The members of the U.S Black Chambers Inc. recently concluded their national convention in Washington, DC, bolstered by a meeting with President Biden and strengthened ties forged between business, Civil Rights, and Faith leaders.
The White House Office of Public Engagement and National Economic Council also held a June 21st meeting with the leaders of the USBC to discuss the President’s plan to expand economic access to African-American businesses across the US.
But then President Biden walked into the room and greeted Ron Busby Sr. President and CEO of the Black Chambers Inc and other leaders in the organization that represents 120 Chamber of Commerce chapters across the country.
“This is an exciting time for the US Black Chamber and for our members across the country,” said Busby in an interview on the eve of the White House visit. “The US Black Chamber is about advocacy, access to capital. contracting opportunities and chamber development.”
The White House statement talked about the meeting between Biden and the African-American business leaders, which comes at a time when Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris has been rallying the party’s African-American base as the 2024 Presidential election heats up.
“The President emphasized that, despite the progress being made, there is still work to be done to ensure equitable growth and wealth creation for communities of color,” the statement read.
President Donald Trump said this week that people who help people get into this country should get the death penalty and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spent the last week talking about the merits of slavery. But at the White House, Biden announced on Tuesday that monuments will be erected to remember Emmett Till, murdered by White supremacists at the age of 14. Today, July 25, would've been Till's 82nd birthday. In April, Carolyn Bryant Donham, the white woman whose allegations resulted in Tills brutal death, died of cancer in a Louisiana hospice. She was 88.
During the USBC National Conference, Donald R. Cravins, Jr., the first African-American to serve as Under Secretary of the Department of Commerce for Minority Business Development signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to enhance economic opportunities for African-American-owned businesses through capital and contracting opportunities.
On July 20, Rev. Frederick Haynes, the new President of the Rainbow-Push Coalition, spoke at the US Black Chambers convention where he said the Montgomery Bus Boycott was effective because of Civil Rights activist “tree shakers,” and business leaders, “Jelly makers,” who work together for 381 days.
“The tree shaking changes the system, but have you forgotten about the jelly-making,” Haynes asked during his keynote speech. “While they did tree shaking in boycotting the buses they did some jelly making. They refused to ride the buses so they organized a carpooling system. The carpool system was over before it was Uber.” In an interview, Haynes said, “If we can build a Black Wall Street back then (In Tulsa) we can build a Black Wall Street from San Francisco to DC and from Harlem to Houston as a sign of the future of Black Business.” Earlier this month, the USBC honored two of the three living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921. In the wake of a decision by a Donald Trump-appointed judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Judge Caroline Wall threw out the lawsuit that would have required the city and others to pay for the destruction of the Black business District named Greenwood. One of the survivors was Ms. Viola Fletcher, who was seven on the day of the attack. Today she is 109.
"The dismissal of the lawsuit seeking reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre is a disappointing setback in the ongoing fight for justice and equity.,” Busby said in a statement after the judge's ruling. “ The events of that tragic day in 1921 continue to reverberate through generations, and the denial of reparations further compounds the deep-rooted wounds suffered by the Black community.”
Busby said the USBC has established the Women's Business Center in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, in the heart of The Greenwood District, which serves as a vital resource for small businesses in the area.
Busby said, "Our Women's Business Center in The Greenwood District stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering economic development and empowerment.”
As the new head of Rainbow Push, Haynes said one of his major efforts will be to organize a protest in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a Donald Trump-appointed judge blocked payments to descendants of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
Dr. Ben Chavis, a Civil Rights veteran and president/CEO of the National Newspaper Association, said in an interview, “We should learn from our history and not necessarily repeat our history. When we find points that we can work together with, we should do it so we can be much more effective.”