Nancy Flake Johnson became president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta in 2008. She has also served as vice president of Programs for the Detroit Urban League and led Howard University’s Small Business Development Center. Johnson, a Howard University and DePaul University graduate, promotes empowering people and communities as well as economic and social justice. She and her team have earned a reputation for delivering impactful programs that focus on education, economic mobility and development in black communities, economic impact policy, as well as public and private sector partnerships.
Rolling out’s CEO Munson Steed, sat with Nancy for a virtual conversation around the current and future plans Atlanta’s Urban League has for the black community.
What are the pressing issues for the Urban League?
Well, if we start with the basics of the urban movement, pre-COVID, we had half our people on our agenda, because so many are economically unstable. The pandemic pulled the curtain back. And now everybody knows that we have these huge pockets in the wealth gap and it’s a racial wealth gap. We’ve been bearing the brunt of the racial, economic and social justice and wealth gaps since we first hit the soil.
What realizations did the COVID-19 pandemic bring to light?
When the pandemic hit and realizing it’s been a pandemic, not only from a health perspective that has been disproportionately impacting black lives. It’s impacted not only families but small businesses and communities at large. It’s actually been there all along. And then you add to that, this all-out attack on our democracy, that’s really everything, right? Because if we end up with our votes, not counting, that’s a wrap for us – then everything else falls apart.