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Explosive New Growth in Small Businesses Due to COVID-19; America’s Police Force is Not Becoming More Diverse Despite BLM Movement; the Best and Worst Performing States in the 2020 Census; and More

Even with incredible nationwide unemployment rates, the creation of new small and diverse businesses has exploded due to COVID-19.

Finally some news coming out of our pandemic: The Philadelphia Tribune reports that as bars and restaurants closed and stay-at-home orders were put into place earlier in 2020 to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, “applications to start new businesses have surged significantly above normal in the last few months, as ‘pandemic entrepreneurs’ look to make money on their own in a tight labor market or see the crisis as an opportunity to realize a long-held dream.” 

Freed from the constraints of a long daily commute to work and using unemployment wages to help tide them over, many women and men who’ve yearned to start their own business appear to have decided that now really is the time to do so. “In the initial weeks of the pandemic, applications to start new businesses really fell off a cliff,” Kenan Fikri, research director at the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Economic Innovation Group told the paper. “By early June, applications to start new businesses climbed back up towards pre-pandemic trends. But then they kept on climbing.” Currently, business applications nationwide are up 19% year over previous years, he said.

 

Diversity not expanding within America’s police force.

Of the 467 local police departments with at least 100 officers on their force, more than two-thirds became whiter relative to their communities, according to The New York Times. “The widening racial gap means that at a time when the nation’s population is growing more diverse, residents more often meet officers who don’t look like them,” the Times explains. 

Their findings comes after examining recently released data from the National Archive of Criminal Justice. It revealed that while police departments in several large cities including New York, Chicago, Houston and Dallas narrowed the race gap and became less white between 2016 and 2017 (the most recent years for which data is available), at least 332 police departments became significantly more white than the populations they serve. One possible reason? The overwhelming number of Black and Brown officers who have left police service in recent years over fallout from the deaths of Black men at the hands of the police.

 

As 2020 census nears completion, new data reveals which state are — and are not — getting the most accurate count possible.

Even though the U.S. Census Bureau is set to stop collecting data on Sept. 30 (a month earlier than previously expected), we’re at least gaining some insight into the current states with the best and worst overall response rates from their residents. NBC News reports that Minnesota is currently on top with 74.7% percent of citizens returning their census data to the government. They’re followed by Washington, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan, Illinois, Virginia, Utah and Maryland — all of whom have response rates over 70%. 

The worst performing portion of the country is Puerto Rico, where just 34.2% of residents of the territory have sent in their census data, followed by Alaska (53.8%), West Virginia (55.9%) and New Mexico (57.4%) 

Census data is vitally important not just because it helps to determine a region’s political representation within the government but the data is also used to help determine the distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds used to help fund schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs. The better your state is represented within that data, the greater your piece of the government’s financial pie.

 

Trump continues race-baiting attack on diversity.

In Sept. 2020, the Republican leader demanded his administration stop funding race and diversity training in federal agencies. Yesterday, he expanded on that declaration, prohibiting diversity training within the U.S. military, government contractors and other federal grantees, the Federal News Network reports.

“A few weeks ago, I BANNED efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies,” Trump tweeted shortly prior to issuing the order. “Today, I’ve expanded that ban to people and companies that do business with our country.”

The new order appears to have arisen after news broke that the Treasury Department had recently held a seminar that promoted diversity awareness within its staffers.

 

Are you registered to vote? Vote.org provides a number of resources for voters including a state-by-state rundown of important dates and regulations to know, plus information on registering to vote, how to successfully vote by mail and more. For more info, go to vote.org.

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here

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