Berkshire Bank’s Virtual Townhall Series “Reimagining America” Raises Critical Questions About the Economic Future of African American and Hispanic Communities

Last week’s two-part townhall series “Reimagining America,” hosted and livestreamed by Berkshire Bank and Reevx Labs, is now available for viewing online at “The Future of the Black Economy” and “The Future of Latinx Economy.” The important events brought together leading policy makers, economic experts and community bank executives to discuss the economic impact of COVID-19 on African American and Hispanic communities, and how we can work together to rebuild a stronger, more inclusive economy that ensures everyone thrives.

Malia Lazu, Executive Vice President and Chief Experience and Culture Officer at Berkshire Bank, said, “I would like to thank our panelists and moderators for contributing to an honest and constructive conversation about the significant racial injustices and economic inequities that exist in our country and how we can work together to build a more just society and inclusive economy. For those of us at Berkshire Bank, these discussions have been especially meaningful, affirming the bank’s commitment to serving and creating economic opportunities for all members of the communities where we operate, especially those in the Black and Brown communities who have been traditionally underserved by our industry.”

The Future of the Black Economy

Presented along with leading African-American news site, The Grio, “The Future Of The Black Economy” panel included U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA- 07), President & CEO of NAACP Derrick Johnson, former Dr. Minority Business Development Agency at the Dept. Of Commerce Courtland Cox and Berkshire Bank’s Executive Vice President & Chief Experience & Culture Officer, Malia Lazu. The event was moderated by Joy Reid, Host of AM Joy on MSNBC.

The June 4th discussion saw our panelists speak to the importance of public and private partnerships and how political power can be the foundation for building economic power in the Black community. Our experts also touched on the effectiveness of the country’s response to the effect of Covid-19 on the economy.

The Future of the Latinx Economy

The powerful conversations didn’t stop there. On June 5th, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Executive Director & Co-Founder of United We Dream Cristina Jimenez, and Entrepreneur & Builder Capitalist Nathalie Molina Niño joined Berkshire and Berkshire Bank’s Executive Vice President & Chief Experience & Culture Officer, Malia Lazu for “The Future Of The Latinx Economy.” Alicia Menendez, Anchor of MSNBC Live, moderated the event.

For some panelists the answers reside within the communities themselves. During this talk, the conversation developed around the idea of envisioning a “new normal” that unlocked the financial power of the Latinx community to drive the rebuild in the aftermath of Covid-19 and moving from beyond charity to business models that can sustain our communities of color.


Berkshire Bank is transforming into a 21st century community bank with $13.2 billion in assets. We are pursuing purpose driven performance based on our Be FIRST corporate responsibility culture.  

Headquartered in Boston, Berkshire Bank provides business and consumer banking, mortgage, wealth management, investment and insurance services through 130 branch offices in New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Commerce Bank, a division of Berkshire Bank. Berkshire Bank was awarded the Top Corporate Steward Citizen award by the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation in 2019. Berkshire Hills Bancorp (NYSE: BHLB) is the parent of Berkshire Bank. To learn more, visit, call 800- 773-5601 or follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and, LinkedIn.

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Jeffrey Mathews / Lindsay Barber
Gagnier Communications

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