By Ronda Watson Barber
Today, I address a crucial and pressing issue – the advocacy for our Black businesses. It’s a pivotal moment, and our actions now will shape the future of minority entrepreneurship.
Alarmingly, there are forces actively working to undermine the progress and existence of Black businesses. What’s more disconcerting is that some officials, who themselves are Black and should understand our struggle, are promoting ‘race neutrality’ in purchasing decisions. This stance ignores the sacrifices made by countless Black individuals who fought for the positions these officials now hold. It’s a disregard of the strong Black shoulders upon which they stand.
These same officials seem to have forgotten the systemic racist policies that are still in force, policies that our ancestors bravely fought against. Their present actions are undoing the very programs designed to assist Black businesses.
So, what can we do? How do we advocate for ourselves and our businesses?
Firstly, consider joining an organization committed to fighting for equity for Black people. Solidarity in such groups amplifies our voice and strengthens our cause. In particular, the Columbus Branch of the NAACP, Central Ohio Black Caucus, and OhioMBE are pivotal organizations in this fight. Even a small donation to these groups can significantly aid their advocacy efforts and ensure that they continue to fight for the rights and interests of Black businesses.
A reliable source informed me that top City of Columbus officials, including Mayor Andrew Ginther, have shown indifference towards Black businesses, partly because they perceive a lack of financial support from our community in their campaigns. This indifference translates into a lack of advocacy for policies and legislation that benefit Black businesses.
Therefore, I urge you to make your presence felt. Attend City Council meetings. Stand united behind our community’s Black leadership. Sometimes, your presence alone, in numbers, makes a powerful statement.
Moreover, we must hold accountable those Black elected officials who vote against our interests. They should not be welcomed in Black spaces. Their votes against Black businesses should be a mark of dishonor, a reminder of their betrayal to the community. Remember their actions when it comes time to vote. They must realize that to “Solve Black problems, is to get Black votes”.
In conclusion, the time for action is now. Our businesses, our legacy, and our future depend on it. Let’s stand together, advocate for our rights, and ensure that our voices are heard loud and clear.
just my thoughts…rwb