February 20, 2011

Birth of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce

I lived in Detroit for eight (8) years. In many respects it is my favorite American city. As such, I have been very frustrated with the continual bad news that has been coming from the city in recent years. The tide may be turning.

I was smiling from ear-to-ear when I saw the Super Bowl commercial that starred the city of Detroit.

The good news continues this week with an announcement that Black business leaders in Michigan have come together to combat the challenged Michigan economy for African American businesses by establishing the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC).

MBCC's new board was sworn-in on February 9th by the Honorable Craig Strong, Judge of Wayne County 3rd District Court. The new board members are William Brooks (Chairman), Charlie Beckham (Chairman Elect), Ken Harris (President/CEO), Pamela Rodgers (Vice President), Wayne Phillips (Treasurer), Reuben Munday (Secretary), Louis Green (State Advisor), Rod Rickman (National Advisor), Douglass Diggs, Natalie King, Mark Douglas, Dennis Archer, Jr., Dr. Geneva Williams, Cheryl Richardson, Hiram Jackson, Robert Chavis, Andrew G. McLemore, Jr., T. A. El Amin, Rumia Burbank, Eric Hardy and David Burnley.

The MBCC is Michigan's first statewide Black chamber of commerce. The Black chamber's creation is the culmination of efforts by a network of business organizations called the African American Business Alliance. In 2010, the Alliance refocused its advocacy efforts to establish and transition into the first African American statewide business organization – the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce.

According to Ken Harris, the chamber's president and CEO, "The Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce will aggressively advocate for the economic gardening, growth and capacity building of Michigan Black-owned businesses. As a mission-based member driven organization, the Black chamber will provide quality resources, benefits, services and access needed to help stimulate economic viability throughout Michigan. Our efforts will nurture an environment of economic parity helping Black businesses to expand and create jobs, jobs, jobs in the community."


Karen Swim, Words For Hire said...

This is interesting news. I live in Michigan but learned of this from your site. I am not a native but in my short time here have witnessed the ongoing battle between the city and the suburbs and wonder how this chamber will work with all to enhance black businesses. Thank you as always for keeping us informed about key issues impacting our community, you rock!

Villager said...

Karen - I continue to see news about this new group. Have you seen any early evidence that they will be successful in their efforts?