Basketball legend, Magic Johnson Courtesy Photo

Los Angeles thrives on small business, COVID-19 has shown how the economy grew deep roots that are ingrained in the health of small business sectors. Amid a wave of social awakenings, there has been an intersection of small business and racial disparities colliding into a bigger problem.

Basketball legend, Magic Johnson and President of U.S. Commercial Business at Cigna, Mike Triplett teamed up to lead the conversation on the effects of a global pandemic in Black, LatinX, and woman-owned businesses. Through this roundtable, the collaboration for change is looking to make a ripple affect across the county, and eventually made aware across the nation.

Johnson explained there was no surprise to the major differences in impact among ethnicities. He studied the numbers and painted the research in real time, “We lost 41% of the members of Black business owners since the pandemic, and 32% decline in Hispanic businesses, and then 25% decline in women owned businesses.” Johnson continued, “Its so important that we first, try to keep the doors open for women-owned, Black-owned, and Hispanic-owned businesses.”

Triplett shared the collective thoughts at Cigna, the mission “as a global health service company, Cigna’s mission is to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those we serve by making health care simple, affordable, and predictable.”

Triplett emulated the grit needed to get into the trenches of racial disparity and fill those gaps with resources and tools of support and encouragement. “Small businesses are really the backbone of the society.” Triplett continued, “This pandemic has heightened the devastating impact on health disparities in real communities of color and underserved communities.”

The goal put simply, put the health of the community first. Johnson and Triplet wasted no time breaking down the severity levels and discrepancies among ethnicities and the wellbeing of the staff and guests within small business. Johnson explained everyone should feel safe and healthy, those two characteristics must work together for the rest of the business to follow through.

According to the Cigna Press release Triplett stated, “Health is wealth; and for many minority and women-owned businesses, the key to economic prosperity is to ensure they have and maintain a healthy and vibrant workforce,” He continued, “Today’s intersection of health, economic and racial crises motivated us to take definitive action to partner with these small and mid-size businesses by improving the health and productivity of their workforce – many of whom are from underserved communities. We are excited to team up with the legendary Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson to bring our new initiative to the market.”

U.S. Commercial Business at Cigna, Mike Triplett Courtesy Photo

Johnson has been a long-time advocate for the betterment of life for everyone, he referenced his own health. The only way he has remained well is due to the information given to him. He has modeled this initiative with the same level of power and energy given to the community. Johnson said, “Its so important that people can have jobs in their own communities so they can take care of themselves and their families…”

“They play a vital part, role in our community because they bring so many products and services to the people who live in those same communities,“ Johnson went on to explain that the groups of businesses, generally hire from within their environment, bringing more activity within that area.

Triplett shared a universal message of social responsibility, on October 20. Magic Johnson Enterprises and Cigna launched community-driven series of customized health programs for businesses in Los Angeles. It’s put in place to meet the Health officer orders, designed to meet each sectors unique needs. These programs are created to build a better foundation for everyone involved, and then implant a stake of equality within each compound of the community.

Focusing on the business isn’t enough anymore, people need to feel support and safe in order to stay active. Johnson and Triplett are making their way to showing up in any way they can. By educating and investing in the right tools needed to be aligned with official health officer orders. There is a lot to go into protecting staff and grouping, but it is needed for flattening the curve.

Being at the forefront of the initiative, Cigna are developing customized health plans for companies with more than 25 employees. Some of the key benefits include convenient access to quality care and whole person health services which would also include mental health services

Presently there is more meaning behind health; it also means that you care. Johnson and Triplett have shown up and amplified pressing issues. They will continue working on unique ways to establish opportunities for underrepresented ethnicities that also contribute to the health of the economy. As these businesses continue to grow into society, the community will start producing new support among themselves and thus moving forward to the power of unity.