If health is wealth, surely relationships and friends are wealth; and if so, definitely family members are wealth. All of these people and factors contribute to the quality of our existence on this planet. But we must have money, and more than bill-paying, retail therapy, lottery losing money. We need money for us and money for our families and money to send our grands and great grands to university and money for future generations. Giving has always been part of our history. The aunts with the dollar bills tied into handkerchiefs, not to mention where those handkerchiefs often rested. The grandmothers who never let you leave the house without a gift and some money. The men in the family who always pounded the young’uns on the back, asking, “You got any money in your pocket, Boy?”
But real wealth is much more than money; yet money is an intricate component. The Bible says “Money answers all things.” But so is God an intricate component. And community. That’s what makes wealth so difficult to define. But we know we all want it. And when we take real time to consider, it’s really not so hard to discern what makes us feel filled and full, stable and sound and happy to be alive and safe. We find our collective great wealth in God, our resilience and our culture.
Wealth is not new to Black people, although we haven’t always had millionaires and billionaires. And no matter our net or gross, we’ve always shared whatever wealth we had with whoever had the need at that moment. Remember rent parties? Paint parties? The grandmother in the neighborhood who always had extra items in the pantry. We banded together pre-USA to garner the wealth we desired, the sustenance we needed. African Savings Clubs. Susus.
In 2020 we pulled together all we had, households and organizations, to make sure that others could eat.
In this edition we look back to those Susus; we re-visit Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma and we look forward for ways to regroup, rebuild, replenish and retrain ourselves and our progeny in the ways of wealth in all aspects of our lives.
“My greatest wealth is my family. My husband of 52 years, our daughters and son, our granddaughters and great grandsons; their husbands and all their friends who also call us Mom and Dad. Foster children, or those raised outside their birth family always long for what is deemed to be a “normal” family, like everyone else. I don’t know how normal we are, but this family is my dream, come true.”
- Dorothy Boulware, AFRO managing editor
“There is more to wealth than simply a bank account. To me, wealth means being surrounded by my family. Seeing my children grow up and become successful, loving and compassionate adults. I have wonderful friends and great co-workers. I’m wealthy beyond words.”
- Lana Popok, AFRO business development specialist
“The greatest wealth in my life is love. Love learned through my rich faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. With them I know I can have all things! Faith places me in peace to trust that when the pennies are low there is a nickel under the rug, and the lights will stay on. I am grateful to be rich in family and friends who have been mentors along the way to teach me lessons in saving for the rainy day. Wealth is a combination of faith, family and friends built on the foundation of love. And communities are built as we invest our resources together in this love.”
- Juernene Bass, AFRO billing specialist
“My greatest wealth is rooted in my good health, my well being; physical, mental, emotional and most important spiritual. All benevolent abundance comes forth from the spring of good health.”
- Sean Yoes, AFRO senior reporter
“My greatest wealth is my physical and mental health. Without these I would not be able to function day to day.”
- Bonnie Deanes, AFRO finance manager
- Savannah Wood, AFRO archive & AFRO Charities director
“My greatest wealth is having Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and being reconciled with my Heavenly Father. I have come to learn that everything I need and what my heart truly desires are found in Him. I used to think if I just had enough money I could live the life I want and be happy. But, experience and a closer walk with the Lord, have taught me otherwise. Yes, money can buy certain comforts and afford you certain pleasures, however money can’t buy peace of mind, it can’t buy real love, and it certainly can’t buy salvation. Only Jesus! He is my Jehovah Shalom when I need peace of mind; He is the Lover of my soul who loves me unconditionally in spite of my faults and shortcomings; and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life for all who seek Heaven as their home for all eternity. I love the scripture in John 10:10 which says, “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Life more abundantly through Christ, to me that’s the true definition of wealth.”
- Nicole Batey
“The greatest wealth in my life is my family and my faith in God. Through the ups and downs of life, I can depend on my family for love and support and my faith keeps me grounded. If I didn’t have a relationship with God, I would be hopeless and would have given up on myself a long time ago.”
- Jessica Dortch, AFRO news editor