Then there is Jacksonville, Fla. Its recent disparity study is being held up by the City Council. Black and Hispanic groups have come together to demand the implementation of the study, which clearly shows Blacks and Hispanics terribly underutilized. I think the city’s Black mayor ought to step up sooner rather than later.
There are many cities and states which are recalcitrant in complying with Title VI, and the two rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court. We have run out of patience. The National Black Chamber of Commerce, led by our chair, Dorothy Leavell, is going to go on the offensive. We are going to call out entities such as those mentioned above and put public exposure and pressure on these elected officials who are timid about addressing discrimination. My Lord! It has been 153 years since the Civil War began and slavery was finally condemned. Full citizenship is our demand.
Most cities with the biggest problem are without a functional Black chamber of commerce. If they do have one, it needs to step up its value to the local community and get involved or just shut itself down. The three poorest big cities with large Black populations are Detroit, Cleveland and Cincinnati. That makes sense since none of these cities have a really functional Black chamber of commerce whose focus is on Black business development.
Let’s stand up and make these programs work. It is on our shoulders and it is time to march.
Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO, of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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