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Small Business Conference for LGBT Communities Resumes After Government Shutdown


The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Many Faces One Dream LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour for Communities of Color is back on track after being stalled due to the federal government shutdown. Initially set to take place last month, the New York City leg of the 13-city tour will now occur on November 20-21, 2013 at the New York Marriott near the Brooklyn Bridge. MFOD was launched this year to bring focus on innovation and creativity in the small business sphere.

“While we were excited and ready to host the MFOD-NYC conference in October, the shutdown of the federal government forced us to postpone our NYC tour stop,” says Sharon J. Lettman Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of the National Black Justice Coalition, the nation’s leading Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization. “Know that while our Congress was busy playing political football, we stayed the course. We are proud of our partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and we plan to ensure that our government continues to work for us,” says Lettman Hicks.

“We’ve got a lot of hard work that we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that we’ve made…on behalf of Americans who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender,” said President Barack Obama in a released statement.

MFOD is in keeping with the Obama Administration’s overall outreach efforts to underserved communities. “The President in this administration put out a call to all the federal agencies and said ‘we have to reach out and be more inclusive. We have to go to nontraditional places and make sure that we have a presence and that these taxpayers understand that there are services available to them,’” says Eugene Cornelius Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator for Field Operations at the SBA. A growing number of Americans dream of becoming an entrepreneur, adds Cornelius, and those dreams are represented by many faces. “We have such a community of underserved people that are feeling empowered by the mere fact that we are reaching out to them.”

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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.