By Shirley Tarpley
NDG Staff Writer
The newly formed Southern Communities Investment Club has a purpose: Create jobs and opportunity for its members.
Linda Hayes, a successful realtor and longtime Dallas resident, is setting out to transform the southern sector of Dallas into a booming, economically robust community that has long been ignored and passed over. Hayes said she is concerned about the direction of the nation’s economy with the recent down grading of its bond rating, a Black unemployment rate of more than 16 percent – twice the national rate and a Black male unemployment rate of more than 17 percent.
“Everywhere people are talking about jobs, jobs, jobs,” Hayes said. “The fact is we haven’t seen anything for job creation in the southern sector. We’ve heard about businesses bringing jobs here, but I haven’t seen it.”
Instead of waiting for government officials or private companies to bring the jobs, Hayes founded the investment club to empower its residents to take control of their own destinies. Unlike past economic development efforts, the goal of the club is to pool financial resources of members to invest in new businesses directly help the residents of the southern sector – including south, west and east Dallas, Oak Cliff, Red Bird, Lancaster, Wilmer, Hutchins, Glenn Heights, Red Oak, DeSoto, Duncanville, Cedar Hill, and Grand Prairie.
She has spent the past several months talking to residents and business owners in southern Dallas who say they are tired of getting passed over.
“We hope when people start looking at relocating companies, they’ll look at the southern sector instead of Legacy Park, Plano or Las Colinas.”
Hayes’ vision is clear; she wants to create a multicultural version of “Black Wall Street,” reminiscent of the early 20thcentury Tulsa community that was bustling with Black-owned restaurants, banks, hotels, night clubs and other businesses. That Tulsa community became an oasis for many Blacks from the Deep South who fled their homes anyway they could to build a new life. The business district had humble beginnings, starting with a rooming house by O.W. Gurley, a wealthy Black Arkansas businessman who moved to Tulsa from Mississippi. Once in Tulsa, Gurley purchased a huge tract of land where he began to build one of the most historically significant African American communities the nation had ever seen. Within a few years, he built additional office buildings and homes for the growing population of Blacks. The community was rich with successful businesses and a community full of pride until whites burned it down during what has become known as the nation’s worst race riot in 1921. This year, the remaining survivors and other locals commemorated the 90th anniversary of the horrible riots, and the celebration of the success of those businessmen.
Hayes said the southern sector of Dallas – rich with a large housing stock, available land, solid African American middle and upper classes and growing Latino population – has all the right ingredients to become a vibrant community where residents can benefit from the best of all businesses and services, just like those businesses and services available in north Dallas.
The plan to address joblessness could not have come at a better time. The recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ by Standards & Poor’s rating agency has created a greater need to generate jobs. The weaker credit ratings will make it more difficult for minorities to obtain loans and jobs. In the president’s “Strategy for American Innovation,” he calls for “innovation-based economic growth will bring greater income, higher quality jobs, and improved health and quality of life to all U.S. citizens.”
When asked about President Obama’s interest in job creation Hayes says that, “The door is wide open for progressive minded innovative thinkers.”
She said that innovative creators of ideas and plans united together can make a tremendous difference.
“Yes, I love my fried chicken, soul food, my car kept clean at the community car wash, and I frequently get my hair done at the beauty shop,” Hayes said. “Such businesses do create jobs and are a part of our daily lives. However, I am referring to visions that are one of kind that offer needed solutions or services that transcend the community.
“It’s time to stop living as major consumers of products and services and become a community that owns early-stage interest in companies. Companies that we help start and also provide products and services to the world.”
Individuals interested in becoming members can attend one of two meetings slated for Saturday, Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. and 10:30 am at the Cedar Hill Recreation Center, 310 E. Parkerville Road in Cedar Hill.
During the meetings, executives from bSecurity Systems will tell business testimonial of the b-System Identity Management Systems LLC to SCIC attendees and to answer questions. The company is one of several potential businesses that the club is evaluating. bSecurity Systems LLC, founded by Dallas inventor Ray de Beasley, has been called one of the most innovative inventions designed to help protect people’s social security numbers. It has the potential to create more than 200,000 jobs and estimates that it could generate $148 billion annually, according to analysts’ projections. Hayes says she has spent many hours researching the company and talking to de Beasley to learn how this invention, if fully supported, could have a profound impact on the southern sector and the country.
ID management and fraud has become an increasingly troublesome problem for the country. The Federal Trade Commission reports that 9 million Americans are victims of ID fraud and reports that all categories of ID fraud are on the rise over the past two years. The agency has received 300,000 more complaints in 2009, up from 2007. Millions of Americans are losing money, time and even credibility as they try to recover from ID theft. Recently, the Presidential Identity Theft Task Force recommended to the public and private sector that there needs to be better methods to protect consumers from the misuse of SSNs.
Hayes said she has begun to review other businesses, particularly firms that will create jobs and economic development to the southern sector.
“We don’t want any idea, especially if it’s not going to help in southern Dallas,” she said. “If we think it’s something good for our community, we’ll go with it.”
Hayes is quick to caution those who are looking for a fast-buck investment scheme or some kind of multi-level marketing scenario. She said this is an investment club for those interested in long term, solid investments in the community.
“This is a small investment in the future of our community,” Hayes said. “I’m excited about the possibility of the changes. I’m praying that God will let me see the changes, and having southern Dallas look like north Dallas. I believe it’s going to happen.”
For individuals or businesses interested in learning more or presenting their ideas to SCIC, call 214-988-9226 or toll free 800-349-7187.