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Marcus Coleman, A.J. Enchill and Auric Enchill–all Berkshire-based alumni of the DLE Annual Retreat–received the exciting news in late October. They had submitted a detailed proposal to integrate the Black, Indigenous, Immigrant, and People of Color (BIPOC) and low-income communities into the Pittsfield economy as workers and entrepreneurs through economic justice. They received a $25,000 grant to survey, study and support the Berkshire community’s needs and provide capital and technical assistance to support BIPOC entrepreneurism.
LELE stands for Leaders for Equitable Local Economies. Introduced by the Boston Fed in 2021, the LELE initiative works to empower emerging leaders to develop and test local strategies to advance racial equity in their cities. LELE aims to offer the time, space and resources to allow good ideas from often unheard voices to become effective policy.
“The goal of our partnership with the Boston Fed is to start the process to eliminate the need for systemic aid in the BIPOC community,” notes Marcus, who is a Registered Client Service Associate at Park Square Financial Advisors of Raymond James. “Capitalism has taken more people out of poverty than aid has ever done or ever will. However, historically in the United States, the BIPOC community, in particular African Americans, have faced labor market discrimination, housing market discrimination and limited access to the same investment, banking and tax credits as white households. This has made it difficult for BIPOC households to participate in capitalism fully.”
Auric is the Sales Manager for Pittsfield, (MA)-based Elegant Stitches, while A.J. is the District Aide for (MA) State Senator Adam Hinds. Additionally, Marcus, Auric and AJ have leadership positions with the Berkshire Black Economic Council.
DLE Founder Linda Dulye will serve as an advisor to the trio’s LELE initiative, developing and delivering career-readiness coaching and training.