As we wrap another year of service to the 300,000+ Black-owned businesses in Texas and prepare to launch into a new decade, it may be just the right time to refresh our public on just why we do what we do.
The Texas Association of African American Chambers of Commerce is a thirty-two year old organization formed by the – now 24 – Black chambers of commerce operating in our state to advocate on their and their members behalf, primarily in Austin, but to add our voice to theirs when the occasions arise in the cities and counties where Black businesses conduct business. For the past decade, we have extended our reach – through our active involvement in the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. – to the nation’s capital in Washington, DC.
From our office in Austin, we spend significant time advocating for increases in contract awards to Black-owned businesses. We rely heavily on the membership of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, and interact directly with the governor, state agency executives and the procurement and HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) staffs of these agencies.
Why? Because the State of Texas spends tax revenue levied from Black Texans with ABSOLUTELY NO REGARD for an equitable return on our taxpayer investment. Our state has the largest Black population among the fifty states and the third most Black-owned businesses. Despite this presence in this dynamic marketplace and the huge sums of money expended to deliver valuable government services to Texans, Black-owned businesses come in virtually last in contract awards from state agencies.
This in no way excuses the obvious disparity in spending by corporate entities operating in Texas, or the cities, towns, counties, school districts, community college systems and other governmental and quasi-governmental agencies that levy resources from our pockets. That is precisely the advantage of a network of Black business organizations that stretches from the Panhandle to the Gulf Coast to the Piney Woods to North Texas and points in between. EVERYWHERE Black businesses operate in our state, owners experience the same glaring disparities and inequitable return. That’s why – in 2020 – you can expect to hear more from us and our member organizations across the state as we re-commit to improving the quality of life for Black Texans through increased business opportunities.
You can help by making support for Black-owned businesses part of your daily spending pattern, joining and supporting your local Black chamber, joining and supporting TAAACC and the work we do on behalf of ALL Black-owned businesses (whether chamber members or not!).
I’ll end with a quote from Harold Cruse that has become one of my favorites, particularly in light of the absolutely cuckoo political times we’re experiencing: “…. while it is true that ideologies move men, it is economics that feeds, clothes, and shelters them. If ideologies are not understood in terms of economics, then these ideologies are not understood at all.”
Harold Cruse – Rebellion Or Revolution
Charles O’Neal, President
“The Voice and Resource for Black Business”
807 Brazos – Suite 710
Austin, Texas 78701
US Black Chambers, Inc.
1701 K St. NW, Suite 1150
Washington, DC 20006