What are your thoughts on the state of our nation when it pertains to the importance of equality?
Darinisha Williams, Founder & CEO of Think Like Royalty Inc. and Ms. California United States, 2020
Representation matters, right? In the pageant world we are just now seeing so many beautiful queens of color winning, and it’s a beautiful thing. Color is beautiful simply because when you see yourself on stage and you’re able to identify with that person, it makes you want to aspire to do more. It makes you feel as though, “Hey, I could do it, too.” Using the pageant queens as an example, it was so great to see them on stage, because I saw myself and my daughter. I want my daughter to see herself in all different aspects of the world, whether it’s pageantry, whether it’s being an engineer, whether it’s being a lawyer, whether it’s being a teacher, all of those different avenues of life. I want her to see herself in any type of career. So, I believe people of color should be at the forefront. Because like I said, it matters to our children to see themselves so they can aspire to be more and do more.
Verlen Mitchell, CEO & Founder of Ship District Inc.
As far as inequality in our nation [goes], it’s something that has always been around. I’m African American, so a lot of what’s going on isn’t new to me. It’s unfortunate, but we can’t sit here and pretend that this problem hasn’t always been here. But I think it’s escalating to a point where it hasn’t been previously due to social media. Because of that, we are able to see things from normal people’s perspectives that see these things all the time. And as a society, we just have to do better in general. How do we do that? By focusing on the problems that can be solved instead of the violence. We also need to come together fundamentally. Like, doing business down here in LA, we’re breaking barriers. In the fashion district of downtown LA, we’re pretty much the only African American owned business on our spot and we’re doing business with different cultures. We have a variety of different clients. For all to do this, it’s going to take a lot, and we don’t have all the answers; but I think if we come together fundamentally and do more together, then there wouldn’t be too much inequality.
Crystal Bain, Insurance Franchise Broker and CFO of C&B Legacy Group
When it comes to people of color, a majority of our people are starting behind. I believe they are at a disadvantage when it comes to some of our counterparts due to our history and years of oppression. But I’m also a firm believer that if you want it, you can go and get it. I am a testament to that, and that is due to my upbringing and my environment. It also may be possible that I wouldn’t be in the situation that I am in today if it wasn’t due to that. But you cannot be a victim of your environment. It’s up to you to change it. It may not be easy, and sure, everybody doesn’t know about entrepreneurship, but there’s opportunity out there. So, I do believe there is inequality, and I do believe that there are people who are less fortunate due to the years of systematic racism and oppression, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. It doesn’t mean we have to remain victims of our environments and victims of what’s happened. There is equal opportunity out there. But you have to seek it in order to get it. And once you have that burning desire, I believe God will align things in your path for you to be able to get it and come out.