By Ronda Watson Barber
I got to spend some time at the beach recently. It was nice to sit and watch the ocean. There were big waves and little ones. Some came to shore with impact and others gently rolled in. It was refreshing. It was peaceful. I came across these quotes when listening to podcasts. They inspired me.
· The elixir is living a life bigger than you – Viola Davis
· We are not treated in the same common way, to tell me not to talk about it, tells me to accept the inequity.– Rev. Al Sharpton
· Everything in my life is to be celebrated. – Viola Davis
· Opposition is a gift from God to bring out of you what is in you -Minister Louis Farrakhan.
· Impact over legacy – Yara Shahidi
I speak with business advocates on a regular basis. Some are dedicated to empowering and developing Black-owned businesses. Others view their positions as simply a nine-to-five job. There is an attack on purchasing programs that have goals or set-asides. Some business owners take advantage of inclusion programs. Some Black-owned business owners allow themselves to gamed. Unethical actions affect us all.
Some business advocates are fighting behind the scenes to see that Black-owned businesses are included in the purchasing decision. It is hard work. They are tired but committed. It can be an everyday fight. They walk into their offices with armor on ready to champion MBEs. They are also trying to change or enact policies to create a more inclusive environment. Support advocates who are looking out your business. Most diversity or outreach offices, don’t have big budgets. The fight isn’t with them. My father always told me you find out people’s priorities where they spend their money. The battle should be directed to department heads and elected officials. If you are afraid that the advocacy of YOUR business will cost you contracts. Ask yourself a couple of questions. Are you getting contracts? If not, advocacy couldn’t hurt. Are you a member of an organization that advocates for Black or women-owned businesses? Perhaps they have a common mission and will go to bat for your company.
Advocacy has its costs, please consider donating to the OhioMBE Legal Fund. https://www.gofundme.com/ohiombe-legal-fund
We have to defend our First Amendment Right to advocate for Black-owned businesses. Democracy and Advocacy aren’t free.
Just my thoughts…rwb