COVID-19 shutdowns have pounded Black-owned businesses particularly hard. Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses—some 440,000 enterprises—have been shuttered by COVID-19, compared to just 17 percent of white-owned businesses.

“I knew it would be bad, but I didn’t think it would be this devastating,” says Robert W. Fairlie, author of the UC Santa Cruz report and a professor of economics at the university.

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