NBJC and U.S. Small Business Administration Launch LGBT Economic Empowerment Tour
WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 30, 2013 – The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the nation’s leading Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is proud to partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration to launch an LGBT economic empowerment tour for communities of color. Many Faces. One Dream. seeks to bring focus on the communities’ economic power, innovation and creativity in the small business sphere. The tour will occur in 13 major cities throughout the country that have a significant LGBT presence in communities of color, including Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland/San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
“The LGBT small business community is helping us create an economy built to last. That is why we are proud to partner with the National Black Justice Coalition – an organization that represents the many faces and true diversity of the movement for full equality,” says Eugene Cornelius Jr., Deputy Associate Administrator for Field Operations at the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Equipped with the necessary resources and tools, LGBT small business owners and entrepreneurs will have access to a wealth of knowledge, opportunity and economic growth.”
The harsh reality is that workplace and employment discrimination have especially grim consequences in LGBT communities. In fact, the Williams Institute found that between 15 percent and 43 percent of gay and transgender workers have experienced some form of discrimination on the job solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, 8 percent to 17 percent of gay and transgender workers report being passed over for a job or fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many Faces. One Dream. serves as an innovative approach to creating sustainable economic opportunities in the LGBT community.
“With unemployment rates in communities of color at a record high, we have to come up with innovative ways to be an economically just and prosperous nation,” says Evan Low, Mayor of the City of Campbell, CA. “Often times, discrimination precludes advancement for LGBT people of color.”
“When LGBT Americans of color succeed financially, our local communities flourish and our economy thrives. Many Faces. One Dream. ensures that opportunities to explore entrepreneurial ventures happen in a responsible, inclusive and sustainable way,” adds Low, who became the country’s youngest openly gay mayor in 2010.
Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassador Janet Mock, NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks, NBJC Business Council Chair Katheryn King, SBA Deputy Associate Administrator Eugene Cornelius, and Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassador Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale at NGLCC's "Diversity & Leadership in Financial Services Awards"
In addition to pioneering this initiative, NBJC has launched its 2013-2014 Business Council with Katheryn King, Regional Vice President at U.S. Bank and out Black lesbian, at its helm as the Business Council Chair. In this capacity, King will use her experience as a diversity and inclusion practitioner in an advisory role to NBJC.
The organization has also rolled out an impressive cadre of LGBT people of color stakeholders, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and elected officials to serve as National Ambassadors for this initiative. These National Ambassadors serve as shining examples of what success in LGBT communities of color look like. Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassadors include Simone Bell, State Representative, Georgia General Assembly; Kylar W. Broadus, Esq., Lincoln University Associate Professor; Carolyn Brown, Senior Multimedia Content Producer, Black Enterprise; George Carrancho, Diversity Markets Manager, American Airlines; Dr. Cathy Cohen, University of Chicago Professor; Eugene Cornelius, Jr., U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Field Operations Deputy Associate Administrator; Ben de Guzman, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Co-Director for Programs; Ingrid Duran, D&P Creative Strategies Co-Founder; LZ Granderson, CNN/ESPN Commentator/Contributor; Katheryn King, U.S. Bank Regional Vice President; Evan Low, Mayor of the City of Campbell, CA; Samir Luther, Director of Leadership Initiatives, Victory Institute; Janet Mock, Writer and Public Speaker; Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Councilman; Natalia Oberti Noguera, Pipeline Fellowship Founder and CEO; Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale, Cook Ross Inc. Principal Consultant; Catherine Pino, D&P Creative Strategies Co-Founder; Charles Pugh, Detroit City Council President; Frantz Tiffeau, Senior Manager of Supply Chain Diversity, Office Depot; and Cuc Vu, Human Rights Campaign Chief Diversity Officer.
"Some claim they don't know any LGBT people of color thriving; others argue that we simply don't exist. The Many Faces. One Dream. tour shatters those assumptions and challenges that invisibility,” says Janet Mock, writer, public speaker and Many Faces. One Dream. National Ambassador. “As a trans woman of color, I'm all too familiar with the fact that my people have been activating at the intersections of many oppressions for far too long, and my goal as a National Ambassador is to unveil the unseen, overlooked, untapped talent that exists in my community."
Many Faces. One Dream. participants will select one of two tracks: “Starting Your Business” and “Taking Your Business to the Next Level.” In the first track, training will be provided on the key elements of a business plan, loans, marketing, and SBA’s program and services. The second track will be geared toward LGBT firms that are currently in business but want to expand and grow.
In each city, Many Faces. One Dream. will host a “Small Business Marketplace” featuring financial services and certification agents to support small business development. The marketplace will be a venue for LGBT-owned businesses of color to have access to the resources and tools needed to grow and sustain their enterprise. Key components of the marketplace include opportunities to exchange business-to-business products and services information; the SBA and SCORE one-on-one counseling for entrepreneurs and small businesses; and the opportunity to learn about the various certification available and how to do business with the local, state and federal government. Additionally, the Marketplace will provide value to corporate sponsors who can add to their supplier diversity databases while demonstrating their commitment to being a good corporate partner within LGBT communities of color.
“NGLCC is honored to partner with the National Black Justice Coalition and the U.S. Small Business Administration on this groundbreaking initiative for underserved communities," said Justin Nelson, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Co-Founder and President. "We are thrilled to serve as a conduit for LGBT entrepreneurs of color to not only get certified and strategically grow their businesses, but also establish valuable business connections across the nation. We look forward to meeting business owners and future business owners in the cities where they live and working with them to build strong and fully inclusive local economies.”
Black Enterprise magazine has also partnered with NBJC as the Many Faces. One Dream. national media sponsor. The premier business news and investment resource for African Americans will work to develop content relative to the tour and wealth creation for LGBT communities of color across all platforms–print, digital and television.
“Small business represents the engine of commercial innovation, employment opportunities, and economic development. As the state of the economy gives birth to a virtual nation of entrepreneurs, we will benefit immensely from a transformative development inclusive of LGBT business owners of color,” explains Derek T. Dingle, Black Enterprise Editor-in-Chief. “Black Enterprise is proud to partner with the National Black Justice Coalition and the U.S. Small Business Administration on the Many Faces. One Dream. tour, demonstrating that we will ensure all best business minds are included in the process of building a new America.”
"This groundbreaking initiative is an exciting continuation of NBJC’s ongoing work to empower people at the intersection of the movements for racial justice and LGBT equality,” declares The Honorable Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Councilman and NBJC Board Chair. “NBJC envisions a world where all people are fully empowered to participate safely and successfully in society, regardless of race, class, gender identity or sexual orientation. Many Faces. One Dream. brings this vision one step closer to being a reality."
“Despite the challenges we face, gay and transgender people represent an untapped segment of aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners,” explains NBJC Executive Director Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks. “Rich with ideas and talent, LGBT men and women are creating and leading their own companies. It’s time to expand the conversation from economic security to economic empowerment. It’s time for us to own our power.”
For more information, visit nbjc.org/many-faces-one-dream. If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities for Many Faces. One Dream., please contact Michael J. Brewer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-319-1552 x104.
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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.