Following the tragic death of George Floyd, the Arlington Community Church was moved to initiate a program known as the 'Black Wealth Builders Fund,' which provides financial assistance to African Americans so that they can buy homes. It has been reported that the church immediately gathered hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tragic Death of George Floyd
A Black man named George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, by a white Minneapolis police officer named Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on his neck for approximately ten minutes. According to History, the incident, witnessed by several people and recorded, sparked what has the potential to be the most significant protest movement in the History of the United States and a statewide reckoning on race and policing. Floyd, originally from Houston and a father to five children, had reportedly purchased smokes at a convenience store in Minneapolis.
The store manager contacted the authorities after an employee raised the possibility that Floyd had used fake twenty-dollar money during the purchase. The victim first cooperated with the police as they attempted to arrest him after they pulled a gun on him when they got to the scene. Floyd, on the other hand, fought against being put in the police car and claimed that he had claustrophobia. At some point, the officers could take him out of the vehicle, and Chauvin held him down on the sidewalk for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. He was reportedly lifeless when an ambulance arrived, and medical staff at the nearby hospital confirmed that he had passed away.
Moreover, BBC News reported that last May 2021, Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of numerous offenses, including murder in the second degree. His attorney defined the crime as "an error that was made in good faith" while he was on trial. Chauvin was also instructed to establish himself as a dangerous offender and was given a lifetime prohibition against firearms ownership. As mentioned, George Floyd's civil rights were violated, and Chauvin and three other former police officers have each been charged with this.
'Black Wealth Builders Fund' Project of Arlington Community Church
The Arlington Community Church is a member of the United Church of Christ, has a long history of advocating for social justice, and runs nursery schools on the premises. Richmond Standard reported that the congregation quickly established the 'Black Wealth Builders Fund' after Floyd's death. This program assists "our Black neighbors in purchasing homes," according to a member of the congregation named Susan Russell. Support with the deposit, closing expenses, and other expenditures associated with purchasing a property are all eligible uses for the zero-interest loans available up to a maximum of $20,000 through this program, designed specifically for first-time Black homebuyers. In addition, loans are made available to Contra Costa and Alameda Counties residents, with Solano County being added to the list of possible future service areas.
Furthermore, assisting members of the Black community in becoming first-time homeowners appeared to be the best course of action. The congregation members, members of other churches in Berkeley, Lafayette, and Alameda, and a sizeable contribution from the California Association of Realtors all contributed to the fund when it was first established in 2021. The total amount initially raised for the fund was roughly $330,000. According to Russell, the Black Wealth Builders Fund is a donor-advised fund managed by RCF Connects, originally known as the Richmond Community Foundation. "Reaching out to Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services and signing up for their first-time homebuyers' program" is the first step to getting a loan, Russell said. She also asserted that Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services provides a program for first-time homebuyers "that all of our applicants have completed."