As the events unfold in Charlotte in the aftermath of the murder of Keith Scott — another Black man by police — questions arise as to what it will take to bring about real change in the realm of racial justice in North Carolina, and the role that corporate America will take.
As part of the so-called “new” South, with a large corporate presence and urban professional transplants from the North, the state wants to have it both ways. President Obama won North Carolina in the 2008 election, and a city such as Charlotte represents growth, progress and diversity, as The Washington Post reported, with “buttoned-up business (a banking center, an airline and retail hub), a multicultural melting pot and a farm-to-table haven.”
And yet, the state has elected a Republican-led, white supremacist state government, with a governor and a legislature that has sought the wholesale deprivation of Black voting rights, leading to the NAACP-led Moral Mondays movement.
Then there is the so-called “bathroom bill” known as HB2, which challenges a Charlotte city ordinance regarding gender-neutral bathrooms. And while the legislation has been known as an anti-LGBT law, it also eviscerated local ordinances, making it illegal for localities to expand the protections of state laws governing minimum wage standards, job discrimination and public accommodations, as the Charlotte Observer noted.
So while North Carolina had positioned itself as more cosmopolitan, progressive and tolerant than its neighbor bordering to its South — South Carolina, which had been embroiled in a Confederate flag debate of late — the state has paid a price with HB2.
According to Facing South, while state officials wish to downplay its impact, a corporate boycott of North Carolina has led to losses in the tens of millions of dollars. Over 200 companies and organizations have expressed their opposition to HB2, and they are taking their business out of the Tar Heel state. For example, PayPal canceled its planned $3.5 million complex, Deutsche Bank placed a corporate expansion on hold, and the NBA will take its All-Star Game elsewhere. The purpose of this and other boycotts, Facing South noted, is “to raise the economic and political costs of doing business as usual, to the point that decision-makers — whether lawmakers or corporate CEOs — are forced to change course.”
But what will it take for corporate America to respond to the calls for racial justice, in the midst of police violence against Black people? If they can take a stand against HB2, certainly these companies can demand that local and state governments do more and enact reforms if they want the dollars to continue flowing.
With a high-profile police killing and a continued effort at Black voter suppression — despite a Supreme Court decision rejecting North Carolina’s voter ID law and other voter restrictions — the time seems perfect for corporations to use their political muscle to benefit Black folks. White reactionary lawmakers believe they can get away with disrespecting African-Americans. For example, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, who represents parts of Charlotte and its suburbs, said Blacks are protesting in Charlotte because “they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” as NBC News reported.
And in some cases, with blood on their hands through their role in profiting from slavery, these North Carolina-based companies have a debt to pay Black people. For example, Bank of America admitted its ties to slavery, as two of its predecessor banks had dealings with the slave trade, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Further, a third predecessor accepted slaves as collateral on loans, as Your Black World Today reported. Two companies that were incorporated into Wachovia — now owned by Wells Fargo — owned slaves and accepted them as collateral on loans or mortgages. And the founder of R.J. Reynolds, Richard Joshua Reynolds, came from a large slave-owning family of tobacco farmers. These companies can, at a minimum, support a boycott in North Carolina and a movement around racial justice, and provide support to the descendants of enslaved people in the form of employment, scholarships and community programs.
Writing an editorial in NBC News, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II — president of the North Carolina NAACP and founder of the Moral Mondays movement — summed it up best when he called the riots in Charlotte “the predictable response of human beings who are drowning in systemic injustice.” It is not about Black people hating the police, he noted, but rather people of all races “rising up against systems of injustice that shield officers who kill but leave millions defenseless.”
Declaring that “it’s the ballot or the riot,” Rev. Barber wrote that as hopeless as things may seem, we know what needs to be done to change the conditions that led to Keith Scott’s death.
“Right here in North Carolina, we have seen how people impacted by unjust policies can come together in coalitions across color and lift up a moral agenda that embraces the good of the whole,” he said. “This kind of coalition movement building is not easy, and we cannot win the change we need in a single election. But every step forward in this nation’s history has come from movements like this one.”
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
There are about 8 million minority-owned businesses in the United States, according to a 2012 survey by the Census Bureau. Of these, about 2.5 million are owned by African-Americans. African-American-owned firms account for about 10 percent of the approximately 27 million in total of U.S businesses. These black-owned firms raked in more than $185 billion in gross receipts and had more than a million people on their payrolls, the Census Bureau reports. This compares to total gross receipts of $1.6 trillion for all minority-owned firms, and $33.5 trillion for all U.S. firms.
Here’s a look the top revenue of these black-owned businesses for 2014, by revenue, based on a ranking by Black Enterprise magazine. Several of these firms are suppliers to the automotive industry, while there are also a few enterprises in the food services industry. (See also: Auto Parts Suppliers Benefit From Growing DIY Trend.)
- World Wide Technology, Inc., a Maryland Heights, Mo-based IT products and services firm, was started in 1990 by David Steward, who remains chairman of the board. This firm enables its customers to implement technology. With more than $6 billion in revenue at the end of 2013, the firm employs about 3,000 people.
- ACT-1 Group, Inc. a business founded by Janice Bryant Howroyd in 1978, is a global firm that helps other businesses manage their workforce and employment needs. Based in Torrance, Calif., the firm started off as an employment agency. As of 2013, the firm employed more than 2,000 people and its revenues were about $2.2 billion.
- Bridgewater Interiors, LLC a Detroit-based firm, is in the business of supplying automotive parts. Founded in 1998 and led by CEO Ronald Hall, Sr., the firm is a joint venture between Epsilon Technologies and Johnson Controls, Inc. With an employee base of about 1,500, the firm generated $1.5 billion in revenue at yearend 2013.
- Modular Assembly Innovations LLC is another firm in the automotive parts manufacturing business, Modular Assembly Innovations is based in Dublin, Ohio, with CEO Billy Vickers at the helm. The firm employs about 250 people and enjoyed revenues of about $1.2 billion at the end of 2013.
- Manna Inc., a Louisville, Ky.-based company makes its money as a fast food franchise business. Led by CEO Ulysses Bridgeman, Jr., this firm is now the second-largest Wendy’s franchise owner in the United States, according to Louisville Business News. Employing about 14,000 people, the firm enjoyed revenues of about $630 million in 2013.
- The Anderson-Dubose Company is another black-owned firm whose success is based in the food industry. This Lordstown, Ohio-based firm is engaged in the business of providing food and paper supplies to McDonald’s and Chipotle restaurants. Under CEO Warren E. Anderson, the firm employed about 400 people and generated about $545 million in revenue in 2013.
- Detroit-based Global Automotive Alliance, LLC an automotive parts supplier, started off in 1999 as an alliance of participating companies that did business with automobile manufacturers. Under CEO William F. Pickard, the company employed about 1400 people and made about $520 million in revenue as of 2013.
- Reston, Va.-based Thompson Hospitality is in the food services and restaurant business, providing contracted food services to corporations and also running its own restaurants. CEO Warren Thompson started off in 1992 by buying up 31 restaurants. As of 2013, the firm employed more than 4,000 people and had about $485 million in revenues.
- While Radio One, Inc. (ROIAK) is a publicly traded company with a market capitalization of about $90 million, listed on the NASDAQ exchange, Black Enterprise reports that the majority of the company’s voting stock is held by African-Americans. This Silver Spring, Md.-based company is primarily in the radio broadcasting business, with African-Americans as its core target audience.The firm, whose CEO is Alfred Liggins, III, employs more than 1,000 people. In 2013, the firm’s revenues were about $450 million.
10. Based in Warren, Mich., SET Enterprises, Inc., provides metal processing services. Its customer base is primarily in the automotive industry. Under the leadership of CEO Sid E. Taylor, the firm employed around 400 people and generated about $400 million in revenue as of 2013.
Another black-owned business to watch, even though it is not big enough right now to make the Black Enterprise list, is Patti LaBelle’s food empire. LaBelle’s sweet potato pies have been selling very fast this Thanksgiving season, generating about $1 million in sales at Walmart stores just over one November weekend. Also of note, Harpo Productions Inc. is a multimedia empire founded by renowned entrepreneur and celebrated media celebrity Oprah Winfrey.
The Bottom Line
Black-owned businesses account for about 10 percent of U.S. businesses, and about 30 percent of all minority-owned businesses. Looking at the top 10 black-owned businesses by revenue, a number of these firms find their success in the automotive supplies niche and the food industry. Most of these firms were established in the last few decades, and many are still led by their entrepreneurial founders. Annual revenue of these top 10 firms ranges from a high of $6 billion to a low of around $400 million. Most of these companies are based in the Midwest, South, or Washington, DC metropolitan area, with an exception being ACT-1 Group, Inc based in Torrance, California and founded by notable female entrepreneur Janice Bryant Howroyd. Other remarkable black female entrepreneurs include Patti LaBelle and of course Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful and successful media entrepreneurs in American history.
To read more click or copy link: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/121615/top-10-africanamerican-owned-businesses.aspPost Views: 457
The remarkable story of John Vashon Seaman, war hero, POW, abolitionist, businessman, he was one of Pittsburgh’s earliest black leaders but is little known todayBy Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
I was only a pre-school Negro boy growing up in Jim Crow-segregated St. Louis, Mo., when my sainted mother, Rosetta, gathered me close and reported, “The best school for Negroes in St. Louis is Vashon High School.” So it didn’t mean much to me.
I would not learn of the greatness of the Vashon name in ensuing decades until nearly 10 years after my arrival in Pittsburgh in 1999 — by way of St. Louis, New York City and Syracuse.
All the same, 2017 marks the 225th anniversary of the 1792 birth of seaman, veteran, war hero, prisoner of war, abolitionist, businessman and, very significantly, Pittsburgher John Bathan Vashon. Active in Pittsburgh from 1829 until the early 1850s, Mr. Vashon was one of the most accomplished Western Pennsylvanians of his day or, for that matter, any day. That he carried the status of African-American renders his achievements all the more astonishing.
Moreover, Mr. Vashon was a hero long before his arrival in Pittsburgh from Carlisle, Pa., and even before his arrival in Carlisle from the War of 1812 and from his native Norfolk, Va.Post Views: 298