Publisher’s Note: Empowerment and Advocacy: Reflecting on Franklin County’s Diversity Conference

By Ronda Watson Barber
OhioMBE Publisher

As the publisher of OhioMBE, attending the Franklin County Diversity Conference was not just an event, but a reaffirmation of my commitment to advocating for Black-owned businesses. I had the privilege of listening to the keynote speaker, LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter, whose words resonated deeply with me. Her message about being a light in darkness, even if it’s just a speckle, struck a chord. Her passion and dedication are truly inspiring.

The conference itself was a remarkable experience. Congratulations to the organizing team for creating such an informed and impactful event. As I listened to LaTosha, I found myself completely engrossed, fan-girling over her eloquence and the power of her message. It was an uplifting experience that left me even more inspired to continue the work I’ve been doing with OhioMBE since 2009.

Being the publisher of Ohio’s largest Black-owned business newspaper is a role I hold with great honor and humility. It’s more than just a job for me; it’s a life’s calling. Advocating for Black-owned businesses isn’t something I do as a political appointee or a side task. I am an expert and a dedicated advocate, wholly committed to this cause. This work is my life story, not just a 9 to 5 job.

A mentor once told me that someone needs to wake up every day with the mission of advocating for Black businesses. I’ve taken this advice to heart and approach my role with utmost seriousness. OhioMBE isn’t just a publication; it’s a voice for the issues impacting Black businesses. We stand firm on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Black businesses matter, and we will continue to champion purchasing inclusion.

Our efforts at OhioMBE might not be recognized with fancy awards or acknowledgments, but that does not deter us. Our grassroots efforts are focused on empowering Black-owned businesses, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met. This is not just work for us; it’s a commitment to a cause that is too important to be left unaddressed, particularly by novices. Diversity, inclusion, and the success of Black businesses will always be at the forefront of our mission at OhioMBE.

just my thoughts…rwb


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