January 26, 2022
from the ceo









Hi there! Welcome to the May/June business issue. Continuing the conversation around the racial wealth gap, I issued a call to you, our readers, to send in your thoughts about what we could do to bridge the gap in about 500 words. To my delight, we had several great entries. I’m pleased to share one with you now. We plan to share a couple more entries in subsequent issues.

Dee Dixon

Guest Columnist

Alicia Wallace-Smith    

The optimist in me believes there is a way to close the racial wealth gap. As a mother, with reflections of my own youth, my aim was to give my child the best, with love, education, experiences and discipline. If as a nation, we approached this question like a good parent raising many kids, would we limit the access to healthcare to some of our kids and only give the best care to our favorites? Of course not. Yet, I believe universal healthcare is a major factor impacting the wealth gap. With provisions that cover health from the cradle to the grave, meeting both preventative care as well as emergent care, and managed cost with pharmaceutical necessities, we would decrease the heavy cost of American healthcare by supporting a healthier population of people throughout our country. 

Why is it such a priority to bail out financial institutions, automotive collaborators and airlines, while making American citizens carry ridiculous college debt just to try and earn a decent living?  Forgive any college debt greater than $25,000 or that has been paid on for greater than 10 years. Additionally, by making higher education free would release people working for a better future from the financial bondage that adds stress and limits so many. When I was growing up, we had access to trade education to the middle and high school experience that gave students not interested in going to college options. 

Restoring trade education would also catapult us in the right direction in all areas of our great nation. If our teachers were paid like the rock stars many of them are, as a nation, we would not simply see school as our weeklong daycare. Let’s harness what we have learned during this pandemic and urge Congress to increase our investment in education, increase teacher’s pay and make teaching a desirable occupation in the US again. In doing so, we would exponentially improve competitive talent, innovations, and excellence throughout our nation. 

Finally, if we restore a sense of service to our youth before taking on all the responsibilities of adulthood, it will not take a pandemic for us to see each other in general and as an extension of one another regardless of race. Service in our nation’s armed services, community services, non-profit civil service have been taxed heavily during this pandemic. Meeting the needs of our communities and country build true pride and a level of accountability we need much more of. Our wealth gap is about more than money, it draws from how we prioritize our values and sense of responsibility.

Alisha Wallace-Smith

Dee Dixon

from the ceo
Meet Pride’s New Editor

Greetings. I’m pleased to introduce you to Pride Magazine’s new editor, Alicia Benjamin. This March women’s issue is her first foray with the Pride team, so help me welcome her.

Alicia was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. Some of you may already know her, as she has lived in Charlotte since 2007. She has a journalism degree from the University of Maryland and studied theater and film as a graduate student at Hunter College in New York.


A lover a film, Alicia is currently producing a podcast on Black women in film called “Sistaz on Film.” Her daughter, Giovanni, graduated from East Mecklenburg High School in 2020 and is a freshman at Furman University. Also, Alicia serves on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee.

Alicia Benjamin


Alicia states, “I’m passionate about writing and editing and I’m very fascinated with the people of Charlotte and excited to see the city grow. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Pride team and look forward to being a part of continuing to create Charlotte’s African American legacy in a vibrant and comprehensive way through the pages of Pride.”

More on the Racial Wealth Gap

As many of you may know, we focused on the racial wealth gap at our 28th annual Pride Awards last month. We debated the claim of whether blaming systemic racism hinders the Black community from building generational wealth. I’m still captivated by the significance of this statement. So much so, I just can’t seem to be able to move on. Surely, most would agree by now that systemic racism has and is a huge factor in preventing the Black community from building generational wealth. However, the question is (at least in my mind) — Why aren’t we doing more individually and collectively as African Americans to change the trajectory? Following are a couple of my personal thoughts as to why.


First, we (African Americans) absolutely don’t really know or understand our own history. In conjunction, we don’t understand the historical significance of institutional bias in our country and how it has and is impacting us to this very day. Believe me, my eyes were opened even wider as we did research in preparation for this year’s awards program. In addition, I was blown away by reading the book “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson. Every person in America, regardless of race, should read this book and it certainly should be required reading in high school and college. This book crushes it.


Second, we need a massive transformation of our thinking. No doubt, far too many of us are still living a “plantation” lifestyle. We are being dictated by powers that have us spending beyond our means with a complete lack of savings. Thus, some of us are consumed with so much debt, leaving a financial legacy for the next generation is like pouring an eight ounce glass of water on a raging forest fire.

In the meantime, be sure to read our cover story on Jada GrandyMock and learn how she bridged the wealth gap for herself and her family.


Until next time…..

Is There a Way to Close the Wealth Gap?

I have some ideas, but I first want to hear from you.

Email us your thoughts or ideas in 500 words or less to info@pridemagazine.net.


Subject: How We Can Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap (include your headshot and contact information)

(include your headshot and contact information)


(We may include your essay and photo in the May-June 2021 issue of Pride Magazine. Deadline to submit: March 26.)