Black Miami-Dade business leaders seek help with government contracts

More than 40 black business leaders in Miami-Dade County placed an ad in the Miami Herald calling for support to help minority-owned businesses win more government contracts.

The Miami Herald reports that the ad, paid for by OneUnited Bank, cited a lack of county support and resources to help black businesses participate more in Miami’s economy.

“The black community makes up nearly 20% of Miami-Dade County’s population, yet we participate in less than 2% of its governmental economic engine,” the ad reads citing a 2015 Miami-Dade disparity study. “Every day we are left out of the economic engine, our community becomes poorer while others prosper.”

The county is currently under a court order requiring contract decisions to be racially neutral, however, statistics show the court has failed to hold the county to order. According to the 2015 Disparities Study, Black-owned businesses received 2% of county construction contracts and 10% of property purchase contracts.

The group has defined seven measures that will connect black businesses in Miami to the regional economy. Measures that include moving from a race-sensitive to a race-blind sourcing process are backed by Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce President Eric Knowles who added that there has been growing concern since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has only increased the problems facing black business owners in Miami.

“Put a policy in place, but make sure that those implementing and pushing those policies understand that it’s not just something written on a piece of paper, but something they have to do,” he said. he declared. “We’ve been in this cesspool of a lot of rhetoric and no action.”

In addition to the pandemic, black business owners in Miami and the state of Florida are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which hit other parts of the state harder but still caused significant damage to the area, as a tornado also hit the area during the storm. .

President of OneUnited Bank Teri Williams the group wants to see the county help with job creation beyond minimum wage positions, housing and helping to build generational wealth, something black men and women have been barred from for decades .

Mayor of Miami-Dade Daniella Levine Cava said the announcement highlights issues and challenges in racial equity that his administration is trying to improve. The mayor created the Office of Equity and Inclusion in 2021, but black business leaders say more needs to be done.

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