Honoring Black History Month and Remembering Norwescap’s Roots

At its heart, Norwescap is an organization rooted in civil rights & social justice, born out of the anti-poverty movement of the Johnson administration and fueled by the advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Throughout February we celebrate Black History Month by highlighting the contributions Black Americans have made to advance our society. If you stay connected with our social media channels, you will see some extraordinary stories highlighting heroes such as Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Everett Frederic Morrow, James Baldwin and more this month. We are proud to recognize these men and women – but we also acknowledge that honoring the legacies of Black Americans also means embracing our role in creating a more equitable society, all year long. 

Norwescap works every day to address the complex issues of poverty – and we cannot ignore the fact that, in America, poverty and race remain inextricably linked. We strive to dismantle the painful legacy that slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, red-lining, and institutional racism have created. The ripple effects of these “historical” issues still negatively impact our communities today. We see the toll they take in our neighborhoods: lower incomes; dramatic health disparities; fewer economic opportunities; lower homeownership rates; less access to capital and credit; greater food insecurity; gaps in access to technology; disparities in academic achievement; and higher incarceration rates. In New Jersey, white households have a median net worth of over $308,000; for Black households, it is $5,900. Despite the 5 1/2 decades of anti-poverty work we have led in New Jersey, it is evident that much more needs to be done. 

Black History Month presents an opportunity to renew our commitment to celebrating diversity and fighting for equity, but we also know we must be intentional about addressing racial disparities throughout the year. We know that racism is wrong and morally repugnant, and we must work together to end it. Simply put, we cannot end poverty without addressing racism. To that end, Norwescap has adopted an Anti-Racism Resolution, which you can read in full here. We are committed to the work we must do internally to live up to our resolve, and to creating dialogue and progress in the communities we are serving, in the State of New Jersey, and in our country.