A month before the Democratic presidential primaries, the US Black Chambers Inc. (USBC) made an early showing of how its members planned to vote this election season.
“For there to be a strong America, there must be a strong Black America, and in order for there to be a strong Black America, there must be strong Black businesses,” declared USBC President Ron Busby, flanked by a group of successful Black business owners, each of whom run companies generating in excess of $10 million annually. “We believe it’s of crucial importance to endorse a candidate who intends to expand access to capital, provide tax relief, and expand access to new markets for Black business owners…Hillary Clinton is the candidate that has the best understanding of the economic challenges facing Black business owners and has forward thinking priorities to alleviate the economic conditions facing Black Americans and Black Businesses.”
Beyond announcing its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President USBC has been off and running in 2016 with a full slate of activities, advocacy, and accolades.
Following President Obama’s latest Executive Actions to reduce gun violence, the USBC, a proponent of gun reform, declared “the correlation between economic disparity and gun violence is grossly missing from the national conversation on gun control.” According to Busby,”serious policies must be put in place to alleviate the economic conditions of those most impacted by gun violence. Policies that support the growth of Black owned enterprises, in an effort to create economic growth in communities devastated by crime and economic disparity.” To USBC, increasing Black-owned businesses is a logical and common sense approach to alleviating crime that is brought on by disparate economic conditions.
USBC’s mission is to provide committed, visionary leadership and advocacy in the realization of economic empowerment for Black Americans. It is an association of more than 100 self-sustaining viable Black Chambers and small business associations nationwide and serves close to 250,000 small businesses.
Even as USBC honored Black History Month by profiling Black entrepreneurs past and present each day of the month, it was honored as part of the AT&T 28 Days initiatives, which profiles Black trailblazers throughout history. Likewise, Roger Caldwell noted in an article published in the Westside Gazette, that “USBC was awarded as a Black Business Champion by the $50 Billion Empowerment Tour founders Maggie Anderson and Eugene Mitchell,” for their efforts and advocacy.
In addition to setting a #BankingBlack trend, also seen carried out by the likes of Rapper Killer Mike, Producer Jermaine Dupree, R&B Impresario Usher, USBC also visited Flint, Michigan in the wake of the lead poisoning water crisis. To Busby, economic vulnerability creates too create a cost for too many Black Americans, and the only way to ease the tide and reverse suffering is to create greater wealth in these communities. “Poverty makes communities vulnerable to injustices. There must be a mass effort to increase wealth in the Black community through business ownership, as a logical approach to alleviate vulnerability to injustices and man-made crises.”
In many ways, USBC and its leadership strive along the path articulated by Booker T. Washington: “It is easily seen, that if every member of the race should strive to make himself the most indispensable man in his community, and to be successful in business, however humble that business might be, he would contribute much toward smoothing the pathway of his own and future generations.”
The year is just starting, and if the past two months are any indication, USBC is looking to blaze trails and make an impact where ever they go.