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8/28 Economic Inequities & Opportunities: Impact of the Current Recession & 217 Black Business Month

Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped 32.9% in the US during the 2nd quarter. In July, unemployment rates in US and Illinois were 10.2% and 11.3% respectively. Meanwhile, the US equity market recovered its losses from the beginning of the pandemic.

Significant economic inequalities existed across our community and country before COVID-19. The impact of the pandemic seems to be widening the gap. While we are pinning our hopes on a quick economic recovery, we could see this gap widen even further during the recovery. Earlier reports showed roughly 21% of all US small businesses closed during March and April. During that same time period, 41% of Black-owned businesses closed.

Dr. Kriz will share new data and understanding of the overall economic condition in the state and region focusing on the unequal impact of the current recession across the Springfield area. Celebrating 217 Black Business Month, Dominic Watson, Dr. Gina Lathan and Kevin Lust will talk about the challenges, successes, opportunities and resources available to help grow local Black-owned businesses in Springfield.

DATE: Friday, August 28

TIME: 12 PM - 1:00 PM


  • Bruce Sommer, Director of Economic Development and Innovation at UIS - Current Economic Conditions and the Unequal Impact of the Current Recession

  • Ken Kriz, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration at UIS - Local Opportunities and Resources for Black-Owned Businesses - 217 Black Businesses Month

  • Dominic Watkins, President of Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce

  • Gina Lathan, PhD, MPH, President of Rout History

  • Kevin Lust, Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield

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