The Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC), www.oaacc.org, joined more than 140 Black chamber presidents from across the nation, in a virtual conversation on February 5, with U.S. Vice Pres. Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to discuss the American Rescue Plan.
Moderated by Ron Busby, president and CEO of U.S. Black Chambers, INC., the nearly hour-long exchange, placed emphasis squarely on restoring the U.S. economy to full capacity, particularly Black-owned businesses, a sector hardest hit during the COVID19 health pandemic.
One of four speakers, Cathy Adams, OAACC’s president and CEO, said of the chamber’s virtual seat at the table, “We addressed the urgency of keeping our local businesses afloat, further, restoring them to a level of sufficiency. The latter is critical to help our businesses build back better, here in the Bay Area.”
Adams also punctuated a critical area affecting the African-American community more broadly, stating, “Vice President Harris encouraged all chamber leaders to reach out to our respective communities to get people vaccinated.”
Locally, OAACC created an economic stimulus fund last summer to provide needed financial support for small Black-owned businesses that did not receive federal funding or PPP monies. The $1.1 million fund, raised in 90 days from area resources, corporate partners and individual contributors allowed OAACC to issue more than 200 grants to local businesses in amounts ranging from $2,500 to $10,000. “These grants were a lifeline for our businesses; many are still struggling during this very scary time,” Adams said.
The expectation is that the Biden administration will fulfill promises made under the “Build Back Better” economic agenda.
“Connecting with Vice President Harris and Secretary Yellen is a great step forward,” Adams said. “We will continue to support their efforts and participate.”
Ces Butner, OAACC’s board chairman – along with others included on the virtual discussion – expressed support of Biden’s vision for the American Rescue Plan.
A link to the virtual meeting is here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7SXG3HUhhI&feature=youtu.be