CEO/President of the California Black Chamber of Commerce Jay King Launches Covid-19 Resource
Jay King, the CEO and President of the California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC), has announced the launch of a special Covid-19 "Everybody Pitch In" GoFundMe campaign, to assist and save California-based small Black businesses. Even with the recent passage of the CARES Act, a $2 trillion-dollar Covid-19 stimulus bill, King is concerned that small Black enterprises will be overlooked. As the largest African American non-profit business organization, representing thousands of small and emerging businesses, affiliates and chambers of commerce throughout California, the CBCC is extremely concerned about the aftermath of Covid-19 which has immobilized and shut down businesses around the entire world.
California is a large and crucial market. With an estimated 42 million Blacks in the United States, there are 2.3 million in California. The California Black Chamber of Commerce has over 4,200 registered small businesses throughout the state. A large percentage of these businesses consist of sole proprietors who rely on their businesses' income to survive. COVID-19 has had an unforgivable impact on this already marginalized and fragile, small Black business community. From the mom and pop eateries, barbershops and corner stores, to business professionals, the impact of this pandemic is projected to decimate this entire workforce.
"What many don't realize is that Black spending power in California is $96 billion," asserts King. "If this community is annihilated, so is the entire economy. We have to protect these businesses because they are absolutely an integral part of the state's overall economic equation," cites King. "Our office is already receiving calls from small business proprietors informing us that they are receiving rejection letters from their local municipalities and other agencies set up to give relief to small businesses. With our 'Everybody Pitch In' campaign, we hope to support micro businesses and small business owners who don't qualify for the loan programs in the stimulus package."
A wealth of evidence demonstrates the distinctive difficulties that entrepreneurs of color typically face when it comes to receiving business funding. African American small business owners have been historically targeted for destruction, by prejudiced banking practices, and institutional racism supported and encouraged by the government, its agencies and elected officials.
"African American small business owners are so compromised financially that we have to do everything we can to keep them afloat and if that means reaching out to the Black community statewide, that is what we will do. If we as a people don't personally support our African American business community, why should anyone else? If we each donated $5.00, we could raise over 10 million dollars for our small business community, so our goal isn't unachievable. If we are able to get the government and private sector involved, we could raise ten times that amount," proposes King.
With the survival and longevity of small Black businesses a pressing concern, King has also initiated a statewide call to action to the private sector, requesting banks, multinational corporations, the technology industry and philanthropic organizations to provide $50 million in funding for grants for African American small business owners. He cites a report published far before the impact of the current Coronavirus event, by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies in 2017, that the median wealth of black Americans could fall to zero by 2053. King is seeking fast and deliberate measures to mitigate this foreseeable economic devastation.