My objective in writing about voter apathy and voter suppression is to help with a community dialogue that will lead to greater engagement in communities of color and thereby greater economic opportunity. A parallel objective is to promote voter participation to support efforts to increase economic opportunity.
In addressing economic opportunity for people of color I’ll address “fair share,” a former NAACP campaign and concept that I believe has much value for us today. The NAACP’s Fair Share campaign was initiated in the early 1980’s under former NAACP Executive Director, the late Benjamin Hooks. The campaign was designed to get corporate America to employ, promote and do business with more people of color. (See link at end of article)
One of the greatest involvements that I’ve had over the last 40 years has been in North Carolina politics. My philosophy has been that Black political engagement should always have a strong economic opportunity component. Today that union is clearly not where it ought to be but, the winds of change are blowing. It is my hope that they will blow up an economic storm.
To that end, I’m continuously looking for signs and developments of ideas and relationships that speak to a political and economic union. I’ll tell you what I see and what I think about these signs and developments both today and in the future.
One encouraging sign that I see is the disparity study that has been done under the leadership of the North Carolina Caucus of Black School Board Members (NCCBSBM). Their effort should be embraced and complimented with other ideas and efforts to help Black communities achieve their “fair share.”
Last week I wrote about a developing initiative designed to get elected officials and candidates to support hiring or agreeing to hire an M/WBE (Minority & Women Business Enterprise) consultant, by their entity, to review the spending policies of their public body, or the one that they aspire to, in order to determine if there is racial equity in their hiring and spending policies. That is, to determine if people of color are receiving their “fair share.”
Also, I’m in ongoing discussion with minority business owners that are looking for opportunities to grow their businesses and believe that equitable spending by public entities would boost their bottom line.
Historically, outreach has been made to get Black entrepreneurs more involved in politics. Their level of involvement could be greatly increased to the benefit of Black communities, if they were invited to help develop strategies that would lead to greater business opportunities.
There is a longstanding, critical need for economic opportunity and development in communities of color. None of the various ideas or initiatives that I’m aware of are sufficient to address our needs alone. However, making economic opportunity for people of color a political priority and adding it to party and campaign platforms could only help with the intractable problems of poverty and lack of opportunity in communities of color. Candidates and party leaders depending upon increased Black voter participation to win in November would be well advised to embrace economic opportunity as a step in that direction. People of color deserve their fair share of public opportunities.
Everyone that believes that economic opportunity should be an objective of voter participation should be on the lookout for ideas and initiatives that will help make this a reality. We need our “fair share.”
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice. To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us atwww.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites www.GreaterDiversity.com. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.