By JP Morgan Chase & Co.
As we close our celebration of Black History Month this year, we recently sat down with Deneva Shelton in Sacramento at JPMorgan Chase to discuss what Black History Month means to her and how the company looks beyond the month of February to advance racial equity.
- What does Black History Month mean to you and how did you celebrate?
For me, Black History Month is a simple, deeper dive into American History. In order to influence the present and the future, it is important for us to understand the events of the past. There are so many inspirational stories that we need to hear in addition to the more famous accounts of figures like Martin Luther King or Harriet Tubman. Telling these untold stories truly embodies the American spirit of resilience and Black History Month is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate them.
- How is JPMorgan Chase making an impact to advance racial equity?
Diversity, equality and inclusion has been an important part of the culture at JPMorgan Chase and we want to take a look at what else we can do. While our work to advance racial equity has been longstanding, in October 2020, we made a $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity that took a look at additional ways to address affordable housing, small business, financial health, among other critical financial needs within unbanked and underbanked communities.
We’ve opened 14 Community Center branches – locally-inspired and built with extra space to host free community events and financial health workshops – across the country and hired nearly 150 Community Managers who connect community members with the many resources we’ve created to support financial health education, first-time homebuyer education, and many other resources.
Across California we have Senior Business Consultants who provide free one-on- one coaching and advice to local Black, Hispanic, Latino and underbanked small business owners on everything from boosting creditworthiness to managing cash flow to effective marketing. Additionally, Chase Home Lending Advisors are available across the U.S. –whether you want to click, call or visit in-branch – to help you prepare for homeownership, including identifying the right financing solutions and any down payment/housing assistance available.
We’re invested in making an impact right here in Sacramento and committed to supporting underserved communities, helping them reach their financial goals.
- How should other companies and individuals be thinking about advancing racial equity?
We all can make an effort to help advance racial equity within our community – including by investing in or shopping with local diverse-owned businesses, supporting philanthropic efforts in our community and participating in community events.
Consider looking for diverse initiatives and business resource groups within your company that focus on supporting underserved or underrepresented communities, and asking if there are opportunities to support those initiatives or groups. For instance, JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathways initiative works to support the economic empowerment of the Black community globally. Through our Global Supplier Diversity program we’re using our purchasing power to build economic equity in diverse communities, foster the success of underrepresented business owners, and promote equity, inclusion and sustainability across the wider business community. We also have initiatives focused on other communities, and business resource groups that share our company commitment to equity and equality and create opportunities for employees to be engaged.
- Tell me about your connection to the Sacramento community and opportunities for growth here?
I was born and raised right here in Sacramento. I have seen so much growth and opportunity come to the greater region. While Sacramento has been featured on a number of prominent national lists for its cultural diversity, there remains a number of opportunities to increase the long-term wealth of Blacks and Hispanics in the community. I would love to see a renaissance of minority owned businesses and a surge of Blacks and Hispanics becoming homeowners in the region.
- What are your goals for this year, and/or, what are you looking forward to in 2023?
This year I want to learn about and explore new opportunities to improve the financial health of minorities in the region. I am looking forward to seeing all the amazing things that Sacramento achieves this year when it comes to furthering diversity and inclusion.
I also am keeping my fingers-crossed that Sacramento may see an NBA Playoff game this year. Nothing has pulled Sacramento closer together than a purple beam. Go Kings!
I look forward to meeting and seeing so many of you this year in Sacramento.
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