The protests engulfing the country over the last month have not only raised overdue awareness of the criminal justice system, but that they are just a symptom of the legacy of government policies and institutional practices that have advanced and perpetuated racial inequality.
As a Baltimore-based law firm, we have reflected on ways that we can contribute to rooting out ingrained racial injustice in our local community. As a Baltimore-based business law firm, we think one way we are uniquely suited to assist is by addressing some of the drivers of economic disparity in the City’s Black community by expanding access to legal representation for new Black-owned businesses.
Starting a business is a financial risk. The risk is greater for those lacking financial safety nets to fall back upon. As 2017 report on the Racial Wealth Divide in Baltimore identified the poverty rate among “Black or African-American” Baltimoreans is 24.2%, while for “White” Baltimoreans, the rate is just 8.4%. Providing complimentary legal services to support Black entrepreneurs and their businesses can help ease the burden of the inordinate risk they face.
Accordingly, today, we at Rosenberg Martin Greenberg are proud to announce a new initiative: Building Black-Owned Businesses in Baltimore. On July 1st, we are opening submissions for Black-owned businesses in the Baltimore Metro Area to apply for complimentary legal services, which may include corporate advisory work, real estate needs, land use and zoning matters, or other assistance within our existing suite of services. Five businesses will be selected based on each applicant’s needs and the associated suite of services that will provide the most value.
We understand there is much more yet to do but we are committed to starting now in order to help our society better reflect social justice and economic opportunities for all.