this out and make America great the right way.