Looking ahead, Adeyemo emphasized that the Department of the Treasury was focusing on racial equity as a central goal of its approach to both economic recovery and long-term economic growth. To accomplish these goals, the deputy secretary pointed toward both policy initiatives and efforts to increase representation within the government. Going forward, the major policy initiative that Adeyemo promoted was an expansion of support for minority-owned small businesses to incorporate larger and more diverse minority-led economic institutions and activities. Treasury is going to focus “not only on Black and brown small businesses, but also Black and brown medium-sized businesses, Black and brown asset managers, Black and brown banks.”
The administration has allocated $9 billion to be channeled through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs) — “Black banks” — and Adeyemo has issued a memo to other departments across the administration urging them to deposit their money with these institutions and not simply with large majority-white banks.
The other focus of the Treasury is to increase representation within the department of people who are focused on promoting equity. This includes establishing a position of Counselor for Racial Equity, creating a Racial Equity Advisory Committee to hold the department accountable for fulfilling its promises and installing “long-standing career officials who are focused on equity so that equity is at the core of what the department does every day rather than something that happens when there are certain politicians in office.”
Speaking later with Blavity, Adeyemo reemphasized the importance of representation in positions within the Treasury and beyond. “You want to make sure that in the places where policy is being made, it’s being made by people who don’t only academically understand the issues but actually have lived experience in the communities,” Adeyemo told Blavity.