New York Stock Exchange (Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

Wall Street is raking in large profits as the economy crawls back from the recession. Colorlines editor Imara Jones says that this abundance isn't raining down on all Americans, but it is possible to change that. 

#1 Local Is Everything

One way to strengthen communities is to keep profits close to home. That’s the goal of the alternative currency movement.

What is alternative currency? It’s money that can be used within a specific geographic area, amongst specific businesses.

Take for example Berkshares, which serve as an alternative currency for the Berkshire region in Western Massachusetts. They’re backed by five local banks and accepted at over 400 local enterprises. This is how it works: An individual takes U.S. dollars to a local bank, buys Berkshares at a discount (you get 5 percent more than the value in dollars), and then uses Berkshares to purchase goods and services at the local companies that accept them. The upside is that the benefits of economic activity remain in the place where you live and work. Started in 2006, Berkshares are going strong, with similar experiments across the country underway.

Read Imara Jones' entire article at Colorlines.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.