Inclusion in purchasing is important if Black Lives Matter

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

The revolution continues.  America is changing. Young people are leading.  They are boldly and bravely speaking out. There have been recent reports that Black students who attend Central Ohio’s private and suburban public school districts are posting on social media about the racism and microaggressions they experience daily while at school.

The district officials have publicly stated that they value all students enrolled in their schools.  I know the suburban public school districts value the tax revenue and sports acclaim and stadium receipts Black students bring.  District leaders have pledged that changes will be made.  Will those changes be reflected in the purchasing departments as well? An inclusive purchasing department reflects the valuing of Black lives.  

OhioMBE will be revamping up its Procurement Fair series.  The first virtual OhioMBE Procurement Fair will be August 19. An invitation will be forwarded to all local public school districts.  In the past, we have only received participation from Columbus City Schools and Grove Port Schools. Regularly, numerous requests have been made to Upper Arlington, Bexley, Whitehall,  Worthington, Westerville, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg, Olentangy, Grove City, and Gahanna to no avail. In six years of hosting the OhioMBE Procurement Fair, none (folks who are paid with tax dollars) have found the importance of meeting with small and Black-owned businesses.  I have received rude and possibly racist comments from some board members, superintendents, and purchasing agents when asking them to participate or send a representative.  Essentially, most suburban schools are practicing taxation without participation.  It can’t continue to be business as usual. If you live in the burbs, you may wish to challenge your elected school board on its purchasing inclusion policies, while they are asserting Black Lives Matter.  Black-owned business matter too!

All children need to see Black-owned businesses providing goods and services to their public school district.  

Just my thoughts…rwb

To the litigious: The First Amendment protects several basic freedoms in the United States including freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. It was part of the Bill of Rights that was added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.  The U.S. Constitution applies to Black Americans as well.  The views expressed in OhioMBE and the media outlets of The 912 Group are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views/opinions of The 912 Group, the editor, publisher, our staff, families, or our advertisers.

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