I am committed to using my training, skill, and platform to serve my community as an advocate on the issues I feel most passionate about. If you represent a non-profit organization and would like my support as an advocate or strategist in any of the following areas, please contact me to discuss exploring the alignment of our missions.
In communities across this country, people who lack wealth and access to political clout receive poor treatment in their interactions with civil and criminal authorities. Unfortunately, a person's home zip code is usually a strong predictor of their access to: employment opportunities; effective and adequately resourced schools; and proper healthcare. Often, these outcomes are also correlated with race and income. Isaiah 1:17 says, "Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, and plead the widow's cause."
Many of the most underserved communities are considered urban food deserts. They lack grocery stores that carry fresh and healthy produce within reasonable proximity. These same communities have been subject to prior discriminatory practices, including redlining and predatory lending. Redlining is a formerly rampant practice whereby banks and other lenders implemented policies and practices that excluded certain communities - mostly minorities - from access to loans to which they would otherwise be qualified. Predatory lending is the practice of targeting certain communities for abusive and wealth destroying practices like unfair fees, wrongful foreclosure, and misapplication of payments. Community empowerment programs and policies aimed at economic justice, for the communities that have been harmed by generations of systemic abuses and neglect, are critical for true change.
Health and Wellness
Chronic illness and disproportionately poor medical outcomes are also highly correlated with lower income and minority communities. Federal programs like the Affordable Care Act have been targeted for dismantling although they are the only source of insurance for many low income and minority working families. There have been active disinformation campaigns to marginalize these safeguard programs, and some states and communities have failed to provide adequate information for enrollment.
Meanwhile, mental health and addiction issues are treated in a vastly different way from community to community and person to person - largely based on wealth and ethnicity. Addiction and mental health issues are often handled by law enforcement and criminal authorities for poor people and people of poor of color. These same issues are viewed as a public health crisis when those struggling are wealthier individuals. Justice requires that our society treat mental health and addiction issues as serious healthcare concerns for all people.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is credited with saying, "Until we have equality in education, we won't have an equal society."
We have made significant strides during the past 60 years in improving educational access to people in predominantly low income and minority communities. Still we have much more work to do to overcome 350 years discriminatory policies and practices.
Our focus cannot simply be on providing basic access to education, but we must ensure that all students receive real opportunities to learn the skills necessary to compete and excel in the future economy.
Olaide Banks is an artist and attorney, who currently lives in Houston, Texas.
He is a practicing attorney and Corporate Fellow in the MBA Program at the University of Houston Downtown.
Prior to releasing his debut EP, "The Story" in 2018, he worked exclusively behind the scenes in the music industry in artist development, songwriting and management.
Mr. Banks is also a national lecturer with Halfmoon Seminars in the areas of construction and contract law.
He serves in several community education programs, including the Kingdom Builders' Construction Contractor's College at Windsor Village UMC. He is board member of Eyes On Me, Inc. - a Houston-based non-profit serving at risk children in predominantly low income communities.
Mr. Banks is available as a keynote speaker on the topic of "Strategic Excellence" for small and medium-sized businesses.