Publisher’s Note: Black Businesses can’t succeed by bashing their advocates

By Ronda Watson Barber

Ronda Watson Barber, OhioMBE Publisher

Shame on the Central Ohio African American Chamber and the National Association of Minority Contractors Central Ohio Chapter for publicly disparaging the character and career of City of Columbus Chief Diversity Director Damita Brown.  I was shocked and disappointed to see recent correspondences forward by both organizations and a business owner to Mayor Andrew Ginther.  Wow!  So instead of meeting with Director Brown, the organizations who make claims of representing “Black Businesses” decided to take public pop shots at her.  Really?  Wow!  There wasn’t a better to voice their displeasure.  I don’t understand the upheaval. 

Columbus had a Black mayor during most of the timespan of the recently released disparity study.  Were Black folks and organizations publicly challenging his inclusion efforts?  How did Black businesses fare under the Coleman administration?  

A Black man was the first Chief Diversity Officer, did Black people and/or organizations pen derogatory letters to Mayor Andrew Ginther about his efforts?

So, what’s the beef?  Damita Brown has aided and assisted numerous Black-owned businesses, who now have the opportunity to create generational wealth, throughout her career at the Columbus Airports, Huntington Bank and the City of Columbus.  Folks seem to have forgotten about THAT Damita Brown.  She is more than qualified to lead the City of Columbus Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  She is a dedicated and innovative diversity and inclusion professional with over 15 years of experience in organizational leadership, strategic planning and community and government relations.  

So again, what’s the beef?  She’s a woman? She doesn’t hang out?  She’s not in a sorority? She’s a free thinker?  She’s a Godly woman?

The fight isn’t with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  The beef should be with departments, who have massive funding and contracts, who are not being inclusive in their purchasing efforts.

In the current state of times, Black folks have bigger issues than to fight each other.  Black businesses can’t succeed without helping each other.  We also can’t succeed by bashing our devoted dedicated advocates.

Just my thoughts…rwb

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