By Ronda Watson Barber
In the bustling streets of Columbus, a critical question lingers: Who’s truly advocating for Black-owned businesses? It’s not just about running companies; it’s about honoring a legacy, a history deeply rooted in our ancestors’ struggles.
Recently, Columbus City Council opened city contracts and certification programs to non-citizens. A step forward? Maybe. But where does this leave Black entrepreneurs, whose contributions are woven into the city’s fabric?
The Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is busy announcing their attempts at boosting the numbers of certified Women Business Enterprises (WBEs). Sounds great, right? Yet, scratch the surface, and you’ll find the reality for Black women entrepreneurs is far from rosy. Their utilization in business remains alarmingly low. Where’s the equity there?
Let’s talk about Columbus City Schools’ elected board and its superintendent. They’ve pledged to uphold an equity policy, but actions speak louder than words. A large number of their purchasing is funneled through a state cooperative program, heavily dominated by white-owned businesses. They pass legislation that overlooks Black-owned businesses, yet expect the Black community to shoulder tax increases. Does that sound fair?
Irony strikes when we see prominent figures like the President of City Council, Mayor Ginther, and the CCS Superintendent Angela Chapman commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Their actions contrast starkly with the principles Dr. King stood for. Isn’t this the epitome of hypocrisy? So, I ask again: Who is genuinely looking out for Black-owned businesses in Columbus? It’s time for real change, not just commemorative gestures. Let’s start turning our words into actions that truly honor and support the legacy and future of Black entrepreneurship in our city.
just my thoughts…rwb