Updated: Aug 22, 2019
The U.S. Census Bureau found that between 2010 and 2017, the fastest-growing racial group in Minnesota was the Black population, which grew by 29%, adding more than 80,000 people to the state. And over 80 percent of Black women are the primary breadwinners in their households. So when the organizers of Create Opportunity2020 gathered community groups serving the Black community at the Capitol last year to increase voter turnout 48 hours before the election, there was an obvious problem. The people who should've known the Black candidates, didn't.
"The election event was a blessing and a curse. We had all the right people in the room, but they never heard of the candidates or Create Opportunity 2020," says founder and sponsor Meredith Moore Crosby.
The volunteer-led, Create Opportunity 2020 initiative launched in 2018 with a mission to highlight the voices of women of color changing the world through their words and actions. The group quickly discovered the impact of the issue facing their community. For a year, the committee participated in workshops and events in Minneapolis and St. Paul to understand how to best coordinate Black women to avoid the trap of being undervalued and overlooked at work. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Leverette Weekes public relations and leadership coaching generously supported Create Opportunity 2020 by hosting events and activities in revitalized St. Paul, Minnesota.
The initiative wants to address the visibility gap and how it contributes to the pay gap. Black women are paid .63 cents on the dollar or 38% less than white men and 21% less than white women, according to a study published by the Institute of Women's Policy Research. Despite the growing national movement of Black women starting businesses at the fastest rate in the country, the gender pay gap will cost her $850,000 in wages compared to white men's earnings over 40 years.
As the country prepares for next year's U.S. presidential election, Create Opportunity 2020 is changing the name to VisibilityMatters.us to shine the light on the next generation of Black women leaders. VisibilityMatters.us will continue to connect talented Black women entrepreneurs, leaders, and advocates across industries for training and networking. VisibilityMatters.us website visitors, podcast listeners, and digital community will learn the effective communications and negotiation skills to attract national media attention and showcase the diversity of Minnesota.
"Because Visibility Matters we're retiring the name Create Opportunity 2020 and relaunching with a name that fits," says Crosby. "We selected VisibilityMatters.US because we believe every woman has the right to be seen."
For more information and to join the movement, visit visbilitymatters.us.